The article "Step Into Endless Fly Fishing Opportunities in Michigan" by Kevin Morlock appeared in Pure Michigan in 2008.
Step Into Endless Fly Fishing Opportunities in Michigan by Kevin Morlock
Many areas of the country and the world have excellent fly fishing, but possibly none offers the fly fishing opportunities and diversity of Michigan. Our state is blessed with 3,300 miles of shoreline on four of the five Great Lakes and boasts more than 11,000 smaller inland lakes. As if that weren’t enough, more than 35,000 miles of navigable streams streak across the state, 12,000 miles of them prime coldwater trout territory. If you tried a new spot every day for the rest of your life, you would scarcely make a dent in Michigan’s abundant fishing resources.
Legendary rivers such as the Pere Marquette, Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon are prized by fly anglers from coast to coast and around the globe. One of the country’s premier coldwater conservation organizations, Trout Unlimited (TU), was founded on the banks of the Au Sable River near Grayling by sixteen fishermen who championed healthy fisheries for future generations. Now almost fifty years later TU’s membership numbers more than 150,000 spread out in 400 or so chapters all across the country.
You might take in some world-class fishing for smallmouth bass, walleye and musky in Lake St. Clair, within miles of downtown Detroit. Or spend the day in nature’s wilderness, hiking to remote beaver ponds in the Upper Peninsula, fishing for fat brookies that haven’t seen an angler all year. A ferry waits to carry you through magnificent scenery to Beaver Island, where you can sight-cast to smallmouth bass and carp from a flats skiff in the crystal clear waters of Northern Lake Michigan. Or maybe you want to chase trout, steelhead and salmon as they make the run up Michigan’s many trout streams. And don’t forget the thousands of warm water inland lakes. Almost anywhere in Michigan, you need to travel only a few miles to find a peaceful lake brimming with feisty panfish, bass and pike.
Whatever your personal tastes or your appetite for adventure, Michigan has a fly fishing experience for you. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet, so to speak, you’re sure to come back for more.
Kevin Morlock owns and operates Indigo Guide Service, west Michigan with his wife Joan. He is a frequent contributor for In-Fisherman magazine and television and is a veteran of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.