While on a driving tour along the Au Sable River, Hannah Agran, Midwest Living assistant travel editor and Michigan Travel Ideas contributor, spends the night at the North Branch Outing Club near Grayling and tries her hand at fly fishing.
My husband Juan and I are somewhere north of Grayling, our cell signal fading, the sky darkening. If my printed directions fail us, who we will ask for help? Before I can answer, we see a rambling old place with a welcoming porch and warm glow from the windows. Judy Fuller pushes open the screen door to meet us.
This past week found me waiting for nightfall along the banks of the Au Sable river. This is arguably the best, or close to the best, trout stream in our grand state. This time of year and for at least the next week or so anglers from around the Midwest and the world will be traveling to our northern rivers to chase of all things – bugs. That’s right the Hex hatch is basically the time of the year when may flies hatch, breed, deposit their eggs and die. All this flurry of activity happens just after dark and that is when the big trout rise to dine on these huge bugs. Anglers will wait until dark and when they hear the sound of trout rising to eat they will present their offerings along with the floating bugs and hope that the rising trout will pick their fly and not the real one that it most likely is floating next to.
The Hex hatch is quite a thing, and since it happens from about 10:30pm and on through the night, you better be ready to be a little tired the next day. I stopped in the Old Au Sable fly shop in Grayling the next morning and found one tired angler behind the desk sipping his coffee. Anglers would role in all morning long talking about the fish that got away, and a few with pictures of the ones that made it to the net. This time of the year is very special for fly fisherman it’s the equivalent to the rut for deer hunters. This is the time of year when big trout will make themselves available, even if it is in the pitch dark at 1am.
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Jimmy Gretzinger is the executive producer and an on-air host on Michigan Out-of-Doors TV