March 27, 2018
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
By inches and nudges Spring is slowly creeping in. We’re moving from highs in the thirties and low forties to highs in the forties and even fifties. It’s been a slow but sunny climb and that sunshine has everyone in Northern Michigan feeling the aches of Spring Fever.
A day on the stream can be good medicine. While the angling hasn’t been red hot, it has been solid on the best days. I pow-wowed with Donnie the other day to pick his brain on what he’d been noticing in trends and tactics while guiding on the river, and he had some good observations. Like all good anglers, he’s a student of weather patterns and this Spring he’s been paying close attention to barometric pressure. While this is always an allusive science at best (sorta like moon-phase stuff), he’s been witnessing that as long as the pressure is moving, even slightly, in either direction some better fish are swiping smaller, slowly retrieved streamers.
He also talked to me about closing the deal once a fish is coming to the fly. This is an art. At least when it goes right. Streamer fishing is often a visual game. Like hunting, you get to see everything and what you do in the final seconds make all the difference. Sometimes, and we’re talking about water temperatures and weather conditions here, you’ve got to speed up the retrieve to a long trout that’s moving to your fly. Other times, the fish takes and releases so quickly that only a quick, hard, instinctive hookset will close the deal. Lately, in this cold water, the takes have been on the pause. That can be hard to do. Imagine for a moment that you haven’t seen a fish all day and then a leviathan rises from some dark cut and slips quietly behind your fly. Maybe the best trout you’ve ever seen and your job is to quit moving the fly in the way that brought the fish up in the first place. It’s mind boggling. And none of this is a rule—you’ve got to read the fish every time. If you get it wrong, the fish sinks back into the black.
Fishing is here and it only gets better.
We’ll see you soon,
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