This amazing weather has all of us either on the water chasing trout and steelies, or wishing that we were. I spent Wednesday afternoon and evening over on the Au Sable and can report that the bugs are making a stronger appearance. It’s the Usual Suspects for this time of the year — the early bugs: little black stoneflies, black caddis, and BWOs. There are signs of life both on the water and under the water.

As for the water itself, we need some rain. The river is running low and clear for this time of year, and the woods are very dry. In fact, watch those cigars if you’re out there — it would only take a moment of carelessness to take out a huge chunk of the forest in a wildfire.

Even the South Branch of the Au Sable is easy to navigate in waders. The North Branch is unusually low, too, for this time of year. I can’t remember the start of season quite like this.

Despite the trickle of bugs, you’re still best advised to be looking to your streamer boxes for help in catching Mr. Big Trout. Be patient and be prepared to cover some water, if you’re going to find an eater.

Despite the fact that Opening Day is still weeks away, keep in mind that the flies-only water on Manistee is available to you — the run for M-72 bridge to the CCC, which of course includes lots of good spots including the Yellowtrees Landing area.

The DNR fishing report for major Michigan waterways is available here.