AuSable River, Michigan

I’ve been frothing the water with flies, most of the summer. We took another impromptu trip over to Michigan’s AuSable River.  It has become my "home water" since the rivers here on Ontario have been taking a real beating with all the rain we’ve had this season.  It’s not that the rivers rage in height here…but with all the agriculture and the way farmers are tiling their fields these days, the river just turn to chocolate milk after every rainfall…even small ones.  The cooler weather and organics in the run off has also promoted a fair amount of algae growth.  It’s frustrating to say the least.  I’ve become very spoiled by  stable flows and the gin clear waters of the Michigan streams. 

So we were on the AuSable from June 20 – July 10…then again from Aug 3 – 13.  I have another run up there in September for two weeks or so. 

It’s Trico time up there and the fishing has been spectacular.


Fishing the Trico hatch was very productive.  This has to be my favorite hatch.  I have a passion for fishing small flies…and these are small. 

They are getting used to seeing the usual patterns so try to come up with something a little more unique.  Mine shall remain secret for the time being…but it was very productive. 

The Trico hatch is usually over by about 10:30 AM but it all depends on when the mist leaves the water and the sun starts to warm the cool morning air.  Some mornings the spinners didn’t fall  until  close to 11 AM.  Oh…and you don’t really have to get out there until around 8 AM…even later if the mist is still heavy.

Other productive flies for me, after the Tricos were over for the day were BWO’s on the cloudier periods and the low light of evening and ants on the clear sky days. 

I’ve also been experimenting more with the night fishing.  What an adrenaline rush that has been.   It’s a bit creepy wading in the pitch dark but it has certainly been productive.   I wish I could show you the photos of those night time fish but I have a new camera and still fumbling with how to use it.  I had been setting up the photo  on three very nice browns when they charged out of my hand or net just as I was ready to hit the shutter.   I finally gave up even trying.  Oh well…that’s fishing I guess.    But suffice it to say that none were under 16 inches and two were over 18.  I even had a 15 inch brook trout in the mix.  Anything that will put a big wake in the water worked well.  I used G.Harvey’s Pusher, Gartside Gurglers and a Morrish Mouse.  All had solid takes.   A big black streamer also produced well. 

Twice in day light, I had a big brown come and strip the brookie I was bringing in, off my line.  Thrilling but that also should tell you that streamers will produce if you want to find the big guys. 

Daytime has it’s challenges for the angler…

…but it can also be productive.   Just leave your expectations for peace and quiet at home.

I pulled this little “trout slam” out of the same small pool in about ten minutes time…between canoe flotillas.   The fish here have seen so many go by, they just don’t care and they no longer put the fish down . 

   From top to bottom: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout.

This summer…until this week (August 17) has pretty much been the summer that wasn’t in this part of the country with unseasonably cool weather.  It has not been a good summer if you like to be getting wet.  The lakes and rivers haven’t warmed to a comfortable level…but this has been very good for the angler and fish, indeed. The hatches have been later, slower and more prolific.  The fish are also more eager.  This has been the best summer of fly fishing  on the AuSable I’ve  seen.   I suggest you get out there and enjoy it.

Until next time…. Tight Lines!



2 comments on “AuSable River, Michigan

  1. mike says:

    Great report and trip once again Deb. I definatley need to get my passport to get to the Gates. I\’ve been bassin all summer so far and been having some fun catching them.tightlines,Mike

  2. Good point that I had never thought of before.

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