October 17, 2018
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report.
It is time for big Au Sable and Manistee River brown trout. Those fish have put on the feed bag. They’re eating large, slow moving meals in preparation for the spawn. The males are getting ready to battle over gravel and the females are putting their protein toward eggs growing in their bellies.
It’s a violent time if you live in the river and you’re something small enough to fit in a trout’s maw.
Chuck big stuff decorated in brightly. Think Fall colors when you pick your selection from the box and then add some white too. Yellow and white have been the flies of choice. And never discount orange and never, never discount fire tiger no matter if you’re fly fishing or throwing gear. Years ago, as legend has it, when the fire tiger color combination was first introduced, the musky boys in Wisconsin wanted it outlawed. That’s probably not true, but I hope it is.
You don’t have to do anything crazy out there with your retrieve. A simple strip and pause deal is plenty right. But you do have to be focused and pay attention when your line is in the water. Don’t just watch your fly—watch five feet behind your fly. When the fish flashes, strip-set like a salt water angler and swing your rod like the Alpena Bass Club guys do. Set the hook like you mean it. Set it like you have to catch that fish. I’ve seen lots of trout get away from folks not setting the hook or too gently raising the rod tip like your drinking a cup of tea out of grandma’s porcelain. You don’t shoot—you don’t score.
I haven’t been able to go, unfortunately. It’s October and there’s just not enough time in October. I’ve got deer running around my bow stands unmolested. And I’m doing my best to harass every grouse in woodcock in Crawford County. Grouse numbers are okay. Some covers have lots others have none. Woodcock flights are flowing through Northern Michigan. Some have been here and gone. These crazy Fall weather fronts should have doodles passing by for the rest of the week. Guided fishing trips are opening up and I can turn you on to guides for Atlantic Salmon. I’ve got a few guided bird hunts left if you want to go with me. Should be about ten more days of woodcock before it turns to all grouse.
Get up North while the colors are holding or you’re going to miss Fall.