Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Au Sable River In
This big river starts north of Grayling Michigan and flows
for about a hundred miles before emptying into Lake
Huron. It is one of the countries top trout fishing
destinations. Its upper section consist of water from the
North, South and the main stem of the Au Sable river.
The river also has a great steelhead fishery below Foote
Dam in the last few miles of the river. The big river flows
from its headwaters in the same direction as the nearby
Manistee River. The Au Sable empties into Lake Huron,
but the Manistee Lake Superior.
At Grayling, Michigan, the main stem is joined by the
East Branch of the Au Sable. Not far from there, at a
place called Burton's Landing, the Graying's nine-mile
long, "fly fishing only - catch and release" section
begins. This section is called the "Holly Water" by
the locals. This special regulation section ends at
Wakeley Bridge. This part of the river is wide but fairly
easy to wade. Its bottom is mostly sand and gravel. Fly
fishing the Au Sable River is a truly pleasurable
Access to this part of the Au Sable River is easy. There
are several locations where one can launch boats and
wade. Stephan Bridge and Thendara Road are the two
most popular access points in this area of the river.
From the Wakeley Bridge downstream to Mio Pond, the
river gets larger with more pools and a fewer runs. The
fishing is excellent in both of these upper sections. This
section is deeper and more difficult to wade but it holds
some big trout. This area of the Au Sable River can be
accessed at the Whirlpool off Cherry Creek Road and
the Parmalee Bridge.
From Mio Dam downstream to the McKinley Bridge you
will find some of the river's largest trout. This area is
best fished from a drift boat due to the strong current
and depth but it is possible to wade in places depending
on the water levels. This area of the river can be
accessed at Perry Creek, the McKIinley Bridge and
Comins Flats. The South Branch of the Au Sable River
joins the main stem in this section.
The South Branch also has excellent fishing and also
includes a "catch and release", artificial only section
from Chase Bridge downstream to Lower High Banks.
The South Branch is easy to wade.
The South Branch of the Au Sable River flows from
Houghton Lake past the town of Roscommon. It joins the
main stem not far below the Wakeley Bridge.
The North Branch of the Au Sable River also has some
great fly fishing opportunities. It enters the main stem of
the Au Sable just downstream of the South Branch.
Brown trout, some rainbows, and lots of brook trout are
found in the North Branch. After passing through
Lovells, it flows into the main stem of the Au Sable a few
miles downstream of the South Branch.
The lower section of the Au Sable River is an excellent
steelhead fishery. The section from Foote Dam
downstream to Lake Huron has runs of both steelhead
and salmon. This is a large section of water. It can be
waded at times but it can also be dangerous. It's best to
fish it from the banks or a boat. Steelhead fishing
generally runs from November through March.
Fly fishing the Au Sable River ranks up there with any of
the best trout and steelhead streams in the Eastern
United States. It's a year- round, high quality fishery. It's
famous for its "MIchigan Caddis" hatch, which is actually
the large Hexagenia Limbata mayfly. Anglers have an
opportunity to catch some large brown trout on
imitations of this mayfly. If you haven't already done so,
we suggest you plan a trip to fish this great river.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Au Sable River
There are a huge number of aquatic insect
hatches that takes place on this river. Often,
the strategies and techniques depend greatly
on these insects.
Au Sable River,
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
For Steelhead and Salmon
7, 8 , 9 or 10 weight for appropriate type
rod, sinking, sinking tip and floating
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths
10# and 12#
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, 9 and 10 ft. single hand
For 7 to 10 weight lines
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Fly fishing the Au Sable River is good
any time of the year. It is a very diverse
Springtime brings about the most aquatic
insect hatches and some of the best
There is almost eighty miles of good trout
fishing on the Au Sable. It is a freestone the
trout in the headwater areas are small to
medium brown, brook and rainbow trout. The
thirteen mile section from Fredrick to Grayling
is a relatively shallow, easy wading stream with
mostly brook trout. There are a few browns in
As mentioned in the introduction, the section
below Grayling is the nine mile catch and
release area. It is heavily fished during the
prime season. Roads, the North Down River
Road and the South Down River Roads
closely follow along this section of the river.
The section from Wakeley Bridge downstream
to McMasters Bridge is know for its brown
trout. The bottom of the river changes from
gravel and small cobble to mostly a sand
bottom with deep pools. This area can be
accessed from White Pine Campground,
Conners Flat and Rainbow Bend
Almost thirty miles below Grayling, there is a
trophy section of the Au Sable. It starts at Mio
and runs to McKinley. This area has plenty of
large trout but is best fished from a drift boat.
The spring steelhead season starts in late
March. The best fishing is in April. About half
of the fish are hatchery planted fish. They are
indicated by a clipped fin. The fall run of
steelhead takes place from about the middle
of October through November.
When the salmon are spawning around the
first of November, the steelhead can be
caught below the beds on egg patterns of
flies below Foote Dam. They are also
caught swinging large streamers through
section of the river. Normally, sink tip lines
are used for this.
In addition, both the North and the South
Branches of the Au Sable provide excellent
fishing, especially for the wading angler.
The Au Sable is known for its aquatic
insects. As you will see in our hatch section,
there are many different species and rather
large quantities of them. Being able to fish
imitations of what is about to hatch and what
is hatching is necessary in many cases. The
best approach is to pay attention to the
hatch charts. If nothing is hatching when you
are fishing, you should be fishing imitations
of what is most available for the trout to eat
in the nymphal stage. If it is near the hatch
time for a certain insect, most likely the best
bet is to fish an imitation of its nymph or
Streamers are always a good choice
especially if the water is off color or it is
early or late in the day. There are plenty of
big brown trout in the river and streamers
are often the best fly to catch them.
Au Sable Hatches and Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and nymphs,
not guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all the
insects in the Au Sable and in all stages of life
that are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with selections,
you will learn why, after trying Perfect Flies,
92% of the thousands of our customers will
use nothing else.
This stream has an abundance of hatches
that occur throughout the season. Keep in
mind that it is a long river and when we list an
insect as hatching in a time slot, that doesn't
mean it will be hatching in every section of the
stream and its tributaries at the same time.
In our opinion, the most important insect that
hatches on the Au Sable River is the
Blue-winged Olives. Of course there's more
than one species and some of them are
bi-brooded and maybe even tri-brooded. The
first hatch usually occurs around the first of
April and last until about the middle of May.
The next wave of the little BWOs is usually
around the last week of June. They hatch
almost through the month of July. Near the
end of August there will be more of them
hatching. This last hatch last into the first
week or so of October.
About the last week of April the Hendrickson
hatch usually starts. It can be very prolific.
These mayflies normally hatch for about a
month in varies sections of the river. About
that same time, Blue Quills will start to hatch. It
usually last about three weeks. Most locals
call this a Mahogany Dun hatch. Around the
middle of May, American March Browns will
also hatch is the faster water areas of the
river. It last for about a month.
At the same time, or the middle of May, you
may also find some Sulphurs starting to hatch.
This hatch can last to the middle of June.
Brown Drakes start hatching about the last
week of May and last for about a month. The
first of June you should find some Gray
Drakes hatching. They can last up to a month.
About the second week of June and lasting
until the middle of July, the hatch that the Au
Sable River is famous for takes place - The
Great Olive Wing Dun, or what locals
sometimes call the Michigan Caddis. This is
mostly an evening event. Don't forget the
Yellow Drakes. They usually start around the
last week of July and can last two or three
weeks. The Slate Drake hatch last about a
month, or from around the middle of July until
the middle of August.
In the faster water sections, you will find some
Light Cahills. They hatch for most of the
month of June. The later season hatches
include the Mahogany Duns. Both the
Mahogany Duns and Little Yellow Quills start
around the first of August and last for about a
Caddisflies are also very plentiful on the Au
Sable River. There are many species but the
most important are the Cinnamon Caddis
species. They start about the first of June and
can last all the way until the end of August.
Green Sedges start around the first of June
also. This hatch usually last about six weeks.
There is more than one species of them.
Remember, their larva, or the Green Rock
Worms, are around all year exposed to the
trout. Imitations of them work just about
The first hatch of caddisflies is usually the
Little Black Caddis. They will start about the
last week of April and last for around three
weeks. There's some White Miller
Caddisflies that hatch for about the entire
month of August. These are long-horn
caddisflies. There's some Great Autumn
Brown Caddisflies that hatch starting near
the end of August. They hatch at night and
usually last for about a month.The Au Sable
River also has some stoneflies. Of course
these are usually found in the faster
sections of the streams. Little Winter
stoneflies hatch in April. Yellow Sallies (Little
Yellow stoneflies) are probably the most
plentiful of them. They start hatching
around the end of May and last until the
middle of July. There's also some Golden
Stoneflies that hatch during the month of
June. You will also find some Little Brown
Stoneflies hatching in June.
Terrestrial insects can be important during
the summer months. Ants are plentiful
around the stream from about the end of
June all the way to mid October.
The flying ants are usually found from about
the middle of August to the middle of
September, but don't hold your breath.
They show up when they want to. Imitations
of beetles and grasshoppers will produce
trout during the months of July, August and
Midges are around year-round and
imitations of their larvae, pupae and the
adults will produce most anytime but the
most important times are during cold
weather when few other insects are
Streamers are very popular flies on the Au
Sable River. Imitations of sculpin, baitfish,
leeches all produce. They are very good
flies for catching the larger brown trout,
especially in low light and dingy water
conditions. Streamers also work great for
As you can see, there's a lot of aquatic
insects that hatch on this great river. At
"Perfect Fly," we have specific imitations of
all of them. If you haven't already done so,
please give our flies a chance to perform for
you. They are not only are the most realistic
flies you can buy, they are the most
effective at catching trout.
You may want to have a large selection of
small egg flies in natural colors such as
gold, orange, Oregon cheese, peach, and
cream in hook sizes #8 and 10's. Our
"Perfect Fly" Giant Black Stonefly Nymphs in
hook sizes 6 also work well. Our "Perfect
Fly" Hex (Great Olive Winged Drake)
nymphs in a hook size #6 also work great.
So do our Green Caddis larvae imitations or
Green Rock Worms in a hook size 12.
Steamers also work for the steelhead.
Summer can be good, especially the night
fishing during the big Drake hatches.
Fall may be the best all around time to fish
the Au Sable. It is big brown trout time.
Early winter steelhead fishing can be okay,
all depending on the weather..
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The weather is much
milder and this should continue the
following week. Midges and Winter
stoneflies are continuing to hatch
good. Fish the lower section of the
river. Keep up with the latest on
our Au Sable River fishing report
Map of Au Sable River
10/19/15 Now is a great time to be fly fishing the Au Sable. Few anglers are on the water and
the big brown trout are taking streamers like they are the last meal. Good water levels and
great fall weather doesn't hurt. Slate Drakes, Little yellow stoneflies, Great Autumn Brown
Sedges and a few other aquatic insects are hatching. Terrestrials are working great. Don't
overlook the smallmouth bass fishing in the lower river.
10/26/15 I'm not sure about the stream levels because the gauge we use normally isn't
working for some reason. According to customers, the stream levels are fine. More steelhead
have come in the lower river and you can expect that to continue. There is some rain in the
forecast later this week. Some very large brown trout are being caught on our Brown Sculpin
streamer fly. Blue-winged olives are hatching again in two sizes, 20 and 16.
11/02/15 The weather is going to be very warm this coming week. There is little chance of rain
for the next several days. Stream levels are about normal for this time of the season. Brown
trout are spawning and those holding redds should be left alone. Blue-winged olives are the
main insects to imitate. A lot more steelhead have entered the river and a few are being
caught. The salmon are finished for the season.
11/09/15 It seems like it is still Summer but it is finally turning a little cooler. There is some rain
in the forecast for this coming week and that will also help. Blue-winged olives and Midges will
become the most important hatches during the next several weeks. Our Brown Sculpin
streamer fly has been fooling a lot of big brown trout lately. Most of the them are in the post-
spawn stage. More steelhead were caught is past week.
11/16/15 Stream levels for the Au Sable are in good shape but there is a lot of rain and snow
in the forecast for this next week and that could change them. The upper river has produced
some very large brown trout. Many were taken on the Perfect Fly Brown Sculpin streamer.
Steelhead fishing has improved big time with more fish in the river. Nymphing and egg flies
have both been working good.
11/23/15 Stream levels are back to normal and the water in good shape. It is a little colder but
that's normal for this time of the year. Trout fishing should be picking up again but hatches will
be reduced to Midges and little Blue-winged Olives. Steelhead are being caught in decent
numbers. Egg flies, streamers, spey flies and nymphs produced last week.
11/30/15 The water temperature has dropped in the upper river and midges are about the
only option for trout. Steelhead fishing has been very good and nymphs/egg flies working the
best. The river is higher now and will continue to rise through Wednesday. This should bring
more fish into the river and make swinging more effective later this week. The water is about
45/46 in the lower river.
12/08/15 There is a good week ahead for fly fishing for steelhead and trout on the Au Sable.
The weather is going to be warmer and that will help both steelhead and trout fishing
opportunities. Stream levels are in decent shape in both the lower and upper river. Midges
and small BWO nymphs are the best options for trout. The Brown Sculpin streamer has been
catching some big brown trout. Steelhead flies are listed in our fishing report.
12/14/15 If you think fly fishing for trout is over on the Au Sable, think again. It is raining as I
write this but will clear up for two days and then you can expect the snow showers that are
typical for this time of the season. We think this is going to be a good week for swinging flies
for steelhead. Nymphs and egg flies have been the best producing flies for the last three
weeks. Conditions are excellent for catch a big brown trout this coming week.
12/21/15 There are a few browns being caught on streamers. Our Brown sculpin has been a
good fly to use for the last week. There is a lot of rain and snow in the forecast and the water
is going to be stained. It is going to continue to be warm and a good time to be out on the
water. Steelhead are in the river from the mouth to Foote Dam. Swinging is producing some
good chatching in the slightly starined and high water.
12/28/15 As you probably know, there's a winter storm warning out for the area for the next
day. Snow is forecast to be heavy through Friday. The water is about 38 degrees in the upper
river and it is high and stained badly. Streamers might get you a nice brown. The lower river is
also high and stained with few trout or steeehead being caught. In short, conditions don't look
very good for the coming week.
01/03/16 About the only option at this time is steelhead below the dam. The discharges have
been high and that has hampered the "catching" but that should get better this week. The
water is much colder than it has been, so nymphs are probably the best choice for the SH.
Swinging will still probably work since the leves are high but they should be crawled slowly
though the deeper water.
01/18/16 We hate giving reports like we are about to do, but the facts are, winter has arrived
big time and the snow if measured in feet, rather than inches. The river has a lot of ice, slush
and ice along the banks. The water temperature at the lowest point in the Au Sable where
steelhead are holding is just a degree or two above freezing. Stay home and tie flies or visit a
destination south of Michigan.
01/25/16 There isn't much action to report. It would be more appropriate to just say there has
not been any action on the Au Sable from a trout or steelhead standpoint this past week. It is
going to be slightly warmer but still not enough to get rid of the ice. There are better
destinations in Michigan at this time.
02/01/16 Our customers have been giving some lousy reports for the past two week even
though you can read where some steelhead are being caught below Foote dam. You just can't
find anyone that has done that. You have real catches and you have guide fish. They are two
different things. The water needs to warm up a little.
02/08/16 About the only option is steelhead fishing below Foote Dam. You do have to check
the discharge schedule and stream flows. The water is only about 35 degrees and the
steelhead holding on the bottom out of the main current. It takes a close presentation to catch
ones and nymphs are by far the best right now.
02/15/16 All but the tailwater below Foote Dam is just too cold to have any reasonable chance
of catching fish. There were some steelhead caught but very few. There's a lot of rain and
snow in the forecast, and we think some of the ice will melt and conditions improve some, but
all in all, it is still mid winter in Au Sable River country.
02/22/16 The warm weather has melted a lot of snow in the watershed and the river is stained
from it. It is high and still very cold, barely above freezing. When it does clear, midges, Winter
stoneflies and sculpin will be the foods you should imitate for trout. Steelhead are below Foote
Dam but the water is only about 35 degrees.
02/29/16 The river is flowing very high and fast with lots of slush ice. The tailwater below Foote
Dam has a lot of steelhead in the river and fishing will be good as soon as the water
temperature comes up some but for now, it is just too cold and high to fish. Watch the stream
levels and water temperature.
03/07/16 The weather is very warm, for a change, and melting snow, keeping the water
temperature down and staining the water in most sections. This is the first sign of spring.
There are a lot of new steelhead in the lower river and conditions are good at this time. There
is a lot of rain in the forecast and you should keep a close look at the levels.
03/14/16 The river is very high from rain and melting snow. The weather is going to continue
to be warm with rain forecast everyday until the weekend, and snow over the weekend. The
melting snow is holding the water temperature down and it is only in the high thirties. There
have been some steelhead caught but the high water has hampered it.
03/21/16 The upper river is still high and dingy as well as cold. The warm weather did melt a
lot of snow and ice but that just managed to keep the river stained and cold. The lower river
has a lot of steelhead in it, including dropbacks on the way out and new fish that recently
entered. They are scattered and with the higher, stained water levels, not so easy to catch.
03/27/16 Our customers were catching some steelhead in the lower river the past few days but
the river is on the way up again. It is raining as I write this with more to come later on this week.
Catch it when it falls back down and you should be able to catch steelhead. The upper river is
also high and cold. There isn't much opportunity there but it won't be very long.
04/04/16 As you probably know, the weather is turning cold again for a few days. The stream
levels are very high and the water stained. They should start dropping soon and the rain turn
to snow. It is back to midges and little BWOs if you fish the upper river. Sculpin streamers will
also work. Steelhead were being caught in good numbers but you will have to wait until the
water drops some.
04/11/16 The river is just a little above normal and slightly stained. There is a little rain/snow in
the forecast, but clear for the next five days. Midges and little Blue-winged olives are hatching.
The Brown and White Belly sculpin streamers should produce some trout. The water is still
cold, in the low forties but should start warming us some soon.
04/18/16 It is going to be a nice, warm week for the Au Sable. The water level is still high both
from rain and melting snow but should be dropping back down some. Blue-winged olives and
midges are still the most important aquatic insects to imitate but it won't be long before a lot
more larger bug start showing up. The water temperature is still in the mid to high forties.
4/25/16 The river is down near normal levels but there is rain in the forecast the first of this
week and again this weekend. It is likely to be high again. The water is still cold, or in the mid
forties. Most hatches start taking place when it reaches the 50 degree mark for two or three
days in a row. Most of the snow and ice has melted, so the water should begin to be much
05/02/16 The Au Sable is coming into good shape fast. It won't be long before the water
temperature is above the magic 50 degree mark and Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, LIttle Black
Grannom caddis and little Brown stoneflies start hatching. The stream levels are good and
Blue-winged olives are hatching good now.
05/09/16 The river is just a little above normal but in good shape from the headwaters down to
the lake. The water is getting warmer and hatches are picking up big time. This should be a
good week to fish the river. There is some rain but hopefully, just the right amount. Conditions
are better than usual for early May. It should be a good week to be on the water.
05/16/16 The weather is turning a little cooler for a couple of days then warming back up. The
water is warm and running at a normal level. Several hatches are underway and our
customers are catching trout on the surface as well as nymphs. Hendricksons and Red Quills
are hatching big time. Now is a great time to fish the Au Sable.
05/23/16 The stream levels are down to near normal and the water is mostly clear and in good
shape. It is going to warm up this week, and the aquatic insect hatches should increase with
new hatches starting. Our customers sent in some good reports this past week. There is some
rain in the forecast, but otherwise, the coming week should be a good one the fish the Au
05/30/16 The river is in very good shape for this time of the year. Lots of aquatic insects are
hatching. Golden stoneflies have started to hatch along with lots of mayflies and caddisflies.
The Green sedges are hatching good and the Cinnamon Caddis should be right behind.
Brown Drakes and Gray Drakes are also hatching. It is going to be a good week to fish the Au
06/06/16 Our customers are reporting some good catches in terms of numbers and sizes. It
doesn't get much better than it is right now. There are three species of big drakes hatching as
well as several other insects. The weather forecast looks great and the stream levels are
currently in good shape. You can wade most sections of the river safely.
06/13/16 The stream levels are good in all sections of the river. The water is clear and anglers
are catching trout in all sections of the river. There are a lot of insects hatching and providing
some excellent dry fly fishing. One customer is reporting that he is catching some large browns
on Sculpin streamers early and late in the day.
06/20/16 The Au Sable is in great shape. The stream levels are down where they should be
making for some safe and easy wading, and the water is clear and warm. There are a lot of
insects hatching giving anglers many options throughout the day to match the hatch. Sulphurs
are more obviously than anything. Some trout are being taken on the surface but mostly still
06/27/16 The local shops and guides always get the big Hex hatch, Great Olive Wing duns,
going before they really show up. That's the case now. They have not begin to hatch but
should any time. The water temperature needs to come up another degree or two. There are
a lot of insects hatching that bring just as good of results for most anglers, and you don't have
to fish into the night to catch them.
07/04/16 The river is in good shape with a lot of hatching insects. They don't all occur in one
place at the same time, of course, but there is no shortage of hatches, including the big
drakes. Remember, fishing the Hex hatch is basically night fishing. You have to get into a good
position in the stream and watch and listen for feeding trout.
07/11/16 The insect everyone has been waiting for to hatch is emerging. The Great Olive
Wing drakes, or Hexs and some call them, have started to hatch. There are a lot of others
hatching that trout eat just as well, so don't overlook them in favor of the big ones. The
Sulphurs are going strong right now, along with a lot of caddisflies. Little Yellow stoneflies are
also hatching good.
07/18/16 The big Hex hatch is still going and those who are fishing at night are catching a few
trout. There are several other hatches underway offering anglers good opportunity to catch
trout as well. The stream levels are in good shape and it is a very good time to be fishing the
river. We had two good reports from customers fishing this past weekend.
07/25/16 The river is still in very good shape with lots of anglers fishing and some doing very
well and others not so well. That is normal for the river. Fishing the last two or three hours of
the day is the best time. There are good spinner falls and lots of egg laying caddis and little
Yellow stoneflies. Sculpin streamers are getting some of the larger browns early in the morning.
08/01/16 The river is in good shape with good levels that are currently just a tad low, but
otherwise in good shape. There are several hatches taking place. It is best to fish early and
late in the day, especially very late when the caddisflies and little Yellow stoneflies are
depositing eggs. Terrestrials are also beginning to work good.
08/08/16 The river level is a little low and you need to use stealth and stay hidden from the
trout. It is easy to wade most places but also easy to spook the trout. Dress to blend in with the
background. Late afternoons, or the last two or three hours of the day, fish the caddisfly egg
laying activity. It is bringing a lot of trout to the surface. Streamers have been working good in
the early mornings.
08/15/16 Conditions are improving, with stream levels up to near an normal level and the
weather getting a little cooler. Our customers are catching some nice brown trout in the early
mornings on our Sculpin streamers. The late afternoon, near dark, caddisfly egg laying activity
is bringing a lot of trout to the surface to feed. Terrestrials are also working good.
08/22/16 The stream levels are still in good shape. The weather and water still warm but
somewhat better. You should still fish early and late in the day for the best results. Late
morning Trico spinner falls are bringing fish to the top and so are the hatches that follow.
Customers are catching some large browns on Sculpin streamers in the mornings.
08/29/16 Conditions are improving with good stream levels and cooler water and weather. This
should be a good week. Our customers reported catching sme nice browns the past two days.
Fish the Trico spinner fall in the late morning and the Trico hatch that follows just afterwards.
The last two or three hours of the day, fish the egg laying activity of the caddisflies.
09/05/16 Our customers are catching some nice trout in the early mornings using our Sculpin
streamers. Both Matuka and Brown Sculpin patterns are working good for that. There are lots
of caddisflies hatching and the late afternoon egg laying frenzy continues to bring a lot of trout
to the surface to feed on them. Morning spinner falls of Tricos are taking place.
09/12/16 Good stream levels exist in all sections of the river and the weather is going to finally
be turning cooler. This will help the "catching". There is rain in the forecast this week, but
hopefully just enough to keep things in great shape. Our customers reported catching a few
big brown trout this past week fishing at night but that shouldn't be necessary to do it this
09/19/16 The river is in good shape right now, with good stream levels and lots of trout being
caught by our customers. They are using Sculpin streamers in the morning and anytime there
is low light conditions. We have added Mahogany duns to the fly list as they have begin to
hatch. Great Autumn brown sedges, or fall caddis, should begin to hatch anytime now. Watch
the steam levels. There is more rain coming.
10/26/16 The weather is turning fall like and getting super nice. There is some rain in the
forecast but hopefully, just enough to keep the conditions in good shape. The stream levels
are fine right now. The brown trout will soon be going into the pre-spawn stage and getting a
little aggressive. The water temperature is dropping. Several hatches are taking place.
10/03/16 Conditions are about as good as they get at this time of the year. Brown sculpin and
Matuka Sculpin streamers are catching some big brown trout for two of our loyal customers.
The fish are in the pre-spawn mode. You should be able to catch plenty of brook trout. There
are hatches of little BWOs and Mahogany duns. Great Autumn brown sedges are hatching at
nigh. Fish the pupa during the afternoons.
10/10/16 The brown trout are building redds, so please do not wade through them. Those pre-
spawn browns are still taking streamers very well. There are some very good Blue-winged
olive hatches along with some Mahogany duns and Great Autumn Brown sedges. Stream
levels are in good shape and the water temperature down in good shape.
10/17/16 They are catching lake run brown trout in good numbers. The middle and upper
rivers are producing some nice large brown trout for the few fishing for them. Our customers
are using the Brown sculpin streamer. There are some huge Blue-winged olives hatches
taking place, especially on cloudy days. It is a good time to fish the river and few are taking
advantage of it.
10/24/16 The stream levels are in good shape as I write this, flowing at a normal level. There
is rain in the forecast everyday for the coming week and this may change. You will just have to
water them. Brown trout are being caught by our customers in good numbers and that
includes some big ones. The lake run browns are also still coming in and being caught. It is a
good time to be fishing the
10/31/16 Brown trout are entering the post-spawn stage for the most part. Brown and White
Belly sculpin streamers will catch them. The stream levels are running normal but there is
some more rain through Wednesday. There are steelhead entering the river from Lake Huron
below Foote Dam. Fishing for them should be good later this week.
11/07/16 The stream levels arfe down just a little below normal. Wading is possible in many
sections. Large brown post-spawn trout are being caught on Sculpin streamers. Blue-winged
olives are hatching good. Steelhead are being caught below Foote Dam. Use our Veiled
Beadhead Crystal egg or Estaz egg flies. Nymphing under indicators is also working.
11/14/16 The weather is staying nice and warm with little to no rain. That is just fine for those
that are trout fishing. Wading is easy in most sections and lots of trout are being caught by the
few anglers fishing for them . Some big post-brown trout were caught this past week by our
customers. Steelhead are still being caught in the lower river but it has slowed due to lower
water levels. Nymphs and eggs are still catching a few.
11/21/16 The stream is still low and the water getting much colder. The weather is finally
getting a little more normal. The hatches in the upper and middle sections will be reduced to
midges and blue-winged olives. Sculpin streamers should still get you some of the larger trout.
Steelhead are in the lower river but the low water is hampering anglers ability to catch good
numbers. Some are still being taken on nymphs and eggs.
11/28/15 Stream levels are up some in the lower river but it still needs more rain to put more
steelhead in the river. The upper and middle sections of the river is good, but the water
temperature is in the low forties and Midges and Blue-winged olives is all that is hatching.
There is some more rain forecast for the coming week. The Brown sculpin streamer has been
the best producing fly.
12/05/16 Conditions are very good in the lower river with higher flows and lots of steelhead
coming into the river and being caught. Both swinging and nymphing under an indicator is
working. Trout are being caught by the few anglers fishing for them. Tandem rigged cream
and red midges are working good. The Brown sculpin is catching the post-spawn brown trout.
12/12/16 The river is in good shape but getting a little cold. There has been a lot of snow and
hopefully, that will keep the levels up. In the lower river below the dam, that should help
continue to bring more steelhead in. They are still being caught in good numbers by those that
put up with the blowing snow. Midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching and that as well as
Sculpin streamers is what you should use to catch trout.
12/19/16 The water has really gotten too cold for any decent opportunity to catch trout. There
are some sections still above freezing where Midges and Winter stonefly nymphs will work to
some extent. Fish the midges with the larva and pupa imitations tandem. There are some
steelhead in the river below the dam but we didn't receive any reports of any caught this past
12/26/16 The water continues to be very cold. Although it is still possible to catch trout in the
lower section of the river, we don't recommend fishing. There is a lot of slush ice in the water.
There are still a few steelhead being caught by the brave few willing to fight the cold water
conditions and heavy snow. Steelhead nymphs, like the Green Sedge larva, worked for one
customer. The fish are very slugish.
01/02/17 There are still some steelhead in the lower river. We didn't receive any reports from
anglers this past week but conditions were about the same as the week before when some
were caught. It is mostly nymph fishing the deep pools. The steelhead cinnamon sedge larva
and the Giant Black stonefly nymph produced some. Fish them on an indicator as close to the
bottom as possible. The upper river is just too cold to fish at this time.
01/09/17 The middle and upper sections of the river is too cold to provide much opportunity.
Trout can be caught on Midges in very cold water, but it is very cold with lots of ice in the
water. The lower river is also cold, about 33 degrees. There are lots of steelhead there, but
very slow to catch due to the cold water. When it warms a couple of degrees, it should pick up
and be fairly good. Fish Steelhead nymphs for now.
01/16/17 The river is in much better shape but still cold, of course. It is possible to catch trout
in the upper river on Midges and Winter stonefly nymphs. Fish the larva and pupa of the
Cream or red midges in tandem with the larva the bottom fly and the upper one about 16
inches above it. Fish winter stonefly nymphs near the banks late in the day. The lower river is
in much better shape with less ice and water about 34-36 degrees.
01/23/17 The lower river is in decent shape and our customers are catching steelhead. They
are swinging streamers and Spey flies, nymping with out Green Sedge SH and Cinnamon
Sedge SH nymphs and using egg flies. The Veiled bead-head Crystal egg flies and Extaz egg
flies are working good. We didn't get any reports for the lower part of the upper river is warm
enough to catch trout on Midges. Creams and Red are hatching.
01/30/17 The warm weather was nice but it is back to old man winter. The highest temperature
this coming week won't exceed the freezing level, so the water can only get a little colder. The
upper river is just too cold to fish. It is possible to catch trout on midges in the cold water but
not very productive. Steelhead fishing continues to be okay but is slowing down due to the
colder water. Nymphs and egg flies are still working.
02/06/17 The river is flowing a little above normal in most sections and cold. We didn't receive
any reports from anyone catching steelhead this past week. The conditions are still marginal.
There is a lot of slush and some block ice in the river. The upper river is barely fishable,
meaning the water is barely above freezing. You can catch trout on Midges and may even find
some in clusters on the surface.
02/13/17 Conditions in the lower river for steelhead are marginal. We didn't receive any
reports from anyone catching steelhead. There is still a lot of ice, shelf ice, banks ice and
slush ice in the water. The temperature avearges from 32 to 34 degrees. It is possible to catch
trout in the main river, but there is lots of ice to deal with. Midges will work if you are persistent.
02/20/17 The warm weather is changing everything. The water is slowly increasing in
temperature but staying cold due to the large amount of snow and ice being melted. We didn't
receive any reports from anyone fishing for trout lately. Cream or Red midge larva and pupa
fished in tandem, should catch trout. Steelhead were being caught but no reports for the last
few days. Fish the larva and pupa in rigged in tandem.
02/27/17 The weather is like a roller coaster, up and down and so are the stream levels but up
for now. There is rain and snow forecast for everyday this coming week and it is difficult to
predict what the stream levels may do. You will just have to keep a close check on them. The
water is warmer and most of the ice gone. Midges would work for the trout and there are still
steelhead in the lower river.
03/06/17 Stream conditions are improving. The water is still high, too high to wade. The
weather and water is getting a little warmer and it won't be long before we will begin to see
some spring hatches. Midges will catch trout right now. Sculpin streamers will work when there
is low light conditions. Steelhead are still being caught in the lower river but it all depends on
water levels and the temperature. Swinging, nymphing and egg flies are working.
03/13/17 The river is still running a little high but clearing up. It is much colder and there is a
lot of ice in the middle and upper river again. The lower river has some slush ice with water in
the mid to high thirties. That has slowed down the activity of the steelhead. Trout can still be
caught on Midges. Fish Creams and Reds with the larva and pupa rigged in tandem.
03/20/17 The middle and upper river is in good shape, stream level wise, but it is still cold. The
weather will warm it up a little this coming week. Most of the heavy ice and snow has melted.
Fish midges, Creams and Reds, or sculpin streamers under low light conditions. For
steelhead, egg flies or steelhead nymphs like the Green sedge larva or the Giant Black
03/27/17 The steelhead fishing has been a little slow due to low water levels, but they continue
to catch a few. This should change soon and the action pick back up. The water temperature
in the upper river is getting into the low to mid forties. Sculpin streamers should catch should
some of the larger brown trout. The water is still stained from runoff of melting snow and ice.
That only helps the streamer fishing.
04/03/17 The upper river is getting into very good shape with good stream levels and warmer,
clear water. It won't be long before the spring hatches will begin. For now, Midges and Sculpin
will work to catch trout. Steelhead fishing picked up some this past week. Nymphing, eggs and
swinging is working depending on the exact water being fished.
04/10/17 The water temperature is getting warmer and warmer. We need three or four days of
water over 50 degrees and then you will start seeing Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, Little Brown
stoneflies, Little Black caddis and more BWOs hatching. This could occur within a week but
usually happens at the end of April. The stream levels are a little high and the water stained
but it should be dropping back down soon.
04/17/17 The water level is high and the water stained but it is getting warmer. When it
reaches a water temperature of about 50 degrees for three or four days in a row, you will have
a lot of new Spring hatches starting up. It won't be long getting there as some parts are in the
high forties now. What the levels and when they drop, you can catch trout on midges and
05/01/17 The water is much warmer and clearer. It got down to near normal for a couple of
days but it is headed back up higher. It is currently to high to wade safely. It can be fished from
drift boats where level. There are a lot of insects hatching. Some trout were being taken from
the surface on the Blue Quills and Quill Gordons hatching.
05/08/17 Steelhead, dropbacks and fresh ones, are being caught in the lower river. The upper
and middle river is running a little too high to wade in most places. You may find some spots
you can wade if careful. The levels are falling and there isn't any rain in the forecast until this
weekend, so it should get into better shape soon. Streamers like our Sculpin streamers should
work good with the higher levels. There are some hatches taking place.
05/15/17 The river has gotten into good shape with normal stream levels and mostly clear
water. You should be able to wade much of the river. There is some rain in the forecast, and
these conditions may change, but for now, the river is in good shape. There are some hatches
taking place. You should be able to fish any section. The lower river still has some dropback
steelhead as well as some fresh runs of fish coming into the river.
05/22/17 Our customers are reporting some good catches for the past weekend. The stream
levels and flows are down in all sections of the river, and the water mostly clear. There are lots
of insects hatching and some trout are being taken on the surface on dry flies. Conditions are
about as good as they can get at this time of the season.
95/29/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. We received some good reports from
customers this past week. There are lots of insects hatching. The water levels are good and
wading safe and possible about anywhere. The weather forecast for the coming week looks
good. You can fish about any area of the river you desire.
06/05/17 The stream levels are in good shape for the wading angler. Our customers are
reporting excellent fishing and some good catches. There are many hatches taking place. If
anything, the multiple hatches are causing anglers problems knowing what to imitate. The
forecast for the coming week is a good one. Conditions are about as good as they can get.
06/12/17 The river is in good shape in all respects. The stream levels are low and easy to
wade and all sections of the river are producing good numbers of trout. The big drakes have
started to hatch and some are already fishing at night. There is some rain in the forecast for
the coming week. Don't overlook the other several insects hatching, especially the caddis.
06/19/17 It doesn't get much better than this on the Au Sable. The stream levels are in good
shape and the forecast looks good in the rain category for keeping the levels in good shape.
There are a lot of trout being caught by our customers, night and day. There are a lot of
hatching going on and a lot of new one will begin very soon.
06/26/17 The river is in very good shape in all sections and our customers are catching good
numbers of trout. They sent in three reports this past week. Many of the guys and gals are
fishing at night. The big Hexigenia hatch is going on and they are catching a few brown trout.
Don';t forget that there are lots of other hatches taking place other than the Drakes.
07/03/17 The Au Sable is in good shape in all sections. The stream levels are good for wading
and there are a lot of insects hatching. Terrestrials are also becoming important. We have
added them to the fly list. Our customers caught good numbers of trout this past week, with a
few trout that were fairly large. The big Drakes are gone, but the fishing continues to be great.
07/10/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. There are good numbers of trout being
caught by our customers. There are still a lot of hatches taking place and some are also doing
well on terrestrials. We just don't recommend using them when something is hatching. The
stream levels are up just a little from last week but still in good shape.
07/17/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. The stream levels are good and wading
easy and safe in most sections. There are still plenty of insects hatchng, especially Light
Cahills and Little Yellow stonelies. Terrestrials are also catching trout. We just don't
recommend using them when something is hatching.
07/24/17 The river is in excellent shape for the middle of July. The stream levels are are
normal and providing good wading opportunities most places. There are still a lot of hatches
taking place and fewer anglers are fishing and taking advantage of them. Trout are being
caught in all sections of the river.
07/31/17 The excellent conditions exist and good numbers of trout are being caught but the
relatively few anglers fishing. There are Green Sedge caddis and Cinnamon Caddis hatching
just about everywhere. Tricos are hatching in huge quantities. Little Yellow stoneflies are
hatching. Fish are being caught in all sections of the river.
08/07/17 The river is flowing just a little above normal and in very good shape. Our customers
are reporting some good catches. There are still plenty of aquatic insects hatching and trout
feeding on them. There are some very good Little Yellow Stonefly hatching and many other
mayfly and caddisfly hatches. Conditions are very good for the first of August.
08/15/17 We received several good reports from customers fishing this past week. Stream
levels are in good shape and there are still plenty of insects hatching. All sections of the river
are turning out some good catches. Don't just fish the most popular early season sections.
Terrestrial imitations of Carpenter ants, Japanese beetle and hoppers are working as well.
08/22/17 The river is in good shape. Stream levels are a little higher than normal and tough to
wade in some sections. Some areas are not safe to wade. There are still some very good
hatches taking place. Terrestrials such as Carpenter ants, Japanese beetles and hoppers are
also working. Fish the middle and upper sections of the river for the best results.
08/27/17 Conditions are very good at this time of the year. Even so, we didn't receive any
reports from customers this past week. We don't have any reports of salmon entering the
lower river. Trout fishing in any of the upper sections should be very good. There are still
some good hatches taking place. Sculpin streamers will get you the larger brown trout.
09/04/17 Trout fishing is very good and should get even better with the cooler weather moving
in. We had a couple of good reports from customers this past week. The Holly water and
upper sections of the river are still having some hatches and Carpenter ants, Japanese
beetles and hoppers ae working good as well.
09/18/17 The stream levels are normal for this time of the season. We had two good reports
from customers this past week fishing for trout. Salmon are in the river We haven't received
any reports of any being caught yet. Brown trout are entering the pre-spawn stage and fishing
for them will get better very soon.
09/25/17 The weather is staying warm for another week and then changing to a more fall like
pattern. We had two reports from customers fishing this past week. They mostly were fishing
for large browns. One did fairly well and one not so well. It is still a little early for the pre-spawn
bite, but they will be on the move very soon. There are still some good hatches taking place
and terrestrials are also working.
10/02/17 The river continues to be in good shape. Wading is safe and easy most places and
our customers are sending in some good reports of catching big browns. They are in the pre-
spawn stage. Sculpin patterns such as our Brown sculpin and Black or Olive Matuka sculpin,
are working good. There are some new insects hatching - Mahogany duns, Great Autumn
brown sedge and lots of BWOs.
10/09/17 We received one good report of trout being caught by a customer this past week.
The browns are either spawning or in the pre-spawn stage. Sculpin streamers will catch the
Pre-spawn browns and rainbows. There are still some good Blue-winged olive, Mahogany dun
and Great Autumn Brown sedge caddis hatching.
10/16/17 The river is in good shape with good stream levels in all sections. We received more
good reports from anglers catching large browns this past week. Sculpin pattern streamers will
do that for you. There is still some good surface, dry fly action. The weather continues to be
nice and the warm relatively warm.
10/23/17 Stream levels have been very high but falling. The problem is, there is more rain in
the forecast and it is a big guess as to what the levels may be later this week. Be sure to
check back with us before traveling far to fish and get the stream levels. It can be fished at this
time from a drift boat, but not waded safely anywhere.
11/07/17 The river is down a lot but still too high to wade safely in many places. It is still falling
and getting better each day. There is snow in the forecast through tomorrow and again
Veteran's day. Steelhead are in the lower river. Fishing for them should be better this coming
week. Hatches are down to mostly Blue-winged olives and Midges.
1115/17 The stream levels are high and on the way up. The lower river has been turning out
some good catches of steelhead. Hatches in the upper river is limited mostly to midges and
11/22/17 The river is very high and badly stained. The rain has stopped but there is snow
forecast about everyday this coming week. That may help the levels drop back down.
Steelhead are being caught and some Atlantic Salmon. Hopefully, the river will drop soon.
11/29/17 The river has dropped back down to just a little above normal levels and in good
shape. We are getting good reports from customers fishing for steelhead. A few large brown
have also been caught. Conditions should remain good for the next few days. Send us and
email for a recommended fly list for the steelhead.
12/06/17 We received two more good reports on steelhead being caught. Swinging, nymphing
and eggs are all working. Send us an email for a recommended fly list. We didn't receive any
reports on trout. The stream levels are still a little high and not safe to wade most places.
12/13/17 The middle and upper sections of the river are very cold, with low water
temperatures in the low thirties. The lower river is colder but still warm enough that steelhead
are still being caught.
12/20/17 The river is in good shape but the water is very cold. We didn't receive any reports
of trout being caught. There are a few steelhead being caught but the cold water has it slow or
either it is the few number of anglers fishing. Steelhead nymphs are working a little better than
swinging right now.
12/27/17 As I'm sure most everyone knows, there is deep snow and very cold weather forecast
for the coming week. The water has lots of slush and bank ice. Midges are hatching and trout
can be caught. Steelhead were being caught but will probably be slow with the low water temps
01/03/18 There is a chance at catching a steelhead in the lower river. The water is very cold
and the odds are not good. The upper river has a lot of slush ice and in our opinion, isn't
worth fishing under the current conditions. .
01/11/18 The weather is on a roller coaster with a wide range of highs and lows. It is going to
be warmer than it has been and hopefully, most of the slush ice will melt soon. Midges and
Winter stoneflies are hatching good. Steelhead fishing the lower river should improve.