Trout Trip 2008 – Part 2

The next day, my father-in-law went on a little exploration trip. I was looking for a small creek, and stumbled onto what I thought might be a trout lake. Nope. No fish caught, so I figured we better move on, and I thought we might be able to still find the creek. Nope. We got lost in the middle of a state forest, on some pretty nasty two-track roads. After about 25 minutes (or more) on various two tracks, we ended up in front of some houses. I was hoping it was not a private drive, but we decided it was time to turn around.  Then we heard some gun shots, and knew it was definitely time to turn around.  Luckily, I have a good memory and was able to back track to the way we got into the forest.

Being a little disappointed, we headed to the closest public access point I knew of. It started to rain pretty hard, but I managed to get two brookies on nymph – with one coming to hand. A little guy:
A Little Brookie

Even in the rain, the bwo’s kept hatching:

Two canoes, possibly an adventurous husband and wife, passed by and asked where they were at.  I described the location of the access point as the floated by.  We worked our way downstream, and back up before we called it a day.  The rain was coming down pretty good and it was time to go back to the cabin.

Day 3: Brookies out the backdoor

The rain kept pouring, and after a lazy morning, I fished the section of the river behind where we were staying.  I fished up stream a bit with no luck, and then switched to a bead head nymph and fished back downstream.  Within a few minutes I picked up a nice sized brookie, but he shook off the fly.  A couple minutes later, a real fighter came to hand.  A little brownie with a lot of spunk:

 Little Brown

I fished around the bend with no luck, and then hit a seam in the water and let the nymph swing wide – wham!  The brookies decided it was lunch time.  For about 15 minutes I had one brookie after another takign the nymph – probably five or six total fish, with one really nice one around 10 to 11 inches. Here was a nice colorful one:

Another Brookie

These were my last fish of the trip because the river level went up a few inches over night and was making it hard to wade. Even worse, the fish seemed to shutdown and wouldn’t look at anything I was throwing at them.

So, I left with some good memories and had the best trouting trip I’ve ever had.  Especially the brookies, who were starting to put their spawning colors on:
Nice Looking Brookie

Trout Trip 2008 – Part 1

The last four days was spent on the banks of the Au Sable River in Lovells, MI relaxing with my family and catching fish.  It was an amazing weekend, and am so thankful for the way the entire weekend turned out.  I am going to try and re-cap the entire weekend from memory…

Pre-trip Info:
A co-worker mentioned that I might be able to rent a cabin near the North branch of the Au Sable.  After finding out I could rent it (and do so at a VERY reasonable price), I became very excited and the vacation plans were put into motion.  The cabin was actually more the size of a house, and was 50 feet from the banks of the river.  More so, the cabin is fairly centrally located within the entire Au Sable River system, so going to fish other portions of the system is about 20 minutes in most any direction.

The other important pre-trip information is that I booked a float trip with Mike Moreau of North East Fly-Fishing Service. He said we might be able to catch the white fly hatch on the trophy waters below Mio.  Never having taken a float trip before, I was very excited.

Day 1:
We arrived at the cabin Thursday evening.  I had the camera out, and was also already casting from the stream side – no waders on just yet. The river looked amazing upstream:
First Day
And downstream:
A Trout Island

There was even a little creek (pronounced crick) on the property:
Cabin-side creek

I was ready for my float trip the next day, and could hardly wait. I threw on my new fishing hat and was reading a copy of TU Trout, when my wife decided to shoot a couple pictures of how stupid I looked…
Anticipation for the float trip

Day 2: The Float Trip
We were to meet Mike at 9am and ended up arriving at the Mio boat launch at 8:30am. As we pulled up, there was a gentleman casting off the boat launch with what appeared to be a glass rod. He struck up a conversation with us, and we found out he lives in the same neighborhood as my grandmother-in-law. When I asked about the rod, he said it was one of his bamboo rods. He was a cane rod maker! He started showing me some of his bamboo rods, and even gave my a few furled leaders he had made. His name is Todd, and I definitely need to look him up.

Mike pulled in half way through the conversation with Todd, and launched his boat. I got geared up and he helped us into the drift boat. He said he wanted to start out nymphing, so we each got a nymph on and started casting. After a short while, my father-in-law reeled in the first fish of the day, a nice brown trout:
Father-in-law Brown

Then a little while after that, I picked up my first fish of the day, a little rainbow:
First Fish of The Day

I was worried that if this was the pace we would be catching fish, we’d be lucky to get a few throughout the day. Either way, I was already happy with those first two fish, but then the rain started. A slight sprinkle turned into a drizzle that lasted a long time, and the fish turned on BIGTIME. As far as my eyes could see down the big water there were fish rising.

We switched over to a white fly pattern dry fly and the fun began. We hit the river at just the right time. The fish were not big, but they were plentiful.

A rainbow:
Another Bow

Then a brown:
Another Brown Trout

Then a rainbow:
Nice Looking Rainbow Trout

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera… The rain caused a slight fog to form over the water, and the fish kept rising.
A foggy float

Soon, the trip was at a half-way point and it was time to stop for lunch. Mike grilled up some salmon, and as my father-in-law and I looked over the drift boat across the water, while the fish just kept rising and rising.
Shore Lunch

The fishing slowed down a bit during the afternoon, but there was still a lot of critters running around – a weasel here and there, and blue herons flying around like ancient pterodactyls.
A Blue heron on the banks

There were still more fish:
Nice Brown Trout

All said and done we were exhausted at the end of the day. We lost track, but probably got into some where between 30 to 50 fish and had around 15 come to hand for each of us. This was a very memorable trip, and am so glad I chose Mike as our guide for the day.