We are finally getting to my favorite time of the Summer – chasing Big Browns in the dark! Its kind of a slow start into darkness now. This time of year with lots of good late evening hatches (sulphurs, march browns, grey drakes, yellow cahill) spinner falls start coming later with more heat. Currently this week we have been working rising trout into total darkness. After these spinner falls (about 10:30-11pm) its a great time to break out the mouse patterns and start slow stripping them.
Heat wave is coming next week and so is June – this means big Mayflies on the Au Sable and Drakes! Brown Drakes, Isonychia and Hex will be here very soon. Depending weather we can get a few of these bugs to hatch in day light but mostly its night time dry fly fishing for Big Browns. Hex is typically end of first week in June (warmer sections of the Au Sable and other warmer trout streams in Northern MI) and last till middle of July in our colder trout streams. My plan is typically 6 weeks of hex by fishing 5 rivers from warm to cold.
Many in July seem ready to hang up the night time fly fishing as hatches will start to fade in some of the most popular trout water. For me its just getting going! Not uncommon to see hex till end of july on some streams and its prime time to mouse. Often spinner falls are not as heavy but this can be a good thing as trout are always keyed in on them. Now we are into Prime Time mousing! A few big bugs just after dark and then its mousing till dawn! Seems like our best bite is 11pm till 1am but it can produce a giant at any time of the night. The one thing I love about mousing is it isn’t bug depended. With no hatch Big Browns are out looking for good meal. July and August are the best months for mousing here in Northern Michigan. Only times to avoid is on the full moon. Super bright nights are sure not the best. At times it still works with cloud cover or in tight rivers with shade from moon. Here are some dark periods where moon phase is ideal: July 10-26 and August 8-24.