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Weather and Moon Phase
Weather and Moon


Stream Flow Data
Stream Flow Data

Fishing Report

Fishing Report

A big Holy Water rainbow

09/24/14 A day off in the fall -- be it for fishing, or hunting, or both -- is never long enough. The decrease in the length of day provides a pleasant desperation to the activity chosen. Deliberations take the form of a scientific key:

Is it hot or cold? Hot. Too hot to run the dogs for birds. A perfect day to cut wood

Is it cloudy or sunny? Very sunny. Perfectly sunny. Too sunny for streamer fishing. In fact, we streamer fished in the morning and it wasn't very good. Might move a few fish though in the late afternoon. Or, conversely, head to some dry fly water because the water temperatures are warm enough to fish attractor patterns.

What happened yesterday? Flying ants. Lots of them. All over the place. And I missed them because I was cutting wood. But flying ants aren't going to happen twice. To skip cutting wood to pursue flying ants would mean that I'll have to cut wood later in the fall, perhaps during one of those perfect streamer days.

So I chose to cut wood, and missed the flying ants. A second successive blanket of ants, the kind of "hatch" that brings the big fish up. The ants weren't everywhere. And the fish that were rising weren't pushovers. But THERE WERE BIG FISH RISING IN SEPTEMBER.

Damn. Tomorrow.

The best color tour right now is wading down the river

It has been a strange week. There were cloudy days that stunk. Rainy days that were excellent. High water in stretches of river I wasn't expecting (the water levels are fine now). And a few sunny days that were exceptionally good. The fishing has mostly been with small streamers fished on floating lines. This too is changing...

A high pressure system has moved in and apparently stalled, and the seven day forecast looks like something from early August. Highs in the 70s, lows in the 40s, and more sunshine than we saw the whole month of May. With the unexpected weather comes unexpected opportunity. Isos and evening olives. A brief flight of tricos this morning (I would expect some good trico mornings this week). Flying ants throughout the late afternoon and early evening. Streamer fishing at dawn and dusk. And even some night fishing -- almost certainly the last night fishing of the year.

Blind fishing attractors in sizes 12-16 will draw fish up throughout the afternoon hours. As the water drops and clears, the fish will become more focused on the surface. Floating an Adams parachute, Missing Link, Patriot, ant, or Isonychia down the bubble lines will find fish. Trout tend to pod up this time of year. If you're not catching fish, move. If you are, stay put!

This past week offered some fine streamer days

Our colors are blasting out now -- one of the most vibrants color changes I can remember. Or maybe it's always like this. Maybe all falls are beautiful, each seemingly more so than the last.

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be looking for day three of the flying ants, instead of cutting firewood -- no deliberations required. It's almost a sure bet that the ants won't happen, at least not where I'm going. But thinking of tomorrow almost lets me forget about what I missed today. Stories of a guide and a client on a stretch of river I love, working one big rising trout after another.


The River: a movie all about the Au Sable

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Truthfully, I wasn't really interested in writing a fishing book, but I had the opportunity to do something with Lyons Press, which had been a dream of mine in high school. Dreams and feelings change, but four years ago there was little indication I'd be owning a fly fishing lodge and lots of indications that I wouldn't. So I signed on for a book. Several extensions and kids later, it's done. And I hope those that buy it feel I did this very special region proud. It's available now with free shipping on the Gates Fly Shop website: