Guided Drift Boat Fly-Fishing on the Au Sable River

Au Sable River imageFly fish the “Trophy Waters” on Michigan’s famed
Au Sable River
John Palacios
Fly Fishing Guide, Commercial Fly Tyer

Beginners are welcome, Bait fisherman are not

Cast streamers, nymphs or dry flies to large brown, rainbow and the occasional brook trout in the heart of Huron National Forest.


No cell phones, No alcohol, No barbed hooks...

Stream Rainbow imageOr the World according to John

I have been fly fishing, and fly tying, for about 35 years. I taught myself to fly fish in central Indiana in the 1970’s. Not exactly a fly angler’s paradise. Despite the odds, I fell in love with fly fishing. After I moved to Michigan and explored some of the unique angling opportunities that this beautiful State provides my connection with fly fishing grew.

I have recently begun river guiding as I want to share my knowledge and love of the sport with others. A great day on the river is one of life’s most cherished experiences and, every day on the river is a good day.

While I have much to share, I know that I also have a lot to learn. Humility is indeed a large part of fly angling. I like to develop a dialog with my clients and tailor your trip to your needs. If you want to fish with dries, nymphs or streamers, that’s your choice and I’m good with it. My role is to provide knowledge, support, equipment, and encouragement. Its your vacation, I’ll do my best to make sure that you enjoy it.

Hyde Dirft Boat imageEquipment

Like most fly fishers, I like toys –  especially really nice ones. I believe that my clients should fish with some of the best equipment available. That’s why I use a Hyde LH series aluminum drift boat and Orvis rods, reels, and fly lines. All rods are selected by me to provide the most enjoyable experience for my clients whether they be beginner or advanced anglers. I currently use Zero-gravity, T-3, Superfine, and TLS rods in 4 through 7 weights. This comprehensive selection of rods will cast everything from small dries to the large wind resistant streamers that the big browns attack with a vengeance.

As I’m also a commercial fly tyer, I tie all of the flies used on my guided trips . My fly selection runs the gamut from #22 Tricos to large gaudy streamers. All flies are tied on barbless or debarbed hooks.
You are welcome to use your own flies and equipment, the choice is yours!

AuSable annotated map image The Water

The “Trophy Water” of Michigan’s Au Sable river flows downstream from the hamlet of Mio to the 4001 Bridge. This 24 mile stretch is divided into 3 somewhat equal sections. The river here is large by Midwest standards stretching from 100’ to over 250’ wide. The depth ranges from 6” gravel flats to holes that you could lose a pick-up truck in. Downstream, the river takes on a Western appearance with a steeper gradient, large boat-eating rocks, and equally large, aggressive trout. The vast majority of the trout are stocked as recruitment past 2 years is rare.

Location, Location, Location…

The wee burg of Mio is located in Northern Lower Michigan some 3.5 hours drive time from Detroit. Follow I-75 north to exit 202 which is M-33. Go north for about 36 miles, drive thru Mio and go thru the intersection of M-33 and M-32. At the bottom of the hill to the right (east) is the boat launch that I use as a base for my trips. From here all access points on the river are easily reached via paved county roads.

Commins Flats SunsetThe Particulars

Food. The shore lunches that I prepare are designed with the weather and your dietary needs and preferences in mind. A shore lunch should be nutritious without being overly filling, the wily angler must have the energy to continue without feeling “stuffed”. I do not serve alcohol as booze and fly fishing are an ugly mix.

Dates. I prefer to fish during the week as canoe traffic on the river is very heavy on the weekends. Thursday or Friday are preferable, my schedule is flexible.

What you need. All clients must possess a valid Michigan Fishing License. Polarized sunglasses and a good shade hat are a must. Sensible clothing for the weather will keep you very comfortable. A relaxed positive attitude is key to a great day on the river.

Rates. $325.00 for a full day trip for two people with a shore lunch. $295.00 as above without food. Contact me concerning half day trips and single angler trips. Please no children under 13.

© 2008 Palacios Design Studio
Home - Fly Catalog - Guide Services - Videos - About - Order Info - Contact Me