THE FORESTS, rivers, dry fly fishing and people around Grayling Michigan remain a fond memory from a 10-day stint awaiting the famed Hex hatch. Perhaps it was the ritual “baptism” in the Holy Waters of the Ausable at midnight and ritual of eating a live Hexagenia but the place has stuck with me.
Our streamer addicted friend and fellow guide Alex Lafkas were discussing the Michigan waters floating the White one evening in March picking off some early caddis _ the tall dark spruce, pine and cedars along the river banks, the awesome AuSable river boats (pictured above) the jewel-like brookies snatching dry flies off the surface, plus a population of very respectable brown trout.
It’s a place everyone should visit and probably more than once, and we are more than happy to book you trips with Alex on his home waters. So last night it was a nice to see a report coming in from Alex, hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I’m Alex Lafkas. I work the Dally’s in the winter months fishing streamers on White River. I have come to love the area and the people like I do where I call home in Northern Michigan. I have worked on the AuSable for 18 years and have worked with Old AuSable Fly Shop in Grayling, MI since its inception 5 years ago. Steve Dally, Chad Johnson and I have been working together for 3 years now and we have had a ton of fun. I asked Steve if I could provide a short river update from time to time about my home waters, he said go and here we are.
Spring in Northern Michigan is here. What comes with spring is dry fly fishing. We have currently been fishing Lt Hendricksons, Sulphers and March Browns. Brown Drakes should start by next week. Along with our mayfly fishing we also have tan and popcorn caddis daily and a few different stones hatching sporadically. It is a dry fly fisherman’s paradise in May and June.
All the branches, the lower river and the Manistee are fishing well right now. Most of our brook trout are 6 to 8 inches with larger browns and brook trout making their appearance in low light. The evening rise is a very special event on the AuSable and if you haven’t experienced it, you should.
It is more a game of hunting for a rising trout. Floating though riffles and runs, and watching the slow pools with a trained eye. Sometimes the rise form could look like a light rain drop but with the correct fly and presentation you might just find yourself hooked into a large brown.
When we get warm weather and sun the best fishing tends to be the last two hours of light when anything can happen. Those days are best spent chasing brook trout on the North or South Branch.
In the evening find a nice slow pool that is quiet. When fish are sipping spinners they will make almost no noise so you must be able to hear everything. When clouds roll in the hatches can go all day. Look for a spinner fall and a hatch to take place during the rain. The nice fish will come out in the clouds. Some of the best daytime fishing I have seen has occurred during the brown drakes in rain. Incredible things can happen. You can’t miss this time of year.
Feel free to contact me via email if you have any questions about our area, river or anything else. The AuSable is a spring fed creek with lots of small dry fly water. Miles of wade able stretches on the North Branch, South Branch, Mainstream and the Manistee, and prolific hatches all year; it is a fine fishery. The best dry fly fishery I have seen.
I’m also more than happy to give my visitor’s perspective and will work with you and Alex to make sure your Michigan visit is as much fun and fine fishing as mine was.