Fishing Report

Slow winter days

Slow winter days

02/10/16  Eventually winter was going to remember that it was still boss, and knock us down a peg or two.  The Au Sable valley is a cold place.  If the overnight low is supposed to be zero in Grayling, it’ll be -10 at the lodge.  And if the low is supposed to be -10, it’ll be -25.  And so on.  The coldest mornings are the clear ones, when the sun hangs over the bare woods, and you doubt there is much of an atmosphere between you and outer space. The uptick to all this is that February is nearly half-over, and the 10-day forecast shows a return to our mild 2016 weather patterns.  Why do we care?  What difference does it make?  Well, I like to think about rising trout.  And knowing what I know about March and April — how merciless they can be — it’s nice to think of a full-fledged spring rushing at us like a size 14 comet. But this winter has been gentle, and though the fish farm case and business in general (and getting older and being responsible-ish) have halted my never-say-die years of daily ski-fish, we’ve been sneaking out at least once a week and enjoying the ice-free guides, the clear water, the scenery, adventure, and trout. My buddy Kyle is back in town, and so Matt and I got him in the boat as soon as we could for a float.  The high was 40 degrees, and the launches and take-outs weren’t too bad.  The sun poked out as we launched, and for the first couple minutes or so, as we... read more
Nature owes me $100

Nature owes me $100

Free Fly Tying Saturday, February 6, 9 am – 2 pm:  time to gather the vises and get cranking once again!  This is a free event that is open to everyone, from folks who have never tied a fly, to those who have tied one too many.  If you don’t have anything, we have a vise, tools and materials to tie with…and a patience instructor to help you on your way.  Please RSVP.  Hope to see this Saturday!  More info here.  02/03/2016  Nature is big in a winter north of the Ohio River.   It daily creates obstacles that prevent your progress in a way that seems diabolical.  When we launched the boat on Tuesday we did so knowing full well what we were in for.  And the trip proved worth it at the halfway mark, as I flipped a streamer toward a wood wall that we said owed us something, as wood walls in trout streams sometimes seem to do. This wood wall reminded me of this guy that used to come around the lodge and fish with us young shop rats, guides, whoever.  He was a character.  Owes almost everyone up here a $100.  This guy had more IOUs than flies, which he’d also ceaselessly “borrow.”   To this day, one of us will say, “remember so and so?”  And almost everyone that works here will say, “Yeah, he owes me $100.”  But he was a riot to fish with. Well this was the trip that I almost got my $100 back, with interest.  I flipped it at the wood wall, thinking all you do is take take take, and... read more
We’ll figure it out later

We’ll figure it out later

16/01/27  This winter has so far been a snowy, warm one.  It has been my favorite winter up here so far.  Great skiing, fly fishing, ice fishing (finally), and scenery, with snow plastered in every pine tree for hundreds of miles.  The trout are in splendid shape.  They look like April trout.  Not a leech on them.  Bright, cold and silver.  And there are more of them, especially in that 8-14 inch range.  February kicked us last year, so I’m a little suspicious in a fooled-me-once sort of way.  But this winter has been awesome.  And given the forecast for this weekend — highs near 40s– if you want to see what an Au Sable winter can be like, it’s worth the drive. Winter is also goofy.  You tie goofy flies.  You come up with goofy plans.  You ice fish — which is goofy enough.  Jordan has taken his tight line nymphing a bit further, now honing his technique with the kiddy pole fished through the toilet hole.  This is a big bass. Matt and I floated on Monday — a startlingly bright and colorful day for winter.  The sun came out immediately after we launched, so it took a few hours for the fish to start chasing.  We left my truck and trailer buried in snow at the take-out, filed under we’ll figure it out later.  The trout wanted light olive, cream, and dirty yellow.  The fishing was great, and the scenery outstanding.  Deer, eagles, a mean pike, some brown trout, and the proverbial big one that got away.  The take-outs are very tough right now, and if you... read more
Snow day

Snow day

Fish farm: Riverview Lodge has stepped up with matching funds: it’s time for another round of the No Fish Poop Matching Grant!  Information is at the bottom of the fishing report, or at www.ausableanglers.org.  Court starts in a month.  The outpouring has been unbelievable.  Why?  Because discharging hundreds of thousands of pounds of suspended solids into the Au Sable every year is a bad idea.  We will fight this permit until the coffers run dry. 01/21/2016  Driving has been tough enough this past week, let alone going fishing.  Rumor has it that the Manistee got 24 inches of fresh snow in as many hours.  We didn’t get that much over here, but we got enough to grind things to a halt.  Out with the shovels, the salt, the plows, the firewood. The one bright spot was a 37 degree Friday.  Denny hit the river at dawn and found three trout before coming into work at nine.  Greg D fished the mainstream and found some on a streamer.  And Andrew fished his secret patch and caught four dandies, each looking pretty much like the one in the top picture: fat, silver, and healthy.  I hit the river WAY too late, just before dusk.  Hooked and lost one on a nymph.  Moved nothing on a streamer as I waded back down through the gloaming.  By the time I finished it was pure dark, foggy, and felt like spring. Since then it’s been snow squall after snow squall.  The cross-country skiing has been awesome.  Grayling is one of the best XC ski destinations in the Lower Peninsula.  Hanson Hills, Hartwick Pines, Forbush Corners,... read more