I headed out to the Au Sable this past weekend, even though trout season started a week before. My hope was that I would pick a good weekend with less people on the water, good weather, and more fish. The river did seem fairly empty on Friday, but Saturday was like an angler traffic jam. The weather was not that bad, but after a large thunderstorm rolled through Friday evening, the fish seemed to stop biting the rest of the weekend.
A couple of my friends were meeting me at a cabin near Lovells, and I got there a couple hours before they did. I saw bugs coming off the water and unloaded only what I had to before slipping my waders on. When I got on the water I was amazed. The hendrickson hatch was very thick, but there were not many fish rising. Both Thursday and Friday evenings had a pretty big hennie spinner fall, and I was able to get some video of it:
While I caught several brookies throughout the trip, most were only four to six inches long. My biggest fish of the trip was a brookie I caught during the spinner fall:
My friends and I brought up canoes with the plan to float sections of the river, and fish along the way. The first day was on the North Branch of the Au Sable. Right off the bat, my friend (who was new to fly fishing) picked up a nice brook trout on a dry fly:
A canoe is great for getting you through the skinny shallow water on the North Branch, but we still a had a couple incidents. First, when trying to head under a footbridge, we ran into the high bank and actually lost a tip top on one of the fly rods. Later, at the very end of the trip, I misjudged the water depth when getting out of the canoe and ended up dunking myself under the water and floated my hat. Luckily I didn’t flip the whole canoe.
The following day we floated the tail end of the Holy Water section. It was a great trip, and I was abl.e lto learn a new piece of water. However, the wind picked up Saturday and what little bugs were on the water were usually being gusted away.
The good part was that even though not many fish were caught, I got to be out on the water on a beautiful weekend. I also learned some new spots to fish in the future, and got to have fun with friends.