May 31, 2018
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
It’s been Africa hot for a good ten Days. I haven’t worn a pair of waders yet on a guide trip. Wet wading is supposed to be a wonderful relief in July and August heat. So far, it’s been a welcome relief to May days in the boat. I’ve never seen anything like it. How do we go from a wintery April to a steaming May? There were only a couple of days of Spring in Northern Michigan. My buddy Josh took the snowplow off of his working truck one day and hooked his guide boat to it the next. His Ford F250 diesel (Big Tina) barely had time to make the switch.
It’s been dizzying.
The river has every kind of May aquatic insect known to Michiganders. The daytime fishing has been tough in the heat and the evening rise has been maddening. When the sun falls below the tree line, all the winged bugs come out in force. I can’t even list them all, or more honestly, I don’t care to. Simply, take every fly you own. There are dark bodied mayflies available to trout from size twelve to eighteen. And there’s yellow mayflies ranging from size twelve March Browns to size eighteen Sulphurs. Most of them are showing up in all forms, so be prepared to tie on emergers, duns, and spinners for each bug. One trout may be eating one phase of a particular insect and them the next will be selectively feeding on a different phase of a different insect. It’s tough but when we figure it out, we’re putting quite a few quality fish in the net.
To make matters worse, the mosquitos are out in biblical proportions. A week ago we were fishing unfettered and not bothered by even one skeeter. Then in a single evening all of the mosquitos hatched. The swarm descends on anglers in a thick cloud. The other night I sprayed up heavily and, though I never got bitten, I breathed in three.
But good anglers look on the bright side of life. There are lots of bugs and all fly fishers like that. There are plenty of nice fish rising, so that’s good. Better yet, the fabled Brown Drake hatch getting is about to explode. Get here soon because if the weather holds they’ll move through the system quickly.
I caught three nice fish last night during a heavy flight. The flies were tinking against my rod and landing on my face. It was a spectacle.
Have fun out there!
PS On a more somber note. A recent DNR fish stocking survey found shockingly low numbers of young trout on the North Branch of the Au Sable. The DNR and DEQ are giving the situation high priority and pledge to aggressively monitor assess the situation. Until we know more, you may want to keep your brook trout and daytime angling to other rivers that are fishing very well.