Au Sable River Fishing Report

Referred to locally as the mainstream, the Au Sable wears the triple crown of fly fishing. The state classifies it as a Natural River and a Blue Ribbon Trout Stream, while it also boasts the rare distinction of being a federal Wild and Scenic River. First brought to international fame in the early 1900’s for its abundant supply of Artic grayling, the river acquired the Holy Waters acronym. Unfortunately, the grayling died out years ago, its habitat destroyed by the timber industry, but browns, rainbows and brooks live on.

Cooled by a plethora of fresh streams and the shade of dense forests, the Au Sable   is considered one of the finest trout fisheries east of the Mississippi. The 9-mile section from Burton’s Landing to Wakely Bridge, aptly called the Holy Waters, is managed by the state as fly fish only/catch and release only. Easily waded, this stretch is also renowned for its impressive hatches and exceptionally large fish. The river between Mio Pond between Alcona Pond, has been designated as a National Wild and Scenic River since 1984.

Downstream from Wakely Bridge to Mio Pond the river widens out yielding more pools and fewer runs. The 23-mile stretch from Mio (approximately 30 miles below Grayling) to McKinley, is designated as Trophy Water and is famous for its 24+inch fish. Here parts of the river can be waded close to shore, but most experienced anglers prefer to use a drift boat or an Au Sable River craft. Unique to the area with a history going back over 100 years, these boats are long, wooden, flat-bottom skiffs that are both elegant and functional.

Steelhead season starts in March with the best fishing in April. Approximately half of these fish are hatchery planted and are marked by a clipped fin with the remainder coming in from Lake Huron. Salmon spawning begins in November, making it possible to catch steelhead below the beds on egg patterns below the Foote Dam.
Additional Information
North, South and East Branches of Au Sable
Confluence of Kolke and Bradford Creeks
Lake Huron
140 miles
Seasonal Conditions
SpringBWO, Red Quill, Sulfur Dun, Hendricksons, Midges, Minnows, Sculpin
SummerTrico, Mahogany Dun, Caddis, Hex, Giant Stone, Terrestrials, Midges, BWO
FallMahogany Dun, Caddis, Terrestrials, Midges, Minnows, Sculpin, BWO
Game Fish Opportunities
Current Forecast
Water Flow
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Fishing Quality
Water quality

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