River Report – May 13, 2022

I live by the Au Sable River mostly because of May and June.  Those two months are hatch match time – the time of the year when water-born insects like mayflies and caddis flies emerge and live out the adult part of their life cycles (even while sandal wearing fifty-year-old fly anglers with Peter Pan Syndrome, like myself, may, temporarily, regress to more selfish, youthful times).

For me, hatch match dry fly angling is the pinnacle of all piscatorial pursuits.  Now don’t misunderstand me, I am in no way a dry fly snob.  I love all fishing.  In fact, for the last two years I took my boy, Jack, spin fishing for all sorts species.  But, it is deeply rewarding to watch a trout rise to your little dry fly.  There is a knowing that when you’ve beaten the fish at their own game, you’ve become closer to Nature.

If you have that experience, you’ll yearn for it and chasing hatches will become a compulsion – one, over which, you have little control and that just makes it even better.

So, while dry fly fishing is always the best way to catch a trout, it is seldom the most efficient way.  The fishing depends on the hatches and the hatches depend on the weather and here we are in Northern Michigan where, too often, 3 days in a forecast is a fat line separating snow from shorts and sunshine.

If you want a chance at catching trout on the Au Sable, you need to be a versatile angler.  Absolutely, you should be prepared for hatches, but go to the River armed with nymphs, wet flies, and streamers and a bundle of techniques if you really want to put a bend in your fishing rod. 

Swing by the shop before your adventure and we’ll help you find the right tools.

On another note – a new invasive species has been identified in the Manistee River.  Didymo, commonly known as Rock Snot, has became a serious problem.  It is an algae bloom that is largely downstream on CCC Bridge.  We’re learning more each day but for now we need to encourage everyone to clean any gear that has come into contact with the water – boats and fly lines included – if you plan on moving to other rivers.  Formula 409 is a recommended cleanser or you can, alternatively, soak gear in a 10% Dawn Dish Soap and water solution for 10 minutes.  

The Old Au Sable has a cleaning station available for wader and boots we’ve got 409 and a gunk tank of dawn soap solution.  There are spray washes in town for your boats just a couple of blocks from the shop.  Anchor ropes are a bigger problem – you may have to pull them and soak them in the dawn solution.  Also, consider using solid anchors with to eliminate invasive hitch-hikers.  I’m told you can also completely dry gear or completely freeze gear to kill the algae.  Can’t be too careful.  We really don’t want this to spread.  

I’d also encourage folks to simply not fish below CCC until we learn more about the situation.  There’s a lot of River out there.  Give me a shout if you’d like to learn more . . . and please spread the word.  I’m not sure if the sky is falling or not, but outside of love and trout rising in log tangles, it is always best to error on the side of caution.  If anything changes including protocols, I’ll be sure to share. 

Fishing has been finicky with this heat wave settled on us, but more seasonable temperatures return shortly and things should return to normal.

Hendricksons are making their mark on our fishing in all phases of their life cycle.  But black caddis, light Hendricksons, and little mahoganies are all on the menu.  Water levels are fantastic and it’s been relatively quiet up here, so find your way to the water if you can.

I’ve also got a few discontinued Sage X rods left that I’d like to move if anyone is interested just reach out. 

REMEMBER: Our gear trade-in program is the best around.  You’ll get great prices on your used gear to use a trade currency against a new Sage Rod or Scott Rod upgrade.  Or waders or whatever you want!  The Old Au Sable is stocked to the gills this season and looks the best it ever has. 

We even have the Opinel Mushroom Knife back in stock right when folks are starting to catch a few Morels.  By the way, I’ll also trade gear for your secret mushroom spot.

And yes it’s still me writing these reports not Jeff no matter what FB says.  Fake News!  It’s all rigged!!! 

Hope to see you all soon!


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