Old AuSable River Report – May 3, 2023

Trout Opener was a great success. While not everyone got the trout they were looking for, many anglers saw Hendricksons bobbing along the surface and found fish rising to the bug. Some fine specimens were caught. Having trout rising on Opening Day is like having a birthday on Leap Year. So, that makes me about seven years old.

And I felt like it this year. It was great to see anglers giddy with the prospect of another season ahead. It felt like there were fewer folks than in years past and I sold more $11 licenses than ever, but a fair number of veteran anglers brought younger family and friends with them. And so, a fantastic, generational presence meant a future for our traditions and pursuits.

I saw pictures of a few young fly fishers proudly displaying their first trout. Maddie, couldn’t hide her excitement as she burst into the shop, and hugged me like I was a favorite relative that she hadn’t seen since Christmas!

It wasn’t that long ago that all the anglers through tackle shop doors felt that same excitement on the last Saturday in April. It causes me to wonder if we haven’t lost something by fishing our Au Sable River trout all winter long. Traditions are important in the woods and wilds of Northern Michigan. I also wonder if those kids would have caught another one if we hadn’t pestered the trout when snow was on the ground. And I wonder if maybe there would be a few more trout the last few years if we didn’t fish during spawning season. Perhaps winter should be for ice fishing and tying flies.

But hey, Hendricksons are here right now! And fishing is rolling. Black caddis should join the parade soon, along with Little Mahoganies. Evening fishing will certainly explode with forecast warmer weather, and we’ll be casting to fat Au Sable trout as the light fades from orange to black.

I’ve already been blessed with some fine fish this season. Many more folks will be soon. This week has the chance to be epic.

May has been disappointing the last few years. As a result, I have a few guide days available. This May might be special. Give us a shout if you want to ride the river searching for risers.

The time is now.

See you soon and good luck!


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