Au Sable River Fishing – My 2010 Fishing Opener

josesunset_art

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:
johntrout

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:
ChucksFish

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.

canoeing

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.
JoseCanoe

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DIY Canoe Stabilizer , outrigger, float, or something like that…

So, I’m hoping to hit a couple lakes this year, and while my canoe feels pretty stable already, I wondered if there was a way to make it REALLY stable.

So, I started researching canoe outriggers and stabilizers. I learned a bunch of boating terminology in the process, and have come to the conclusion that it might be possible to build one relatively cheap.

Cabelas has one for over $200: http://www.cabelas.com/p-0001464011360a.shtml

I started to see some homemade floats made from things like pool noodles, large 4″ PVC pipes, boat bumpers, and more. I found several web sites using bullet nose crab buoys, and it seemed like the best plan to me. I also decided to use some free conduit that was laying around as the “cross beam” for the whole thing.

So, I ordered the crab buoys first from LFS Marine here:
http://www.lfsmarineoutdoor.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=130

Next, I needed a way to attach the conduit to the canoe. Luckily, I found something called a conduit U-bolt beam clamp. This clamp worked perfect. Here is the clamp:
U-bolt beam clamp

Here is the conduit in place with the u-bolt beam clamp:
Conduit on the canoe

I then found a video on Youtube that showed someone attaching the crab buoy to a 3/4″ schedule 40 PVC pipe. I bought 6 pre-cut pieces of PVC, and two tees. Basically, you stick one piece of PVC into each end of the tee making a big upside down “T” out of PVC. The two crab buoys attach to the upside down T. I glued them in place with plastic adhesive. I think filled the whole “T” with “Great Stuff” expanding foam for the sake of waterproofing and floating.

Next, I needed a way to attach the “T” to the conduit. I looked for some type of tee clamp, and found a PVC 3/4″ compression tee would be perfect. I can looses the tee and slide it up and down the upside-down “T” to adjust the height. The compression tee had a threaded outlet, so I I bought a 3/4″ schedule 80 nipple to screw into the compression tee. Here’s what I ended up with:
Canoe Crab Buoy

Luckily the 1/2″ conduit I had fit nicely into the nipple. I then drilled a couple holes though the nipple and conduit, and will place pins into the holes to hold the whole thing together. This is what the final product looked like:
Canoe Float

So how much did I spend (rounded):
a. 6 – 2′ sections of Schedule 40 3/4″ PVC = $6
b. 2pcs 3/4″ PVC tees = $1
c. 2pcs 3/4″ Compression Tee = $8
d. 2 – 5″ Schedule 80 3/4″ nipples = $2
e. 2pcs of Conduit = free for me
f. 2 – U-bolt beam clamps = $8
g. 4 – Crab Floats = $33
h. 1 bottle Plastic Adhesive = $4
i. Great Stuff Foam = $4
Total: $66

Not too bad. The biggest cost is the crab floats. So, hopefully someone out there who is thinking about doing the same thing stumbles onto this and can have yet another opinion on how to build a stabilizer, float, outrigger, or whatever this thing is called.

The canoe has landed

Well, the canoe has left the building, and that building was Dick’s Sporting Goods.  With my big fishing trip around the corner, I decided it was time to buy the canoe.  This is what I bought:

http://www.madrivercanoe.com/product/index/products/recreation/adventure_destiny_series/adventure_14/

The cost of the canoe at the store was: $499

Here’s what  I did to save money:
I bought a $20 off coupon from Ebay = -$17
The canoe had some scratches/blemishes = -$50
Opened a store credit card = -$10 (plus additional $10)

Final Cost: $422

I had $150 in gift cards that I had been saving up as well.  Then I asked about a “Package” deal by adding paddles and life jacket vests that they were trying to clearance out for the end of season.  They took $10 off each $60 vest, and paddles were $15 each.

I figured out I saved somewhere in the neighborhood of $125 total.  Time to go canoeing.

More canoe randomness

So, I have purchased a Thule roof rack system for my vehicle to transport my canoe. I was considering a DIY approach, but decided it is going to be on my vehicle, I’d rather have something that looks good.

But after looking at all the accessories that can go along with a canoe, there are some things I think could be DIY. So far I am considering the following projects, with some examples:

– DIY Canoe Stabilizer – Like this
– DIY Canoe Cart – like this
– DIY Loading Mat – Thule’s version

Just need time.