To veteran fishers of the Au Sable taking the 70 Degree Pledge has become a regular occurrence, which varies in necessity based on the summer heat.
The idea is a simple one: if the river water temperature is 70 degrees or more for an extended time then catch-and-release for trout is impractical. Salmonids, especially rainbow and brook trout, cannot handle the stress of being hooked, fought, and handled so the mortality rates skyrocket. More information of this dynamic, including supporting research, can be found at http://www.70degreepledge.org/ – an AOTA sanctioned website.
So each year as we approach those Dog Days, Anglers makes a point of reminded fishers about this important practice. If we want catch-and-release to remain a viable practice then we must do it properly. Taking the 70 Degree Pledge is part of that effort. So start checking these two websites through early September:
Taking care of a world-class trout fishery includes all matters of commitment from court cases to cleanups to simple common sense. Following the 70 Pledge and the suggestions from Catch-N-Release.Org are two cost effective methods for nurturing the fishery in the river we all love.
A number of dedicated river conservationists have gotten together to form the “Fish Farm Fight Flotilla” . This is your chance for you and a friend to enjoy a great day on the river, make some new friends, enjoy a great streamside meal (maybe even an adult beverage might show up) and help us in our fight. All this for $500!
Here’s how it works:
Read about each of our “guides” (bios are below), figure out which one you would like to float with, and give him a call. Because these guys are volunteers, we can’t ask them to do too many trips, so if you are interested, please make your reservations early so as to not be shut out. The two of you will arrange a date, and plan to meet at Gates Lodge. At the Lodge, you will be given a box of flies chosen for that day’s hatches, get a couple high quality cigars donated by Nolan’s Tobacconists in TC, and head for the River. Oh – and if you are planning on being in Livingston, MT this summer, Dan Drislane, a founding member of the Anglers, will take you out. No stopping at Gates for this one!
At the end of your trip you will be brought back to the Lodge.
We hope you will consider this unique opportunity to have a great day on the river and also help out the Anglers of the Au Sable.
John Dallas 248-705-0239
Hi! I’m John Dallas, an old Ford retiree. Have had a place on the North Branch for 25 years. Am an Anglers Board member, and Chair of Headwaters Land Conservancy.
My passions are my wife of 48 years, the River, fly fishing, shotgunning, gun dogs, duck hunting and decoy carving. I have a well-maintained Gary Willoughby riverboat.
I teach fly fishing at the TU adult and youth camps, as well as help out at Reeling and Healing – a get-together for women with cancer. I can’t guarantee that we will catch fish on your trip, but I can promise one of the best shore lunches ever.
Gary Neumann 989-348-9848
I live on the North Branch of the Au Sable near Lovells, MI. Currently I’m in my fourth career; I am the Supervisor of Lovells Township. Career one was as a USMC helicopter pilot from ’68 – ’90 and number two was a start up gift catalog operation for fly fishers that is now called The Rogue Angler. Number three was a 20 year stint as a computer war-gamer for Northrop Grumman Corp.
Because my father Art was an ardent fly fisher as well as a founding father of Trout Unlimited, I was introduced to fly fishing for trout at a very young age. So it has been my primary past time for nearly 65 years. I also enjoy hunting, volunteering as a board member of the North Branch Area Foundation plus easement monitoring for Headwaters Land Conservancy, and power walking.
I am the lucky owner of an Au Sable riverboat built by my dear friend Doug Nagel. Alternatively, a wading trip is always an option. If your schedule is somewhat flexible we may be able to hit one of the Au Sable’s famous mayfly hatches, like the Brown Drake or Michigan Caddis. Of course, there are no guarantees on the number or size of trout we may encounter, but an enjoyable time on the river is a sure bet!
Dave Tatman 270-349-2355
Hi, I’m Dave Tatman from Bowling Green, Kentucky. You might say what’s a good old boy from Kentucky doing offering a river boat trip on the AuSable? Well, I retired from GM about two years ago, and my last assignment was as the Plant Manager of the Corvette Plant here in Bowling Green where I was part of launching the all new Corvette Stingray.
But I’ve been fishing the AuSable for 25 years and still get up there for about two to three weeks every year. I’m a proud long time member of the OxBow Club on the South Branch and a life member of TU. Based on your choice, I have two drift boats. One is a classic Hyde Combination that provides a great float, chucking streamers on the big water or chasing steelies or salmon. My other boat is an AuSable River Boat that was lovingly built from scratch by myself and two other buddies. I still shake my head when I see her on the water, she’s so pretty. Besides fishing, I love upland bird hunting, so I’ve tromped many of the tag alder thickets and hardwood flats around Crawford County in search of grouse and woodcock.
I might present some challenges in scheduling since I live eleven hours away, but I’m game if you are. John has promised the best shore lunch ever on his boat. I’ll guarantee a good shore lunch, but I can talk Corvette or college football all day long, if you want!
Glen Eberly 989-348-3084
I’m Glen Eberly: old hockey player (played back when the puck was square) and retired sales and marketing exec. for a Fortune 500 auto supplier. My wife, Martha, of 53 years (a very delightful and most tolerant woman) and I spend most of our time at our cabin on Shupac Lake in Lovells with our little English Setter, Lucy, a fine bird dog. But, I can be frequently found plying the pristine waters of our magnificent Au Sable Watershed in my cedar plank Au Sable riverboat, a beautiful craft that was the Mason-Griffith TU raffle boat a few years back and lovingly built by Billy Lowes and decorated by his wife Cheryl.
Love at first splash! While living in Chicago, I was introduced to the Au Sable North Branch in 1971 by a good friend when he invited me to join him for a fishing weekend at his father-in-law’s cabin above Flashlight Bend. We were transferred to Detroit in 1977 and as soon as most of the boxes were unpacked at our new home in Bloomfield Hills we made a bee line to the Lovells area and found the wonderful trout stream I remembered.
We built our cabin in 1990 and have become very involved in the Lovells community. While Martha is a board member and secretary of HeadWaters Land Conservancy, I am a board member of the Lovells Township Historical Society, current chair of the Au Sable North Branch Area Foundation, member of the Anglers of the Au Sable Environment Committee, and a fly casting instructor at a TU school. I love fly fishing, tying flies, bird hunting and finding (and devouring) morels. Shore lunch steaks might even be topped with some of these delightful morsels.
I may not be able to point you to exactly where those 20 inch browns (Fred, Rupert and Otto) are lurking but I’ll float you over them and arm you with some of Rusty Gates’ favorite fly patterns while sharing historic stories of famous guides, lodges and Au Sable lore.
Ah, as an option and in an effort to be creative and make money for Anglers, we offer an evening cocktail cruise on Shupac Lake for 6 people on our 25 foot pontoon boat. We provide the wine, fine hors d’oeuvres and hopefully a special opportunity to witness a loon family frolic and feed the little ones almost up close and personal.
Terry Lyons 517-242-2052
Terry and his wife Gina are retired. They (along with their two setters) spend their time at their rustic cabin in Lovells, Perry, Michigan and Port Aransas, Texas. He is a Founding Director of the Anglers and has served as a leader of other flyfishing organizations. He is currently the Habitat Committee Chairman for the Anglers and serves on several DNR advisory committees.
Terry has fished the AuSable River system for over forty years. His favorite place to fish depends on the time of year. In addition to the AuSable, Terry and Gina also like to fish the mountain west and the saltwater flats of Texas. If it weren’t for his fall hunting addiction they would likely head south right after the white flies.
They are offering a trip for one or two anglers anywhere that is appropriate for a traditional wooden drift boat. This trip can be scheduled any time from May until September 15.
Bruce Pregler 586-381-8406
I’m a partner in the law firm of Facca, Richter & Pregler, P.C., where he specializes in construction, real estate and commercial litigation for the last 28 years. Bruce earned a BA from Michigan State University (1982) and a JD from Detroit College of Law (1986). He is a former law clerk to the Hon. Frederick Ziem – Oakland Circuit Court, past Chairman of the Board for the Construction Association of Michigan, and a current Board Member of the Carpenters Construction Industry Advancement Fund and the Construction Federal Credit Union.
Bruce grew up in a fishing family spending summers at his grandparent’s cabin in northern Minnesota pursuing bass and northerns. The family moved all over the country eventually ending up in Michigan. Bruce picked up fly fishing over the years and became so enamored with it that he looked for a place of his own on a trout stream. He was fortunate enough to come upon fly tier extraordinaire Chauncy Lively’s (former Anglers Board Member) cabin and purchased it. Bruce, his wife Debra and daughter Anna have been on the North Branch since 2000 enjoying the peace and tranquility of the river.
Bruce has been actively volunteering time to protect the Au Sable River and its watershed. He is past president of the Anglers, co-counsel in the Anglers lawsuit to halt oil and gas drilling by Savoy Energy within the Mason Tract, given speeches about the Mason Tract, Kolke Creek and fracking, and participates in fund raising activities for the Anglers. Bruce is also a former Board member of the Au Sable North Branch Area Association, past president of the Au Sable-Manistee Action Council, Current board member of the CAM Sporting Clay Committee and FFF Member. The annual river clean up organized by Rusty Gates and the Anglers has become a family tradition for Bruce, wife Debra and daughter Anna.
John Bebow 734-474-0166
I’m an avid angler, Anglers of the Au Sable board member, and writer whose chicken scratch about fly fishing has been published in The Drake Magazine, TU’s national Trout Magazine and regularly in the Riverwatch.
Bebow fly fishes all over Michigan for trout, steelhead and smallmouth bass and occasionally breaks away for fishing adventures in the western United States, the bayous of Louisiana, and Patagonia.
He’s the Sergeant-at-Arms-Length of Pirate’s Rest, a fly fishing camp owned by numerous characters on Big Creek not far from Kellogg’s Bridge. He loves to chase all hatches on all branches of the Au Sable and previously owned Flies & Lies Lodge on the Upper Manistee where he learned the daytime and nighttime secrets of the sister river. He also loves to chase smallmouth on the lower Au Sable. But, most of all, he enjoys chasing whopper trout with gurglers and mice in the middle of the night.
Bebow is glad to share any of these fishy pursuits while cooking dinner in the drifter and telling a variety of truths and lies with Anglers of the Au Sable donors.
John could be talked into any of the following after 7/15:
1) A full-day float with hot meal and beverages.
2) Full-day float with kitchen cooked meal and campfire at Pirate Camp.
3) A half-day float, meal, and nine holes of golf if a client wants to mix it up.
4) Or, for the particularly adventurous, an all-night float if someone wants to learn night fishing by boat and/or by foot.
Dan Drislane 248-207-9020
Like Glen Eberly, I am an old hockey player (but my pucks were round), so I am not offering to take you out on the ice. I grew up in upstate New York where my first home waters were the Battenkill and the Poestenkill. A career move brought me to Michigan in 1984, where I spent the next 20 years (despite a lot of work travel). During that time, in September 1986, Rusty Gates invited Ed McGlinn, myself and three others to meet in Mary’s Hungry Fisherman Dining Room at Gates and put together the first steps to forming the Anglers the following January. The rest is well known history and why you’re reading this today. In 2004, a long yearning to not be the top predator in my haunts obliged me to move to Paradise Valley, just south of Livingston, Montana. I’ve been here since, with my home looking up at Emigrant Peak and over the Yellowstone about a half mile as the ravens fly. I humbly offer a full-day float trip aboard my fairly new 16-foot low profile Clackacraft drift boat for two anglers who can come fully geared up (licenses, waders, rods, reels, some flies). You should plan on your own ground transportation to my home, either from a local airport (Bozeman or Billings) or if you’re huffing it from Michigan. Dates are flexible and as any experienced western angler knows, they need to be owing to weather, wind, water clarity and time of year. The river we’ll fish also must be flexible—we may want to fish the Yellowstone, but all of the aforementioned may dictate we get in the truck and head to the Missouri or the Madison. I offer a fully outfitted lunch with soft beverages. All other costs associated with the float (shuttles, gas, etc.) are paid for. I also offer two guest rooms in my home, each with their own full bath for the evening before and the evening of the float. If you would like to do your own thing, Chico Hot Springs Resort is just a 10-minute drive from my home. If we must or choose to travel and stay at another river, please plan on paying your own board and off-river meals. My offer is for any time in the June – September season, either in 2016 or 2017. Birdhunters who book a September float may just be able to tag along with my three French Brittanys the day after, schedule permitting, to look for Hungarian partridge and/or sharp-tailed grouse. Winners of this float should contact me as soon as convenient so we can plan and I can send a packing list and any other helpful info.
I’ve been enjoying fly fishing for trout ever since a friend of mine took me to opening day in 1968 on the North Branch. That led to buying a place on the main branch, working & guiding at the Fly Factory, & buying a river boat. Another benefit of flyfishing is meeting people that were well versed in birding, thus making me into a semi nerderbirder. I can’t guarantee you fish, but hopefully an enjoyable trip you will never forget. I’m retired and that makes me available for almost any time. I enjoy taking beginners, kids, spouses, and non fishing people along for the ride. One more thing, my nick name is Dunkin Dan, bring waders.
Robb Smith (989-233-1922)
Greetings, I’m a semi-retired electrical construction estimator, project designer and manager, and a proud graduate of the University of Michigan. In my spare time I am the acting Treasurer and immediate past Chairman of Michigan Trout Unlimited and have recently joined the board of Head Waters Land Conservancy.
Chrissy, my wife of 45 years, and I have a couple of rustic log cabins on the Big Creek north of Brown Cabin Road in Luzerne. We spend as much time as possible enjoying our little paradise, the creek and the continuous process of restoring old cabins.
Along with some great helpers, I built a Hankinson style wood drift boat and ply the big waters from McMasters to Alcona Pond. I’ve become a streamer junkie but still love to chase Hennies, Brown Drakes, Iso’s and Ephrons in those same waters. A great day on the river would consist of floating late afternoon, cooking a shore dinner, setting up for a hatch or spinner fall and most of all floating out under the stars. Or, if you would like we can pitch big streamers to the “big brown wolves” this fall. By the way, in the process we might catch some good trout and share some great conversation.
I’d love to help the Anglers beat the ominous threat of the Grayling fish farm and take you fishing on some the most beautiful waters anywhere. Let’s set a date!