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> > Fishing Report with Photos: Au Sable River near Grayling May 26th 2012

Oldredbarn has attached these 9 pictures. The message is below.
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Nice Brown that loved eating Drakes. Spence seems happy too!
Nice Brown that loved eating Drakes. Spence seems happy too!
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My friend Jim holding my last Brown of the evening and this trip up. We both had fished over this one with no luck when he finally took my offering. We caught this just as another boat was sliding by in the dark. I yelled, "There he is Jimmy!" and they were waiting down at the take out and asked how big it was.
My friend Jim holding my last Brown of the evening and this trip up. We both had fished over this one with no luck when he finally took my offering. We caught this just as another boat was sliding by in the dark. I yelled, "There he is Jimmy!" and they were waiting down at the take out and asked how big it was.
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This is my biggest Bow from the upper Au Sable. It absolutely destroyed the pool! My rod tip was pointing east and he was somewhere north jumping two feet out of the water...Then he headed south of us and did it again...The third leap done it in and we finally boated it. Jim kept telling me to land the thing and laughing his, you know what, off. It was like someone had tossed a stump buster in the river.
This is my biggest Bow from the upper Au Sable. It absolutely destroyed the pool! My rod tip was pointing east and he was somewhere north jumping two feet out of the water...Then he headed south of us and did it again...The third leap done it in and we finally boated it. Jim kept telling me to land the thing and laughing his, you know what, off. It was like someone had tossed a stump buster in the river.
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Jim holding same fish as above.
Jim holding same fish as above.
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E invaria
E invaria
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E invaria side view.
E invaria side view.
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Rayburn Lodge where I stayed for the first three nights up with a gang from the Michigan Fly Fishing Club...The river is down a hill on the other side of the Lodge.
Rayburn Lodge where I stayed for the first three nights up with a gang from the Michigan Fly Fishing Club...The river is down a hill on the other side of the Lodge.
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Au Sable River Boat...Also called a "Stick-Boat"...Still being made along the Au Sable and dating back to the logging days. Was used to pole upstream supplies etc to logging camps. Makes a great platform for fishing as well. Chains are used and you float at current speed for long drag free floats. That's Joe in the rear there hiding from the camera. He guides out of Gates' Au Sable Lodge.
Au Sable River Boat...Also called a "Stick-Boat"...Still being made along the Au Sable and dating back to the logging days. Was used to pole upstream supplies etc to logging camps. Makes a great platform for fishing as well. Chains are used and you float at current speed for long drag free floats. That's Joe in the rear there hiding from the camera. He guides out of Gates' Au Sable Lodge.
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I know this is not a fish but a Kirtland's Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii). I finally checked this rare bird off my list after talking about it for 20+ years. Took a tour out of Mio with the US Forest Service and spotted maybe 6 different males...Females hadn't showed, but were due any day. This bird was close to extinction and over the years its population has rebounded due to management of Jack Pine habitat and the Cowbird population. This photo was taken by the Shank family who had travelled all the way from Virginia to see this bird...They had some serious camera equipment and were nice enough to email it to me. There was another fella in our tour from CT...All I had was a pair of Zeiss binoc's and felt totally un-prepared in comparisson. The guide did have a nice scope as well.

The Shank family publishes a magazine called "Nature Friend".
I know this is not a fish but a Kirtland's Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii). I finally checked this rare bird off my list after talking about it for 20+ years. Took a tour out of Mio with the US Forest Service and spotted maybe 6 different males...Females hadn't showed, but were due any day. This bird was close to extinction and over the years its population has rebounded due to management of Jack Pine habitat and the Cowbird population. This photo was taken by the Shank family who had travelled all the way from Virginia to see this bird...They had some serious camera equipment and were nice enough to email it to me. There was another fella in our tour from CT...All I had was a pair of Zeiss binoc's and felt totally un-prepared in comparisson. The guide did have a nice scope as well.

The Shank family publishes a magazine called "Nature Friend".
OldredbarnMay 28th, 2012, 7:20 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2585
Just got home from a 10 day fishing trip to the old Au Sable...

The temps were high and the sun was out. It didn't rain the whole ten days until the day I was packing up for home. The Brown's hid out during the day and the bug activity really didn't get rolling until after 7:00pm.

Bugs: Brown Drakes, sulphers, Little Mahoganies, March Browns,a half-a-doz different stones, and caddis galore. On Friday night last I was somewhere along the South Branch and saw so many Brown Drakes in the air I thought I was dreaming in bed back at the Lodge! :) Incredible!

Anyway...Just trying to figure out how soon I can get back up....Hex could be early this year.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
AdirmanMay 28th, 2012, 7:48 pm
Monticello, NY

Posts: 460
Sweet fish!! Thanks for the pics!!
MartinlfMay 28th, 2012, 7:57 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2835
Great photos, Spence; absolutely beautiful fish. Thanks for the report! What kind of boat is that?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
EntomanMay 29th, 2012, 2:21 am
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Spence,

Nice to have you back. For awhile I was beginning to worry we lost you to the bliss of early retirement.:) Great looking fish - nice candids of the lodge and the invaria duns. Looking forward to the stories that go with them, provided they aren't too long....:)LOL

Louis - I believe that is a handcrafted Au Sable River Boat. A beautiful design born of a beautiful river. There's a lot of history there and I'll leave it to Spence to tell the rest.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GutcutterMay 29th, 2012, 7:13 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Spence
Are you wearing a skirt in that first photo, or are you trying to invent a fly fishing apron-vest. I often hear you complain about the weight of your various paraphernalia, but I think that's going a bit too far...
:)

Oh, and some nice fish there
See what happens when you're not stuck in the basement watching another 'Wings playoff run...
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Jmd123May 29th, 2012, 1:23 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2304
Looks like a good trip there, Spence. Some nice fat fish in those pics, that rainbow has some seriously broad shoulders! What flies worked the best? We have been having quite the mix of hatches around these parts, too, so much so that I haven't had to get very serious about being specific in fly selection! See my latest posts - I have been having one hell of a lucky streak lately myself, especially on the Rifle with 35 fish in two days!

And don't let Tony bug ya - his beloved Penguins crapped out pretty seriously too...

Jonathon

P.S. I now see the advantage of fishing with someone else - easier to get fish pics! Mine have been wriggling around too much in the net and I don't want to harm them any more than I already have before letting them go.
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnMay 29th, 2012, 3:50 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2585
Louis,

I added a picture I took of an Au Sable Riverboat on this trip. Joe, who is piloting this one, is a nice young man and a hell-of-a-guide...That's what his father has told me anyway when he and I ran in to each other a year or two ago on the North Branch...:)

Tony...That's my vest hanging from the back of the bucket seat there...:) It was a nice relief to get the damn thing off my back...Improved my casting...Somewhat. :)

Tony...I should of listened to you my friend! I told you that the owner of Gates' had lent me a Winston BIIIx 4wt for opening day weekend that was an 8'6" stick...The 9 foot version went in to my hands this time up and wasn't returned to the shop...Hmmm. What could of happened to that rod? :) I called the wife to let her know that I wasn't going to return it and she said, "I've known you were going to buy that rod for the last two months! Where have you been?"

Re: Retirement...They had a new Au Sable Riverboat for sale in the yard at Gates' for $6,000.00. When I had my wife on the phone I told her I was still looking for my post employment muse...I said I thought the boat was a steal and I could start a whole new career...She said, "Walk away from that damn boat now, mister!" :) Tony, could you see me guiding you down the river to some of these hogs, radio picking up some hockey game somewhere, and cold Molson's getting even colder in the cooler as we drift away?! What ya think?

Jonathon...Selectivity, when it shows up, smacks one in the face...One night the fish were going on sulphers and I just couldn't see anything anymore so I tied on a Robert's Drake and fished it the rest of the night and the fish didn't mind...I had two other times where the Drake was compltely ignored and sulpher spinners were what they wanted...I am still fretting over a night on the South Branch where the nicer fish had switched from Drake spinners to hatching ones...I didn't figure this out until we were heading back to the Lodge around midnight...Ouch!

Just think of all the bugs I saw this past 10 days up...The Iso's are about to start and then the Hex...Wow! You don't have to head all the way upstream for this sort of fun...Downstream of the Mio dam is about to turn in to the Lodge Freeway in downtown Detroit at rush hour...You should be checking it out...So many bugs they show up on Dopler! Yahoooo!

Spence

PS This time up was the first time I have ever been in a car and we hit a deer. It was a yearling and was running like a grayhound in a dog race! I watched the whole thing while I was screaming, "Deer! Deer! Deer!" It ran in to us on the driver's side headlight. Messed up some plastic and pushed in the headlight assembly a bit and damaged the windshield washer fluid container so bad all the fluid leaked out and the low fluid warning went off...It wasn't my car and my friend was driving me back to where we had parked mine when it happened. I stopped after to look around but did not see the deer.
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
FisherOfMenMay 29th, 2012, 3:52 pm
NY

Posts: 115
Some great fish Spence... and I like how the bird seems to be going, "Laaaaaaaaa!" at the top of its lungs!
"Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught." -Author Unknown

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke
MartinlfMay 29th, 2012, 4:32 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2835
Spence I hadn't scrolled through all the photos, it appears. Neat looking boat. All wood, eh?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
EntomanMay 29th, 2012, 5:05 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Louis -

You didn't miss anything. Our good friend edited in the full boat picture along with the name after your inquiry and my response... Pretty sneaky way to make us look dense if you ask me!:)LOL
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
FalsiflyMay 29th, 2012, 5:40 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 655
Spence:
The 9 foot version went in to my hands this time up and wasn't returned to the shop...Hmmm. What could of happened to that rod? :) I called the wife to let her know that I wasn't going to return it and she said, "I've known you were going to buy that rod for the last two months! Where have you been?"

They had a new Au Sable Riverboat for sale in the yard at Gates' for $6,000.00. When I had my wife on the phone I told her I was still looking for my post employment muse...I said I thought the boat was a steal and I could start a whole new career





"My biggest worry is that my wife (when I'm dead) will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it."

~by Koos Brandt~
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
JesseMay 29th, 2012, 5:50 pm
Posts: 378
Spence the Kid is back ladies and gents, and once again with a most magnificent finish ha!!!

Well done sir.
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
OldredbarnMay 29th, 2012, 8:48 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2585
Louis -

You didn't miss anything. Our good friend edited in the full boat picture along with the name after your inquiry and my response... Pretty sneaky way to make us look dense if you ask me!:)LOL


Just trying to be helpful boys...:)

Allan...Guess what? My wife and I were on our way to the gym tonight when I told her my friend in the shop gave me a deal on the rod...I then told her the price and her face nearly fell off...A semi was driving by at the same time and I thought she felt it was too close...No. She finally realized the cost of the rod...Oops!

I had the rod in hand for ten days and hadn't paid for it. My friend finally got around to asking me what I thought of the rod. I said, "What rod." :) When I ponied up he said, "Spence. This rod will give you a lifetime of pleasure." I said, "Lets hope its a long life, eh?!" :)

Jess...I'm just letting you know, that when you finally make it to the "Holy Water" here in Michigan and need a guide that the "old-man" can still hang...:)

Thanks for all the comments fellas.

Spence

Just a side note about the Rayburn Lodge above...That was actually the guest house to a very large estate up closer to town. It was moved and re-done and is actually up for sale...It sleeps 20+ comfortably...Opening day we had it packed with cots and fold-aways and some sleeping on a couch...I think the guy on the couch was there due to the snoring of his bunkmates. :)

The fieldstone fireplace is in a vaulted ceiling room with a moose head on it...Its too cool and the boys, this time up, were so fish serious that the TV never was turned on...Not even once.
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WillyMay 29th, 2012, 10:26 pm
Portland, OR

Posts: 46
Awesome report. I'll be up there in two weeks for ten days. Joe and Jimmy are both fantastic guides.
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
Jmd123May 29th, 2012, 10:27 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2304
Spence, you might be able to talk me into going up there sometime with you. I promise not to outfish you ;oD Ok, maybe just a little (I doubt it, Mr. Au Sable Hatchmaster). I hope you still allow $50 3-weights after acquiring your high-dollar wand...

How were the crowds? Plenty of room for fishing? I try to be alone on my small local streams if possible, where too many guys can easily put them down. Though, a canoe with kids float-tubing in tow went by me Friday evening at 7:30 and fish kept on rising and hitting a few minutes after they passed - beat the hordes though!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
CrepuscularMay 30th, 2012, 7:58 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 915
Spence thanks for the report! One suggestion though try and look happy when you pose for a picture ;). Great shot! The place looks wonderful. It is definitely on my short list of places to fish. I have never ventured out of my east coast appalachian trout streams. I have done alot of salt water fly fishing, but I am ready to switch gears for a while. I have heard such great thing about the AuSable and we fish there one day. Great description of the rainbow too, I had one about 17' do the same thing to me last week. Nice shot of that warbler too. I am definitely not a birder but I am always excited when I see a new species. I saw my first scarlet tanager last year during grouse hunting. Seems like every year I add at least one new species of those big woods birds. Every now and then I get to use the Swarovski's I inherited. But usually they stay on the floor of my vehicle...
JesseMay 30th, 2012, 9:47 am
Posts: 378
Haha well hey thats good to know, because it will be happening sometime in the near future.. It better anyways :/ Good pictures and great fishing man i love it!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
PaulRobertsMay 31st, 2012, 8:30 am
Colorado

Posts: 1774
Wow! Great report, Spence. Glad to see you are making good use of your time off.
OldredbarnJune 1st, 2012, 11:49 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2585
http://www.gateslodge.com/fishingreport.php

Thanks Paul...

My Brown and my Rainbow made Gates' fish report this week. Jim, seen holding the fish,has been guiding for what seems like forever out of Gates' Lodge. We do an annual trip that we have done for years now and is more fun then we both will admit...I have said that if someone had filmed our trips over the years, without us knowing, we would be millionaires! :) They are a hoot! Every angler would own a copy.

Jim is considered the best dry fly guide up there, but few know that he's so good with a streamer he could put one in your back pocket from the other side of the river. He is booked, with no break, from now through the end of Hex...These guys work their behinds off every night. It is an odd thing for others to believe that these guides will be out on the river until the wee-hours until the Hex peters out.

Jim is a good old friend and it does my old heart good to see him getting some "prime-time" nods with a couple nice fish he put me over...We were a couple of happy campers last Saturday night. I was using a drake pattern Jim had tied up that floats like a cork and the fish couldn't say no to.

Jim has a four year old son we are training to float Pops and uncle Spence when we get to the point where we can't see to tie one on in the dark...:) I was introduced to night fishing by Jim's little brother Mike over a couple decades ago...I remember one night where Mike and I were out and I wasn't getting a good float in a spot and moved on and Mike took an 18" Brown out of the same spot. Ouch! Lesson learned the hard way! :)

Spence



"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123June 1st, 2012, 7:43 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2304
Spence, you may or may not remember that I began my entire fly-fishing career on the Hex hatch in the Maple River, inspired by a forest ecology professor at the U of MI Biological Station, way back in 1985. For many years I refused to try trout fishing during daylight, because, by golly, them trout can see me comin'! I'm just a natural night owl anyway - one of my other hobbies is amateur astronomy...and night-fishing has begun, last Friday they went berserk at nightfall on the Rifle, weren't even choosy (#12 grey Elkhair caddis and Adams both worked).

Again, congrats on a great trip. Let me know if you want to do one up this way - May was probably my best trout fishing month ever!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
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