Wet Flies on the Au Sable River

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Wet Flies on the Au Sable River

Post by joaniebo » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:30 am

I posted this on the "Classic Rod Forum" but think that some here might also be interested in what I recently experienced while fishing Michigan's Au Sable River this past week:

"This past Tuesday - Saturday, a friend and I fished various parts of the Au Sable River in Michigan. Nope, didn't fish the Brown Drake hatch at night as we had enough trouble wading the Au Sable's currents during the day!

Tried a bunch of different dries, nymphs and soft hackles before discovering that only four soft hackled dressings worked for every trout that I caught during those four days.

Namely, my versions of a Red A_ _ and what I call an Egg Laying Caddis, both tied the same way on size 12 and 14 Daiichi 1550 hooks; with red or lime green thread for the head and butt (part way down the hook curve); peacock herl body; gold wire rib; and a partridge hackle.

The other two dressings were a Hare's Ear soft hackle, also tied on Daiichi size 12 and 14 hooks; orange or red thread at the head; natural (light) hare's ear body; gold wire rib; and a partridge hackle PLUS, surprisingly, Edmonds' and Lee's #8b - March Brown, tied as stated in Brook and River Trouting with snipe rump hackles for the hackle and tails!

All four dressings were fished the same way with the peacock bodied flies fished with the Red A _ _ tied as a dropper with the Egg Laying Caddis as the point fly approx. 18" - 24" apart. Same thing with the Hare's Ear as the dropper and the E & L March Brown as the point fly.

On Friday afternoon, in a little over 2 hours, we fished a section of the Au Sable known as "Stephan Bridge" within 50 yards up & downstream from the canoe landing (and in between canoeists and kayakers floating by).

While fishing down and across with the Hare's Ear and March Browns as dropper and point flies, I ended up with several "long releases" plus C&R'd a total of twelve trout including Browns, Brookies and even one Rainbow - a trifecta!

Twice, I caught two fish at the same time, the first time being two Brookies on both the dropper and point flies and a few minutes later, caught two Browns, also on the dropper and point flies.

Although I don't have any pictures of these events, what was interesting was that as I was fishing down and across (with a cane rod) I noticed that some of the canoeists and fly fishers had gathered at the canoe landing and were watching this OLD guy swinging flies down and across with a cane rod. Must have been an oddity to them as most of the fly fishers I saw on the Au Sable were fishing dry flies upstream!


PS - If any of you are fishing the Au Sable and find a wide, black Orvis wading belt with a LL Bean canteen, please let me know as mine dropped and floated down stream!"
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Re: Wet Flies on the Au Sable River

Post by tie2fish » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:48 am

Very nice report, Bob. Just goes to show that soft hackles still do catch the fish. Too bad about the belt though.
Some of the same morons who throw their trash around in National parks also vote. That alone would explain the state of American politics. ~ John Gierach, "Still Life with Brook Trout"
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Re: Wet Flies on the Au Sable River

Post by hankaye » Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:27 pm

joaniebo, Howdy;

Bob, thanks for the report, sounds like there are still a few of the younger crowd that will
take notice that them older folks "Know Stuff". Just wonder how they'll go about adapting
their present style (?), to what works.

Sorry about the belt and canteen, don't think they'll show up down here but I'll keep an eye out
just in case.

Striving for a less complicated life since 1949...
"Every day I beat my own previous record for number
of consecutive days I've stayed alive." George Carlin
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Re: Wet Flies on the Au Sable River

Post by letumgo » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:13 pm


Excellent report. I enjoyed reading about your fishing trip, and the success you had with soft hackles. I'm really happy for you. It is very cool that you managed a trifecta. Bravo!

Thanks for the report. ;)

PS - Sorry for the late reply. I was away on travel, and am just now getting caught up on the forum.
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Re: Wet Flies on the Au Sable River

Post by MIflyguy » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:43 pm

I enjoyed reading your review on the AuSable. I fish it regularly and have a cabin off of Stephan Bridge Road. Sorry to hear about your loss, hope it turns up.

This is my first year fishing soft hackles, and there is no turning back. Like Nemes wrote, I am a soft hackled addict.
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