August 16, 2018
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
The fishing remains much the same as the last report. Early mornings, and I mean early mornings, offer some of the best fishing of the day. Serious anglers should try to be stepping into the stream as the first light of day looms on the horizon. There you can fish streamers both big jointed offerings and small, naturally colored patterns. Big trout, late to the lair, from the midnight hunt may just be available to fishermen wading carefully and purposefully.
Big attractor dry flies are also a good choice. Fish the rubber-legged bugs loudly—slap them on the water next to log jams and along bottom color changes. Once the rings settle, twitch the fly and make the legs kick once before pausing and then kick the bug again right out into the middle of the creek.
As sunlight starts to stream through riverside branches, knot a small nymph to the hook of that hopper. Small mayfly nymphs like tricos and olives will be getting active and become available to trout for breakfast. There is a lot of subsurface activity leading up to the trico and blue-winged olive hatches. Nymphing before and during those hatches is one of the most underused tactics on Northern Michigan Rivers.
Tandem rigs are important this time of year. Hopper and dropper rigs, double nymph rigs, and double dry fly set ups are paramount to success. They should be bound together with very small tippet. 7X and 8X are the order of the day. It can be a pain to try to twist up those combos on the stream and valuable time in a short bite window is lost, so smart anglers will use rigging foam and get prepared the night before.
Rigging foams are tippet sized foam disks that allow fishermen to prep and store two fly systems. The foam has a hole in the middle and are stored nicely on any standard tippet holder. The Fishpond horizontal unit is perfect and Loons Tippet-T makes for another fine option.
Middle of the day angling has been tough. Night fishing is still the best way to catch a big brown trout, but even that has changed a little. The fish have seen a good number of surface flies now, so don’t ignore wet files like the Houghton Lake Special or Fat Heads. You may be surprised with the results. Mousing is easily the best way to catch a good trout in Northern Michigan. The after dark June fishing is the stuff of legend, but you are always at the mercy of the hatches. Mouse fishing happens every night or the Summer. Big fish feed have to feed and they’re certainly not doing it in the afternoon.
Even though it’s still hot outside, we’re getting our Fall wares on the shelves so that means we’re starting to clean out our Summer inventory. There’s something special on the rack on our porch everyday—be sure to swing through to find a great deal. We’ve got some awesome Fall gear this year. The new camo offerings from SIMMS are amazing. I love the camo wader and the camo fishing shirt. And we’ll have special surprise from a new vendor that most of you may not have heard of just yet. This company makes some truly great gear—well designed, well built and exciting. We’ll unveil the new line soon and I guarantee you’ll like it and hear much more about this company in the years to come.
We’re still teaching folks to fish most days and would love to help you tune in your skills. Instructionals are inexpensive at $140 and guide trips are always fun. You can split one with a friend and spend half the day on our rivers for less than $150 per angler.
Summer is winding down, so I hope you all get one more day on the River.
See you soon,