A Week In Michigan

I recently returned from a week long trip to Michigan to fish the Ausable river system and I have to say that despite poor fishing all week I had a great time. My father invited me up there about a month ago and I was a little hesitant at first because I had other trips I wanted to save my time off for but how often do I get to go on a fly fishing trip with my old man, that coupled with the fact that its a river I have wanted to fish for years and it didn't take a whole lot of convincing.
We pulled into Grayling, Michigan on Monday afternoon and made our first stop at the Old Ausable Fly Shop right in town. I was impressed by their store as it was well stocked and the staff was extremely helpful. We picked up a few flies and a license and headed out to the lodge about a half hour away.

When we arrived at Bear Creek Lodge we were both totally surprised by how awesome it was. Some friends of ours had rented the place out for the week and there ended up being a total of nine of us staying there. They crew there for the week were some awesome guys and gals and I'm glad I had the chance to spend time with all of them. A little fun fact, I guess the place used to be a brothel back in the logging days and you could totally believe it based on the layout.
The living area in Bear Creek Lodge

The crew sitting down to an awesome dinner the girls cooked up
The first night there my dad and I decided to pop down to Bear Creek right behind the lodge for an hour or two of fishing and despite getting torn up by mosquito's we managed a few brookies which turned out to be quite a lot of fun on my Swift Epic Fiberglass rod
Bear Creek Brookie on the Swift
The next couple of days were a blur, my father and I fished morning and evening on both the North and South branches of the river. The water here is beautiful and every place you look seems like it could hold a monster trout. We got into some good hatches too but the fish just were not responding to them very well. We made the best of what we could and fished happily all over the place gladly accepting recommendations from friends and the good folks at Gates Ausable Lodge. We put a few fish together here and there but it wasn't until we met up with a friend on Wednesday that we had good fishing.

A nice South Branch Brookie
My old man working a run on the South Branch
Wednesday afternoon we stopped into Fuller's North Branch Outing Club, a place I have always wanted to visit and met up with a nice guy names Chris Lessway. We were looking for a guide to float with for Thursday and after working things out we got some recommendations for that evening. We fished where Chris suggested and my father and I both got into a nice brown each, although his was bigger but don't tell him.
A blurry shot of my dad pulling in a nice little brown trout from the North Branch
On Thursday afternoon after spending the day relaxing, visiting fly shops and trying to get a picture of the damn hummingbird on the back porch we met up with Chris and put the boat in right behind the lodge. Chris turned out to be a great guide as he patiently pulled all my flies out of trees and worked the boat around to get us into position. At around eight o clock we finally started to see some bugs and we set up shop in a nice long run to work some rising fish. We both got into some brookies and my dad managed a nice brown while I landed a six incher. Chris poled us downriver a little ways where we found a few more fish and I managed to break off a nice fish on the the hookset and my dad landed a very cool fish in a logjam. I highly recommend Chris to anybody heading out that way and I can see myself making another trip downriver in his boat.

Finally got that damn hummingbird picture
My dad with a nice brown

A good Brown Drake hatch on the North Branch

Chris unhooking a fish for my old man

My dad getting ready to release a nice brown

On Friday my dad and I decided to fish the "Holy Waters" of the Main Stem because we hadn't fished it yet and we didn't do very well there but it was some beautiful water and from what I gathered talking to other angler's during the week everyone else was having a hard time too. In the end it was a great trip and I am looking forward to going back again soon!

A beautiful pool on the main stem

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  1. awsome trip Matty, even better that you got to spend it with your Dad, the fish were a bonus at that point.

  2. I got completely skunked on my last michigan fishing trip. Of all the guys I ran into, there was only one fish claimed. I'm heading there for a long weekend of bass fishing in Magician Lake this weekend. My dad's been there for a few days, he says the fishing hasn't been great so far.

  3. A week's long fly fishing trip sounds like a dream to me! Nice company and memories for the both of you. Very cool. Mike