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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2008 Michigan Fly Fishing Expo

Well, this is basically the start to the next fishing season. Every year in March, the Michigan Fly Fishing Club puts on the Fly Fishing Expo. This is only my second time going, but I had a lot of fun.

MFFC Expo Show Floor

I got there as they were opening in hopes to get into some of the hackle and pick out the good stuff. My plan was to see Jerry Regan at 8:30 when he presented some Au Sable River flies. I stopped at a couple of the feather booths, but a bunch of people had the same idea I did and they were flooded with people digging through the bins. So, I decided to visit the one booth I regretted not visiting last year – Shelbyville Rods.

Last year, I stopped at the Shelbyville Rod Company booth, and they had a couple rods at a great discount, but I passed them up.  This year, I figured if I had first choice at what they brought to the show that I might be able to get a nice rod for a good price. My 6′ 3wt rod I got from Bass Pro looks like it cracked this past summer. I was looking for something to replace it. There were two rods I liked, and the best thing is you can go right over to the casting pool and try them out. I ended up buying a cutom-made fiberglass 3/4wt that a customer ordered, but didn’t buy. I really liked the slow action it gave, and I could cast real easy. So, that will definitely be getting some use this year.

I bought the rod, and headed over to Jerry Regan’s fly tying demonstration, and he was tying a streamer-like pattern called the Buzzsaw. The fly is a tandem hook fly that actually uses skunk hair, and resembles a Madsen Barber pole. Here is a good article on Jerry.

Immediately after Jerry Regan was Charles Meck. I was hoping to meet Charles Meck and to have him sign my small streams book, but after a long morning, and with bad weather I decided to leave about an hour before his book signing session was starting. I did get to watch him tie up what he called “1-Minute” flies. The two patterns I thought looked the most effective were the Universal Emerger and Zebra Midge. Here is a picture of him at the vise:
Charles Meck

After watching the fly tying demonstrations, I walked aroud the show floor some more and ended up subscribing to Michigan Streamside Journal. I also met Will Mullis from Hatches magazine and subscribed to their fly tying magazine as well.

Next, I headed over to what I thought was going to be a session on how to build a graphite rod, but was actually a REALLY good explanation of modern fly rods given by Mike McFarland of McFarland Rods. I have a feeling I’ll be buying a rod from him someday. He really knows his stuff when it comes to building rods, and he has some very down-to-earth theories about what makes rods better.

After Mike, was Jerry Kustich from Sweetgrass Rods. If you don’t know who the Boo Boys are, then you should read up about them. They are a part of Fly Fishing history, and their bamboo rods are legendary. He gave a presentation on “The Bamboo Way of Life,” which showed how they got to where they are today.

Jerry Kustich

After the presentation, I made a couple more rounds around the show floor, specifically looking jungle cock nails and some chenille, and there just didn’t seem to be a lot of material places around, except for hackle. Overall, still a really good show, and a really good way to frustrate you that the fishing season has not yet arrived.

Fly fishing deal of the year (or maybe even decade)…

I stumbled onto an advertisement on Craigslist.org about a year ago from a guy who said he was clearing out some fly fishing stock from a failed business venture. He had listed a bunch of miscellaneous items, and wanted just over a c-note. I totaled up what he was selling and I came up with around $700 worth of stuff. Well, he ran into some family-related issues, and I lost contact with him. About a year later, out of the blue, he asked if I was still interested.

Long story short, I met with him today and purchased the items from him. There are literally dozens and dozens of dry flies., several aluminum fly boxes, plastic fly boxes, a fly tying vice, and he threw in some bobbers. He was a really nice guy, and I truly thank him for wanting to get rid of this stuff. I’ll put some pictures up once I sort through it all.

Here is the first picture. Some where around 130 flies in this box alone:
Box of flies

Crayfish Pattern – Crawdad Fly

I tied up a pretty cool looking Cray fish pattern today. I looked through some of the patterns in my fly tying magazines, and I checked around on different websites and I came up with this…

Hook: Mustad Streamer Hook (Size 6 here) tied upside down and backwards.
Mandibles: Pheasant Feathers
Antennae: Pheasant tail fibers
Eyes: Barbell Eyes – plain black
Legs: Brown Rubber Legs
Tail: Another pheasant feather
Body: Lead wired, dubbed over with shiny brown dubbing
Ribbing: Peacock Herl
Shellback: Thin Skin

When else can you use the word mandibles…

Crawdad Front