We fished the Ausable River one of the top 10 rivers in the USA on most lists, it is at least one the most historic, with the origins of Trout Unlimited tied back to its headwaters in Grayling, Michigan. Browns were the target species with these fish being eager at aggressive as young 12" and smaller fish and the old big boys being super selective and weary in the 18" - 24" pig range.
With my work week ending and a long weekend upon us Mother Nature tried to send us a message, Northern Michigan received 5 inches of rain the day before. The rivers in Michigan are typically very low gradient and often have multiple dams on them, usually allowing for one day of decent fishing before an onslaught of chocolate milk.
We hit the river Friday late morning with a little bit of color in the river but mostly just the color of weak tea, which is totally normal. The Hendricks we're around and fish were rising and several small trout fell to them, with a change of tactics that afternoon produced a couple fish over 12" and one beauty at about 18-19" this fish had character, it acted as if it was auditioning to be a dolphin at Sea World, launching from the river, somersaulting and tail dancing like a 8" cutthroat would. After landing that fish I was more than happy to row the rest of the weekend as I had got my two hour fix.
The next day had me rowing for a family friend and my dad for a couple hours. Taking Jim and dad was a joy, dad took care of his own needs and I helped Jim understand nymphing in chocolate milk. Both of them caught trout that morning but it was cold and 4 hours in we changed out the passengers with my brother meeting us at the midpoint in the float and my morning passengers heading for warmer / drier locales.
We again changed tactics up and rounded a corner in the river, Bryan made a cast that deserved to be rewarded and in turn it was. The rod bent deep into the lower section the line peeled off the reel as it sung to life, his eyes widened to the size of golf balls there was no doubt he had a pig on the other end of the line. This fish never broke the surface it would come up and porpoise but never went airborne; I knew he had the biggest fish he ever hooked on the end of the line. Now if he could only keep his cool and not screw it up.
Anchoring the boat I slipped out with the net, Bryan had not seen this fish yet, as I moved below the fish it broke the surface. "Craig don't worry if we lose it I saw it I know how big it is", I called BS (it was more colorful than this but it’s a family blog) on this and about 30 seconds later the fish was in the net and the hook was just about straightened. The fish of his life so far, the net was 21" tip to tail and this fish easily had another inch on the net, I'll call it a solid 22".
I was happy my brother beat me as he put it , as we all won this weekend. While it’s not related to Washington I'm sharing it just the same as this is one of the many reasons I fish, the memories and times you share with either family, friends or new friends, they are priceless.
We look forward to creating some memories with you in the future, drop us a line if you are interested in a trip we are back in the rowers seat again!
Tight loops and lines!