The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report

May 17, 2018

Jumping fish


It’s Summer-like here in Northern Michigan.  We’ve had a fantastic string of eighty degree, sunny days here.  It warms the bones, the trout, the rivers, and the bugs.  We’ve lost a lot of our problematic high Spring water and with more seasonable temperatures and conditions in front of us, local trout fishermen are drooling.

close fish



The main stream of the Au Sable, the North Branch, and the Manistee are in good shape for both wading and boat anglers.  The South is still formidable with high water, but it’s do-able for the daring wader and dropping a little every day.  It’s all pretty good news.  We’re well into May now and, frankly, it’s about time to get down to the business of good fishing.

al boat load


We have a smorgasbord of flies hatching and the trout are taking notice with more fish rising with each new day.  Hendricksons are still coming off and the spinners are flying every night.  Black caddis are in the mix right alongside of tan caddis and both insects are flying around morning, noon, and especially at night and have smaller trout jumping out of the water.  Paralelpts, or little mahoganies, have joined the party and have complicated the rise.  Their big brothers, Leptos, are also joining the gang and may just be as or more important than Hendricksons as the sun falls below the tree line.  The best news about those guys is that you can use the same fly pattern you use for the Hendrickson.  Just be sure to have some size fourteen spinners without an egg sac attached.

But you have to be ready for even more entomological complications.  The late Spring has the bugs backed up.  You need to be ready for the light bodied bugs that are certainly on the brink of hatching and that will almost certainly by the time you catch this report.  Light Hendricksons, popcorn caddis, and suplhurs will show any minute.  That means bring your box and keep your head on a swivel.

It is frustrating and glorious. Hatch-match dry fly angling.  It is my favorite time of the year.

Fishing has been tough and it’s about to get better at the same time it gets hard.

I’ll be there.

See you soon!


0 thoughts on “The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report”

  1. So refreshing to read a true blue report, Andy. I was up last week for 5 days and experienced exactly what you described. Not what somebody down the road described. I also spoke with many fishermen/guides up and down the Holy and below Mio who experienced the same as myself and my partner.

    OAFS rules Grayling 🙂

    • Either way. I floated from my property to Burton’s landing on Thursday, which is only 2.6 river miles. I had an amazing day, the fish were so eager to eat from 12-6 that I literally put on a size 10 Borcher’s Drake (my version, super dark) just to see what would happen and caught a 16” brown almost immediately during the middle of a caddis emergence. They were feeding without discrimination, I quit counting how many came to net (the whole last 1/2 mile upstream of Burton’s Landing). so like always on the Au Sable, certain times and locations can mean everything.


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