River Report – April 20, 2023

Man, fishing has been great. We just haven’t been catching anything!

There’s always an air of excitement around the Au Sable River in Spring. Everyday is filled with the anticipation of good angling and bug hatches even if your birdbath is filled with fresh snow. So, the fishing is always great, even if the trout aren’t ready to participate.

This is especially true, as it was early in the month, when you get to bask in warmth of a summer-yellow sun even though the calendar page is dog-eared to April and the river is high and dirty.

Jack and I curled over the currents with the boat a bit in those conditions with no trout in the net. He’s still learning, but getting better all the time. He mostly streamer fished during the heat, and I mostly berated him like a bad baseball dad when he was doing it wrong and built him back up with praise when he made it look easy. It was fantastic practice; he’ll be ready for our next trip when the weather turns seasonable.

The question is always, “when is it all going to break loose”? And, “When will we see Hendricksons”?

The answer is “now.”

We’re seeing a few flies most days and it’s just going to keep getting better as water temperatures push back into the mid-fifty-degree range.

Get on the water expecting to fish with streamers and nymphs, but bring boxes of hope filled with Blue-winged olives, black stoneflies, and Hendricksons. There is simply nothing quite as wonderful as hatch match dry fly fishing on the rivers of northern Michigan. Especially, when it coincides with the opening day of trout season.

On the last Saturday in April—every year—all of the 11,500ish miles of trout stream in Michigan open to anglers. Like too many outdoor traditions, the opening day of trout season has lost some of its loyalists to old age and new recruits are less enthused with the opener due to year some year around fishing opportunities and a catch and release ethos.

If you love Michigan’s outdoors, do your level best to introduce someone trout fishing in introduce them to the tradition. Some of my fondest memories are hanging a red worm over a bridge guard rail as the clock struck midnight on that early Saturday morning. Few of us start out fly fishing, but when you see fish rising—you get there pretty quick.

Also, remember to join us at our annual Trout season opener party on FRIDAY APRIL the 28th.

We’ll have food & drink from 12 to 3, special deals on lots of gear and maybe even a few surprises.

I’ll see you on the River,


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