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> > JohnW Visits Spence on Au Sable June 2014

Oldredbarn has attached these 18 pictures. The message is below.
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John on N Branch Au Sable
John on N Branch Au Sable
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March Brown
March Brown
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Blurred Brown Drake
Blurred Brown Drake
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Spence's 18" N Branch Brown caught on a Tim Neal Drake...Thanks Tim!!! :)
Spence's 18" N Branch Brown caught on a Tim Neal Drake...Thanks Tim!!! :)
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Floating the South
Floating the South
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Dink :)
Dink :)
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Thunderbird Club. Ernie fished in front of here and John is sporting a little cane.
Thunderbird Club. Ernie fished in front of here and John is sporting a little cane.
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Spence and his Hardy clad Winston
Spence and his Hardy clad Winston
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Ginger Quill Before he passed Carl Richards owned this place. Chatted with him here on this bench a couple times.
Ginger Quill Before he passed Carl Richards owned this place. Chatted with him here on this bench a couple times.
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John on dock of Ginger Quill.
John on dock of Ginger Quill.
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Reviving Mr. Big
Reviving Mr. Big
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This is one happy man!
This is one happy man!
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23" South Branch Au Sable Brown...Way to go John!
23" South Branch Au Sable Brown...Way to go John!
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Finally! Success!
Finally! Success!
OldredbarnJune 8th, 2014, 9:49 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
JohnW drove over from PA on May 30th and we headed up to Lovell's Michigan for a week of fishing.

We had great weather, extreme biting bugs, tough fishing, and some successes.

We floated three times with guides and even their MoJo wasn't always good enough to get the fish on track...This past winter has really made for some of the poorest dry fly fishing I've experienced up there. The fish are well fed below from hi-water worms, caddis larvae, and everything else knocked loose from the substrate.

We had some fun anyway and I was able to show John around a bit and he fished the Mainstream, both in the Holy Water and the Big Water below Mio, the North Branch and South Branch of the Au Sable.

We had Brown Drakes, March Browns, invaria and dorothea Sulphers, a few caddis, and a few different stone flies. Oh...and mosquitoes that were out of this world...I don't know how we survived them. Both of us had prolonged nightmares when we slept with mosquitoes playing a big role in them.

Another TroutNut, GearandTheory, showed up to fish with us one night on the South and he caught an 18" Brown during a hot hour of Drake and Iso action. He also showed up at our cabin and cooked some awesome steaks on the grill for John and himself one afternoon.

It would of been nice if the fishing were a tad better, but I'd share my trout camp with John any day and was very happy he showed up to fish with me.

Spence

PS Both of us made the "Hog Chart" at Gates' so next year John will forever be a part of Au Sable history. :)

"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
CrepuscularJune 8th, 2014, 10:44 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
Nice! Glad you guys were not desanguinated by the skeeters. Gotta love the drakes. Those are wonderful fish.
WillyJune 8th, 2014, 11:05 am
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
Great report Spence! I'm heading up Wednesday for 10 days. It seems that the catching numbers have been way down for most people who are fishing on top on the Au Sable this year. Though it seems that people are still getting some healthy looking whoppers. That was definitely my experience when I came up on the front end of Hennies (without the whoppers unfortunately).

I e-mailed with a guy who is doing some trout research up there, and he doesn't think that the river lost an especially large number of fish this winter--he just thinks that they've had a lot of subsurface opportunities (worms especially).

I'm excited to find out for myself.
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
MartinlfJune 8th, 2014, 1:55 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3016
Good to hear you both made the hog charts; that's enough for a great trip. I've often regretted not being able to join you, but your description of the skeeters has made me somewhat more ambivalent.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
JOHNWJune 8th, 2014, 5:53 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Spence may have undersold the mosquito situation a bit. Suffice it to say that a thermacell is in both of our futures.
The fishing was a very different animal from what this PA Boy is used to but it is stunnigly beautiful in it's own way. I most certainly will return as there are a few fish in the Mason Tract I have to settle a score with!

On a side note I have to publicly thank Spence for his generousity in showing me around on his beloved Au Sable
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
OldredbarnJune 8th, 2014, 7:15 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
I'm excited to find out for myself.


Willy,

You'll do fine...The water has come down a great deal since the last week before Memorial Day...The drakes demand attention from these trout and they are coming around.

Just watch closely...The Iso's are just arriving and if you are down on the South and the rise form is rather slashy, they are chasing them...Rusty's Knot works fine, but you may want to float an emerger/nymph through there.

Good to hear you both made the hog charts; that's enough for a great trip. I've often regretted not being able to join you, but your description of the skeeters has made me somewhat more ambivalent.


Louis,

When John was fighting that Big Boy I guarantee you he had forgotten about those biting bugs! :) John and I decided that if we could survive it, it may be a good way to lose some weight...I know I feel lighter, but that really may mean light-in-the-head from blood loss.

This Thermacell thing seems to work...We had stopped to eat lunch towards evening and the mosquitoes showed up right away. Jim, our guide, had one and got it going and that seemed to end our problem. Some up there were thinking of ways to hang it around their necks. :)

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
Kschaefer3June 9th, 2014, 10:35 am
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Nice photos and a couple big fish! That 23" is beautiful. I love big colored up northern fish.

Glad you two had a good time. This is further proof that I need to head up there much sooner than later.
WillyJune 9th, 2014, 12:22 pm
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47

Willy,

You'll do fine...The water has come down a great deal since the last week before Memorial Day...The drakes demand attention from these trout and they are coming around.

Just watch closely...The Iso's are just arriving and if you are down on the South and the rise form is rather slashy, they are chasing them...Rusty's Knot works fine, but you may want to float an emerger/nymph through there.


I'm not all that concerned. Even if numbers are down, I'm good at adjusting my expectations. Being able to do that is essential to fishing the Au Sable. A few weeks ago I thought there was no chance that I'd see a Hex fly on my trip, but now I'm thinking there might be a decent chance--though I figure Brown Drakes and Isonychia will provide most of the action. I'm very familiar with those slashy rises. There's a chute on the South Branch that always has Isos popping and fish slashing. I'll be there soon.
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
OldredbarnJune 9th, 2014, 12:26 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
There's a chute on the South Branch that always has Isos popping and fish slashing. I'll be there soon.


Willy,

If its at Spencer's Stoop...You may want to give those fish a couple days! ;)

Have fun!

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 9th, 2014, 8:51 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2469
Well done, boys!! I have to admit I like the honesty of throwing the dinker pics in there, just to keep it real so we don't think they're ALL that big, much as you guys would like us to think...totally envious here too...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnJune 10th, 2014, 4:12 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Well done, boys!! I have to admit I like the honesty of throwing the dinker pics in there, just to keep it real so we don't think they're ALL that big, much as you guys would like us to think...totally envious here too...

Jonathon


Jonathon,

Truth be known, we were thinking about dragging that little one next to a very large log, the fishing was so rough...If they won't eat flies maybe they'll eat baby trout...:) You know I kid...

John brought with him a large bag of wild leeks...My wife is making up some leek/potato soup with them. Yum!

I think that the rivers up your way are trying to turn themselves around. The bigger flies have them looking up a tad more...Your Leptophlebia from your post could be covered nicely by a #14 Borchers.

The beginning of Iso's, to me, is a good thing because I think that the swimming activity of that bug really turns the fish on. Makes them a tad crazy...I'm heading back up just for a weekend float with a couple friends and I'm looking forward to some rising fish.

We got really lucky with that last fish...It turned out to be caught on the very last cast of the evening, for the trip really. I was so afraid we were going to lose that one...Our guide had to hold the boat in the current we were in, I climbed over the beer cooler, grabbed the net, and prayed a little. :) John said that as soon as he raised his rod he knew he was into something with some weight to it.

As he was pulling the fish towards us I thought that this could be a very trying moment. The line was taunt and if the fish had given it one more go I'm not sure what would of happened...I pushed the net into the river and it just seemed to suck him into it. John was happy and a very large weight was lifted from my shoulders!

We had hooked and lost nice fish throughout a trying week of fishing. I was as happy as John I think when I was snapping those pics...The beer sure tasted good later that evening back at the cabin when we re-lived it.

Earlier in the week on the North Branch when I caught that 18" fish, John had caught a 14 and hooked another that flat out broke him off! I would of liked to have seen that one.

The guides we used are long time friends of mine. Earlier in the week we floated the North on a very windy day. It started out with promise with daytime Brown Drake hatchers, but never materialized...My poor friend worked so damn hard to get us to fish...A normal float is 8 hours...John and I stayed out with him for 11! He was so upset he offered me a half-day float for free sometime this summer...I told him no of course, no one can predict when the fish will cooperate or the darn bugs will hatch...I told him that if he ever could do this I'd float with him every damn day! :)

On one of the nights we waded the South, I caught a nice fish that was feeding in a small opening in the over hanging shrubs. There were 3 or 4 nice fish feeding there together. Mr Big had the post right behind some branch sticking up out of the river...The others were living in his shadow.

I think I missed Mr Big and one of the others grabbed my fly and I immediately put pressure to him to keep him away from the scrub...He bolted out of his hole and crossed the river right in front of me and made a left turn and raced toward John who was standing below me and got off...I think that was my fault since I was trying to get him on the reel so I could show off with the squeal of that old Hardy of mine...That will teach me...Maybe. :)

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 10th, 2014, 4:49 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2469
Sure sounds like one helluva trip, especially getting to share it with John. Some day I will have to get off of my "small fish waters" and pony up some cash for a nice float like that - after being well advised on what flies I need to tie up!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TNEALJune 10th, 2014, 5:05 pm
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 277
you are welcome for the drake pattern, Spence. The fishing being down is a common experience this year for the most seasoned of AuSable/Manistee anglers. It's quite likely to continue that way; the prevailing opinion is that we experience considerably higher than normal Winter kill. But fishing is fishing an that's what we do no matter what.


Tight lines,

Tim
OldredbarnJune 10th, 2014, 10:18 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Thanks again Tim! When they are up on Drakes that fly is a no brainer, sir. Like taking candy from a baby. You just need to be able to put it where they live. We had a couple move 3-4 inches away from their safe spot to nab that fly.

I would say that there weren't two other people more responsible for hooked fish on that river than Mr Roberts and Ernie B, but then there's you and your old running buddy JR. :)

My tie is getting better thanks to you, but I'm a few thousand dozen behind you my friend. I better get busy, eh?! :)

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
EntomanJune 11th, 2014, 11:03 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Great fish, John! Hosting too, Spence. Tim's drake? Let's see that pattern, boys!
"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
OldredbarnJune 11th, 2014, 12:38 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Great fish, John! Hosting too, Spence. Tim's drake? Let's see that pattern, boys!


Kurt,

John did some of his own working out of the problem presented to him and attached a fly of his own...Caught a beautiful fish on it, eh?! :) You'll have to talk to him about it. :)

Tim's Drake...Hmmm...Like "Spencer's Stoop" the only way someone gets to see that from me is with me...You'll have to book a flight next year Kurt. :) You could PM Mr Neal and I'm sure he'd be glad to sell you a dozen or two. :) He cranks them out in his sleep.

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
OldredbarnJune 12th, 2014, 11:25 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
I have to admit I like the honesty of throwing the dinker pics in there,


Was wondering if a Dinker counted in terms of "getting the skunk out-of-the-boat"? :)

We have a rule that no beers until a fish is caught and I noticed that there was already one empty Molson sitting there...Did I cheat? ;) That old hippie Spence and the Greatfull Dead fan piloting the boat are prone to breaking a few rules...:)

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
Kschaefer3June 12th, 2014, 12:00 pm
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
I have to admit I like the honesty of throwing the dinker pics in there,


Was wondering if a Dinker counted in terms of "getting the skunk out-of-the-boat"? :)

We have a rule that no beers until a fish is caught and I noticed that there was already one empty Molson sitting there...Did I cheat? ;) That old hippie Spence and the Greatfull Dead fan piloting the boat are prone to breaking a few rules...:)

Spence

Even a chub counts as breaking a skunk when applied to the "no beers until fish" rule. Any other time, a chub doesn't count for sh*t. :)
OldredbarnJune 12th, 2014, 12:20 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Kyle,

Thanks for the ruling. I shall take it as gospel knowing that you Minny-sot-tans know a thing or two about beer. :)

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
PaulRobertsJune 12th, 2014, 10:00 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Looks like a wonderful trip. Absolutely love that 1st boat image. Congrats on your big one too, John! Was that a night time dry fly fish??
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