The coffee was still steaming hot in my tin cup as I looked out across the awakening river. Across the calm but swiftly moving rapids of the dark waters, I took notice that the sun was starting to burn off the fog in the meadow.
I was alone.
I studied the water.
I zeroed in on a couple dark shadows that moved slightly behind a submerged log.
Olive Wooly Bugger or go dry with a Royal Wulf? Those were my only thoughts.
I slowly tiptoed into the river and felt the icy -yet comforting – feel of the dark water stinging my legs through my waders.
Dagnabbit! Spooked em. Nada as both shadows quickly darted away from me. This was the same story that would happen for the rest of my day.
Welcome to the Au Sable River, Marc. There is a reason its called the “The Holy Waters.” These are some pretty finicky fish and they are not easily fooled by a less than graceful fly cast.
The Holy Waters. This is the place where a bunch of fishing buddies back in the 1950’s conspired to protect their love of trout fishing and committed themselves to the protection of cold water fisheries – hence the creation of Trout Unlimited.
While upset that I didn’t catch anything that day, I was simply glad that I was able to share the water with these special trout. The ability to continue to enjoy and fish the Holy Waters just got some great news.
If you haven’t heard, in September, an energy company (Savoy) withdrew its application to drill for oil and gas directly underneath the Au Sable River. This victory is the end of a long and drawn out legal fight dating way back to 2003.
Savoy’s decision to withdraw its application is the result of an enormous effort led by the Anglers of the Au Sable, thousands of people from Michigan, and the hard work of the Holy Waters most ardent conservationist, the late Rusty Gates.
A great public treasure wards off yet another threat…for now.
Being strictly selfish, this decision allows me to continue to be skunked out on the Holy Waters.
I am cool with that. At least this river remains Holy.