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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just a couple of questions regarding floating the Ausable in the winter.
Are any launches below Foote dam plowed?
Are winter water levels typically deep enough to allow safe travel upstream in a 14' with an outboard?
How about canoeing? I have a 15' with a transom and a small outboard as well that I'm thinking about motoring up and floating down with. What would be a reasonable launch point if there is lots of snow that would make launching otherwise difficult?

I'm not really familiar with the AS so any insight from those who know it better is greatly appreciated!!
Thanks in advance.
 

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The launch about a half mile below the Foote on Rea Rd. should be usable.
The local guys will chime in and let you know.
 

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Theres only two that really you want to launch from to fish rea rd and whirlpool and they should both be plowed

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Rea rd is the furthest upstream and is NOT plowed during the winter, nor is Foote dam itself. The Whirlpool is mid-river, and is usually plowed. Watch the landing though, as it's icy and gets SLICK.

The river has plenty of depth, with several holes 15-20' deep. The thing to watch hard for, are deadheads and trees. The AS is FULL of wood. It is NO WAKE from Foote dam downstream to the pierheads and you are wise to adhere to that regulation. There's about 6" of snow from what I've heard...good luck.
 

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The Whirlpool is plowed sporadically, at best. Rea Rd launch doesn't get plowed at all. You can drag a small boat across snow to launch, tho. I'd be extra careful in a canoe in winter. They are tippier than rowboats, and that water is just above freezing for the next few months. Lots of wood to hit, too.
There are two launches in town, if you want to try the lower river. There is a launch at the mouth, which is sometimes plowed. And Lynn keeps his launch plowed, where his store sits. Right where the River Rd bridge crosses the river. The lower river gets slushy/freezes before the upper river. I like to launch and run upstream, just in case I have problems with my motor - it is a lot easier rowing downstream.

I am just extra careful boating in the winter. Icy boat bottoms are slippery, and one mis-step can put you in a life threatening situation. Anchor ropes tend to freeze up when temps get into the 20's, and that can be a pain in the butt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the great info. The few times I have fished the AS I was wading, and that can be tricky at best given the depth of the lower river.
great info. thanks
 

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Oh, I get the question about boating. I waded the rivers for decades before I tried fishing out of boats. But once I realized that you can put a boat in the optimal place to fish any spot that can be fished, I was sold. And you don't have to stand in the water, if you don't want to - but you can if you choose to.

A 14 foot boat with an outboard would work just fine in the Ausable. I first did it with a 12 foot boat, and 9.9 hs motor, and that worked alright. I moved up to a 16 foot boat, and 25 hs motor, which is just more versatile, and I can take 2 other people with it.

Water flows fluctuate but winter levels tend to be pretty low. I like to fish when daytime temps will be above freezing, and nighttime temps don't get much below 20*. But I fish in all sorts of weather. Those are just the kind of winter days I prefer. The fish like warmer days, too. :cool:
 
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