At least once a year I try to make a trip up to northern Michigan, to fish the Au Sable River and its neighbour the Manistee. This summer has been unusually busy and last weekend was likely the first and last time I will be up there this year. I took Friday off and drove 6 hours after work to get there for Thursday night.
The weekend was a combination of fishing and partying, as it was the big Au Sable Canoe Marathon weekend. Visitors from all across North America come to Grayling for this weekend to watch the race, making it the busiest time of year for both Grayling and the Au Sable River. Because of this, it’s not exactly the ideal time to be fishing the area – at least not the main branch. However, quality fishing can still be had on the Manistee, the North and South branches of the Au Sable and (to my surprise) even on the main branch the very morning after the race.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I took a well deserved week-long trip to a favourite destination of ours on the banks of Au Sable River in Grayling, Michigan.
Grayling is a fly fishing paradise. I won’t go into detail on why this is such a great fly fishing town, but suffice it to say that it’s surrounded by several blue ribbon trout rivers, it’s host to river stretches with nicknames like the “Holy Water”, it’s got more fly shops than most towns have gas stations and it’s the birthplace of Trout Unlimited… you get the idea.
I made an effort not to spend too much time on the water this trip, since my wife doesn’t fish and we had other things planned for the week. Most of the time I didn’t stray too far from the place we were staying. Located on the Holy Water, one of (if not the) best stretches of trout water on the entire Au Sable, it’s just too convenient.
The main hatches for the week included Tricos in the mornings, terrestrials (mostly ants) in the afternoons and some sporadic BWO hatches in the evenings. No overly large trout were had during this trip, but a nice assortment of brown, rainbow and brook trout were caught. That’s one of the things I love about the Au Sable in this stretch… all three trout species are very plentiful and on any given day it’s entirely possible to hook up with trophy sizes in all of these fish.