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…
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.
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:
There was even a little creek (pronounced crick) on the property:
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…
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:
Then a little while after that, I picked up my first fish of the day, a little rainbow:
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.
Then a brown:
Then a rainbow:
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera… The rain caused a slight fog to form over the water, and the fish kept rising.
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.
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.
There were still more fish:
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.