[DIY] Guide to Fly Fishing in Michigan

Have you been eyeing the state of Michigan as your next fly fishing getaway? That isn't surprising, as there are plenty of fabulous streams, lakes, and rivers to be explored. Many anglers argue it is right up there with the best states in the country. There are a number of fish species that can be caught on the fly in Michigan including salmon, steelhead, walleye, pike, panfish, bass, and of course trout. This diversity is a big draw for anglers. It gives people a chance to catch a variety of species without having to travel to multiple states.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a number of impressive statistics to share. These include the fact there are over 20,000 miles worth of cold water. This is the exact kind of water that trout love. Many of these waters are excellent for wading and shore fishing, which are favorites among anglers. It should also be mentioned that a good number of the rivers and streams are known for large hatches. This can turn a decent fishing experience into an amazing one.

So let’s take a closer look at what makes Michigan such a standout destination for anglers.

Michigan Trout Fishing Map

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MI - Au Sable River: 44.431637, -83.390266
MI - Betsie River : 44.600735, -86.099854
MI - Boardman River: 44.708195, -85.622719
MI - Huron River: 42.106533, -83.317223
MI - Little Manistee River: 44.145630, -86.025352
MI - Lower Manistee River: 44.292030, -86.149467
MI - Muskegon River: 43.271956, -86.202593
MI - Pere Marquette River: 43.937153, -86.218727
MI - St. Joseph River: 42.062294, -86.449699
MI - Upper Manistee River: 44.619087, -84.971458
WASHINGTON CREEK AT WINDIGO, MI: 47.921279, -89.145920
BLACK RIVER NEAR BESSEMER, MI: 46.511336, -90.074618
PRESQUE ISLE RIVER NEAR TULA, MI: 46.547222, -89.777222
MIDDLE BRANCH ONTONAGON RIVER NEAR PAULDING, MI: 46.356892, -89.076528
LAKE GOGEBIC NEAR BERGLAND, MI: 46.588558, -89.547931
WEST BRANCH ONTONAGON RIVER NEAR BERGLAND, MI: 46.587447, -89.541820
CISCO LAKE NEAR WATERSMEET, MI: 46.252726, -89.452091
CISCO BRANCH ONTONAGON R AT CISCO LAKE OUTLET, MI: 46.253282, -89.451536
ONTONAGON RIVER NEAR ROCKLAND, MI: 46.720774, -89.207086
GRATIOT RIVER AT 5 MILE POINT ROAD NEAR AHMEEK, MI: 47.322699, -88.405390
MONTREAL RIVER AT LAC LA BELLE RD NR DELAWARE, MI: 47.421300, -88.076217
STURGEON RIVER NEAR SIDNAW, MI: 46.584106, -88.575970
STURGEON RIVER NEAR ALSTON, MI: 46.726323, -88.662079
PILGRIM RIVER AT PARADISE RD NR DODGEVILLE, MI: 47.084094, -88.550679
COLE CREEK AT HOUGHTON CANAL ROAD NR HOUGHTON, MI: 47.127983, -88.624290
TRAP ROCK RIVER NEAR LAKE LINDEN, MI: 47.228536, -88.385393
FALLS RIVER NEAR L'ANSE, MI: 46.734655, -88.443187
SILVER RIVER NEAR L'ANSE, MI: 46.804097, -88.317072
SALMON TROUT RIVER NEAR BIG BAY, MI: 46.782148, -87.877630
EAST BRANCH SALMON TROUT RIVER NEAR DODGE CITY, MI: 46.785759, -87.852352
YELLOW DOG RIVER NEAR BIG BAY, MI: 46.713539, -87.840687
DEAD RIVER AT MARQUETTE, MI: 46.572710, -87.410972
CHOCOLAY RIVER AT GREEN BAY STREET AT HARVEY, MI: 46.495768, -87.350418
AU TRAIN RIVER AT FOREST LAKE, MI: 46.340779, -86.850151
TAHQUAMENON RIVER NEAR PARADISE, MI: 46.575015, -85.269555
BLACK RIVER NEAR GARNET, MI: 46.118056, -85.365369
MANISTIQUE RIVER NEAR MANISTIQUE, MI: 46.030529, -86.161249
STURGEON RIVER NEAR NAHMA JUNCTION, MI: 45.943024, -86.705700
MIDDLE BRANCH ESCANABA RIVER AT HUMBOLDT, MI: 46.499103, -87.886524
GREENWOOD RESERVOIR NEAR GREENWOOD, MI: 46.442160, -87.800691
GREENWOOD AFTERBAY NEAR GREENWOOD, MI: 46.442160, -87.800691
GREENWOOD DIVERSION NEAR GREENWOOD, MI: 46.434382, -87.769580
GREENWOOD RELEASE NEAR GREENWOOD, MI: 46.439382, -87.797913
MIDDLE BRANCH ESCANABA RIVER NR PRINCETON, MI: 46.317165, -87.502082
SCHWEITZER RESERVOIR NEAR PALMER, MI: 46.416605, -87.646803
SCHWEITZER CREEK NEAR PALMER, MI: 46.411050, -87.624303
ESCANABA RIVER NEAR ST. NICHOLAS, MI: 45.979125, -87.270415
ESCANABA RIVER AT CORNELL, MI: 45.908573, -87.213748
FORD RIVER NEAR HYDE, MI: 45.754967, -87.202079
IRON RIVER AT CASPIAN, MI: 46.058566, -88.627354
PAINT RIVER NEAR ALPHA, MI: 46.011064, -88.258468
MICHIGAMME RIVER NEAR CRYSTAL FALLS, MI: 46.113838, -88.215969
MENOMINEE RIVER AT TWIN FALLS NEAR IRON MT, MI: 45.871343, -88.070129
STURGEON RIVER AT US HWY-2 AT LORETTO, MI: 45.776070, -87.828458
MENOMINEE RIVER NEAR VULCAN, MI: 45.736627, -87.863457
MENOMINEE RIVER AT WHITE RAPIDS DAM NEAR BANAT, MI: 45.481944, -87.802222
MENOMINEE RIVER AT KOSS, MI: 45.387195, -87.702059
GALIEN RIVER NEAR SAWYER, MI: 41.873654, -86.575022
ST. JOSEPH RIVER AT BURLINGTON, MI: 42.103101, -85.079976
SOUTH BRANCH HOG CREEK NEAR ALLEN, MI: 41.948659, -84.827740
AUSTIN LAKE NEAR KALAMAZOO, MI: 42.190877, -85.550834
ST. JOSEPH RIVER AT THREE RIVERS, MI: 41.940326, -85.632771
PRAIRIE RIVER AT US 12 NEAR BURR OAK, MI: 41.836389, -85.270833
PRAIRIE RIVER NEAR NOTTAWA, MI: 41.888383, -85.409428
MILL CREEK AT QUAKER STREET NEAR MOTTVILLE, MI: 41.830604, -85.743049
ST. JOSEPH RIVER AT MOTTVILLE, MI: 41.800883, -85.756105
ST. JOSEPH RIVER AT NILES, MI: 41.829214, -86.259733
DOWAGIAC RIVER AT STATE HWY 51 NEAR DOWAGIAC, MI: 42.027778, -86.107500
DOWAGIAC RIVER AT SUMNERVILLE, MI: 41.913380, -86.213068
PAW PAW RIVER AT RIVERSIDE, MI: 42.186427, -86.368912
SOUTH BRANCH BLACK RIVER NEAR BANGOR, MI: 42.354200, -86.187527
KALAMAZOO RIVER AT MARSHALL, MI: 42.264764, -84.963870
WANADOGA CREEK NEAR BATTLE CREEK, MI: 42.396428, -85.131660
BATTLE CREEK AT BATTLE CREEK, MI: 42.331430, -85.153603
KALAMAZOO RIVER NEAR BATTLE CREEK, MI: 42.323930, -85.197493
AUGUSTA CREEK NEAR AUGUSTA, MI: 42.353373, -85.353889
KALAMAZOO RIVER AT COMSTOCK, MI: 42.285597, -85.513893
WEST FORK PORTAGE CREEK AT KALAMAZOO, MI: 42.244485, -85.614450
RABBIT RIVER NEAR HOPKINS, MI: 42.642254, -85.721968
KALAMAZOO RIVER AT NEW RICHMOND, MI: 42.650860, -86.106703
MACATAWA RIVER AT STATE ROAD NEAR ZEELAND, MI: 42.779192, -86.018372
PIGEON RIVER AT WEST OLIVE RD NR PORT SHELDON, MI: 42.916344, -86.146133
GRAND RIVER AT JACKSON, MI: 42.283647, -84.408848
GRAND RIVER NEAR EATON RAPIDS, MI: 42.534759, -84.623035
RED CEDAR RIVER NEAR WILLIAMSTON, MI: 42.683090, -84.219133
SLOAN CREEK NEAR WILLIAMSTON, MI: 42.675868, -84.363861
RED CEDAR RIVER AT EAST LANSING, MI: 42.727257, -84.478032
SYCAMORE CREEK AT HOLT ROAD NEAR HOLT, MI: 42.640313, -84.482753
GRAND RIVER AT LANSING, MI: 42.750590, -84.555257
GRAND RIVER AT PORTLAND, MI: 42.856423, -84.912218
LOOKING GLASS RIVER NEAR EAGLE, MI: 42.828090, -84.759434
MAPLE RIVER AT MAPLE RAPIDS, MI: 43.109755, -84.693052
FISH CREEK NEAR CRYSTAL, MI: 43.249755, -84.981125
GRAND RIVER AT IONIA, MI: 42.971977, -85.069172
FLAT RIVER AT SMYRNA, MI: 43.052809, -85.264739
QUAKER BROOK AT STATE HWY M-66 NEAR NASHVILLE, MI: 42.567258, -85.094998
THORNAPPLE RIVER NEAR HASTINGS, MI: 42.615869, -85.236393
THORNAPPLE RIVER NEAR CALEDONIA, MI: 42.811143, -85.483352
GRAND RIVER AT ADA, MI: 42.956974, -85.477523
ROGUE RIVER NEAR ROCKFORD, MI: 43.082249, -85.590865
GRAND RIVER AT GRAND RAPIDS, MI: 42.964471, -85.676420
PLASTER CREEK AT 28TH STREET AT GRAND RAPIDS, MI: 42.912806, -85.650584
GRAND RIVER NEAR EASTMANVILLE, MI: 43.024188, -86.026435
CLAM RIVER AT VOGEL CENTER, MI: 44.200569, -85.052815
MUSKEGON RIVER AT EVART, MI: 43.899186, -85.255319
LITTLE MUSKEGON RIVER NEAR OAK GROVE, MI: 43.430858, -85.595599
MUSKEGON RIVER NEAR CROTON, MI: 43.434746, -85.665324
BEAR CREEK NEAR MUSKEGON, MI: 43.288625, -86.222838
WHITE RIVER NEAR WHITEHALL, MI: 43.464179, -86.232567
PERE MARQUETTE RIVER AT SCOTTVILLE, MI: 43.945006, -86.278690
MANISTEE RIVER NEAR SHERMAN, MI: 44.436392, -85.698679
MANISTEE RIVER NEAR MESICK, MI: 44.363060, -85.820905
EAST BRANCH PINE RIVER NEAR TUSTIN, MI: 44.102511, -85.517277
PINE RIVER AT HIGH SCHOOL BRIDGE NR HOXEYVILLE, MI: 44.193340, -85.769786
MANISTEE RIVER NEAR WELLSTON, MI: 44.259450, -85.941742
PLATTE RIVER AT HONOR, MI: 44.668055, -86.034812
BOARDMAN R ABOVE BROWN BRIDGE ROAD NR MAYFIELD, MI: 44.656670, -85.436731
JORDAN RIVER NEAR EAST JORDAN, MI: 45.102507, -85.098112
ST. MARYS RIVER AT SAULT STE. MARIE, ONTARIO: 46.498333, -84.315278
PINE RIVER NEAR RUDYARD, MI: 46.190556, -84.612222
STURGEON RIVER AT WOLVERINE, MI: 45.274457, -84.600032
PIGEON RIVER NEAR VANDERBILT, MI: 45.156124, -84.467523
THUNDER BAY RIVER AT HERRON ROAD NEAR BOLTON, MI: 45.124179, -83.635540
SOUTH BRANCH AU SABLE RIVER NEAR LUZERNE, MI: 44.614738, -84.455575
AU SABLE RIVER NEAR RED OAK, MI: 44.676959, -84.292515
AU SABLE RIVER AT MIO, MI: 44.660014, -84.131117
AU SABLE RIVER NEAR MC KINLEY, MI: 44.612791, -83.837766
AU SABLE RIVER NEAR CURTISVILLE, MI: 44.560847, -83.802764
AU SABLE RIVER NEAR AU SABLE, MI: 44.436404, -83.433861
RIFLE RIVER NEAR STERLING, MI: 44.072520, -84.019994
THREEMILE CREEK AT PRIOR ROAD NEAR DURAND, MI: 42.881698, -83.984683
SHIAWASSEE RIVER AT OWOSSO, MI: 43.015027, -84.179970
FARMERS CREEK NEAR LAPEER, MI: 43.044749, -83.337168
SOUTH BRANCH FLINT RIVER NEAR COLUMBIAVILLE,MI: 43.159471, -83.350781
FLINT RIVER NEAR OTISVILLE, MI: 43.111137, -83.519397
KEARSLEY CREEK NEAR DAVISON, MI: 43.033638, -83.581342
TRIB (TILE) TO KIMBALL DRAIN NEAR SWARTZ CREEK, MI: 42.922222, -83.833056
TRIB TO KIMBALL DRAIN NEAR SWARTZ CREEK, MI: 42.922222, -83.833056
TRIB TO LUM DRAIN ADJ SHARP RD NR SWARTZ CREEK, MI: 42.911111, -83.790000
TRIB (TILE) TO LUM DRAIN NEAR SWARTZ CREEK, MI: 42.911944, -83.790278
ALGER CREEK AT HILL ROAD NEAR SWARTZ CREEK, MI: 42.941973, -83.846070
SWARTZ CREEK AT CLAUDE AVENUE AT FLINT, MI: 42.985861, -83.738846
THREAD CREEK NEAR FLINT, MI: 42.975028, -83.635787
FLINT RIVER NEAR FLINT, MI: 43.038916, -83.771626
CASS RIVER AT WAHJAMEGA, MI: 43.450577, -83.441343
CASS RIVER AT FRANKENMUTH, MI: 43.327802, -83.748020
SOUTH BRANCH TOBACCO RIVER NEAR BEAVERTON, MI: 43.866969, -84.545289
TOBACCO RIVER AT GLIDDEN ROAD AT BEAVERTON, MI: 43.879469, -84.473898
CHIPPEWA RIVER NEAR MOUNT PLEASANT, MI: 43.626140, -84.707790
PINE RIVER NEAR MIDLAND, MI: 43.564473, -84.369162
TITTABAWASSEE RIVER AT MIDLAND, MI: 43.595305, -84.235544
SAGINAW RIVER AT HOLLAND AVENUE AT SAGINAW, MI: 43.421970, -83.951918
SAGINAW RIVER AT MIDLAND STREET AT BAY CITY, MI: 43.601111, -83.891667
PIGEON RIVER NEAR CASEVILLE, MI: 43.939459, -83.241623
ST. CLAIR RIVER AT PORT HURON, MI: 42.986974, -82.424637
BLACK RIVER NEAR JEDDO, MI: 43.152527, -82.624092
MILL CREEK NEAR AVOCA, MI: 43.054471, -82.734649
BELLE RIVER AT MEMPHIS, MI: 42.900862, -82.769091
CLINTON RIVER AT AUBURN HILLS, MI: 42.633366, -83.224378
PAINT CREEK AT ROCHESTER, MI: 42.688366, -83.142989
CLINTON RIVER AT STERLING HEIGHTS, MI: 42.614478, -83.026593
PLUM BROOK AT UTICA, MI: 42.601423, -83.071316
CLINTON RIVER NEAR FRASER, MI: 42.577812, -82.951589
EAST POND CREEK AT ROMEO, MI: 42.822530, -83.020210
EAST BRANCH COON CREEK AT ARMADA, MI: 42.845863, -82.884928
NORTH BRANCH CLINTON RIVER NEAR MT. CLEMENS, MI: 42.629200, -82.888810
MIDDLE BRANCH CLINTON RIVER AT MACOMB, MI: 42.706421, -82.959094
CLINTON RIVER AT MORAVIAN DRIVE AT MT. CLEMENS, MI: 42.595867, -82.908810
DETROIT RIVER AT FORT WAYNE AT DETROIT, MI: 42.298094, -83.092700
RIVER ROUGE AT BIRMINGHAM, MI: 42.545868, -83.223542
RIVER ROUGE AT SOUTHFIELD, MI: 42.447536, -83.297431
UPPER RIVER ROUGE AT FARMINGTON, MI: 42.464480, -83.369655
RIVER ROUGE AT DETROIT, MI: 42.373092, -83.254651
MIDDLE RIVER ROUGE NEAR GARDEN CITY, MI: 42.348093, -83.311597
MIDDLE RIVER ROUGE AT DEARBORN HEIGHTS, MI: 42.330593, -83.247984
LOWER RIVER ROUGE AT INKSTER, MI: 42.300593, -83.300208
LOWER RIVER ROUGE AT DEARBORN, MI: 42.308371, -83.252706
ECORSE RIVER AT DEARBORN HEIGHTS, MI: 42.269483, -83.289652
HURON RIVER AT MILFORD, MI: 42.578921, -83.626608
HURON RIVER NEAR HAMBURG, MI: 42.465312, -83.799943
MILL CREEK NEAR DEXTER, MI: 42.300315, -83.898277
ALLEN CREEK AT MOUTH AT ANN ARBOR, MI: 42.289722, -83.746111
HURON RIVER AT ANN ARBOR, MI: 42.286982, -83.733830
MALLETTS CREEK AT ANN ARBOR, MI: 42.264761, -83.688273
HURON RIVER AT FORT ROAD AT ROCKWOOD, MI: 42.064167, -83.253889
RIVER RAISIN NEAR MANCHESTER, MI: 42.168095, -84.076058
RIVER RAISIN NEAR ADRIAN, MI: 41.904769, -83.980776
SALINE RIVER NEAR SALINE, MI: 42.130319, -83.775774
RIVER RAISIN NEAR MONROE, MI: 41.960601, -83.531046
HOUGHTON LAKE NR HOUGHTON LAKE HEIGHTS, MI: 44.404460, -84.791141
LAKE ST HELEN AT ST HELEN, MI: 44.374185, -84.421403
HIGGINS LAKE NEAR ROSCOMMON, MI: 44.426406, -84.681970
OTSEGO LAKE NEAR GAYLORD, MI: 44.930569, -84.692252
INTERMEDIATE LAKE AT CENTRAL LAKE, MI: 45.070838, -85.259788
East Branch Black River Highbanks 2: 45.134559, -84.286072
East Branch Black River Highbanks 3: 45.140609, -84.294355
East Branch Black River Slingerlend Bend: 45.088992, -84.283872
Farwell Lake: 42.094722, -84.477189
Forest Lake: 46.322485, -88.948812
Fortune Pond: 46.100493, -88.384886
Golden Lake: 46.170958, -88.884448
Gull Lake: 42.426324, -85.428881
Main Branch Black River Hardwood Creek Region: 45.132959, -84.363538
Harwood Lake: 41.928637, -85.761327
Heart Lake: 44.888552, -84.690972
Hemlock Lake: 42.065882, -85.803987
Jordan River Graves Crossing: 45.033304, -85.064028
Jordan River Pinney Bridge: 45.022601, -85.056805
Jordan River Websters Bridge: 45.102244, -84.690972
Kalamazoo River Allegan Dam East: 42.566518, -85.952012
Kalamazoo River Hacklander: 42.636390, -86.163117
Kalamazoo River Howard Schultz Park: 42.645183, -86.189170
Kalamazoo River M-89 Landing: 42.593657, -85.983385
Kalamazoo River New Richmond: 42.651698, -86.107699
Kalamazoo River Ottawa Landing: 42.617607, -86.034512
Kalamazoo River Saugatuck Harbor: 42.660238, -86.205721
Lake Ottawa USFS Access: 46.075095, -88.765993
Lake Ottawa Walk-In Access: 46.088792, -88.748468
Little Paw Paw Lake: 42.160432, -85.743252
Main Branch Black River Black River Road Bridge: 45.337459, -84.268488
Main Branch Black River Blue Lakes: 45.149676, -84.344505
Main Branch Black River Chandler Dam Road: 45.111809, -84.382705
Main Branch Black River Clark Bridge: 45.224326, -84.331055
Main Branch Black River CR-638/Errat Road Bridge: 45.325192, -84.248105
Main Branch Black River Crockett Rapids Bridge: 45.263226, -84.266888
Main Branch Black River Greens Landing: 45.108076, -84.456305
Main Branch Black River Kings Bridge: 45.152426, -84.323438
Main Branch Black River McKinnons Bend: 45.117542, -84.450822
Main Branch Black River Old Chandler Dam: 45.128892, -84.400755
Main Branch Black River Sand Trap: 45.128092, -84.404622
Main Branch Black River Saunders: 45.061642, -84.454722
Main Branch Black River Sparr Road: 45.054459, -84.431288
Main Branch Black River The Rock: 45.117559, -84.385705
Main Branch Black River Tin Shanty Road Bridge: 45.126776, -84.407655
Main Branch Black River Town Corner: 45.113026, -84.354738
Main Branch Black River Trail 94: 45.105492, -84.369972
Main Branch Black River Wigglesworth Road: 45.293059, -84.259155
Main Branch Black River Milligan Bridge: 45.277942, -84.243622
Maple River Brutus Road: 45.493209, -84.742315
Maple River Maple River Road: 45.507709, -84.762375
Maple River Sand Traps: 45.489719, -84.725835
Maple River Woodland Road: 45.528979, -84.775255
McCormick Lake: 44.957091, -84.255737
McCoy Creek: 41.805100, -86.396359
Mill Creek Flaherty Park: 42.190242, -86.258577
Mill Creek St. Joseph Street: 42.186783, -86.258172
Ocqueoc River Falls Day Use Area: 45.396605, -84.057797
Ocqueoc River Highbanks: 45.409898, -84.048019
Ocqueoc River Ocqueoc Lake Road: 45.480842, -84.110227
Ocqueoc River US Hwy 23: 45.488231, -84.076811

Get the DIY Fly Fishing App to get turn-by-turn directions to access points shown on the map above and real-time stream flow conditions.

Featured Destinations

Au Sable River

​Betsie River

Boardman River​

Huron River

Little Manistee River

Upper Manistee River

Lower Manistee River​

Muskegon River

​Pere Marquette River

​St. Joseph River

Michigan Trout Trails

Michigan is nationally known as a trout fishing destination with nearly 20,000 miles of cold, quality trout streams and hundreds of trout lakes accessible to anglers. With all these sites to visit, how does an angler decide where to go?

Check out Michigan's Trout Trails which are biologist-verified great trout waters that are often lesser known.  All Michigan Trout Trails destinations are included in the map above and are accessible via the DIY Fly Fishing App.

Click on a map icon for site-specific information such as the trout species available, regulations, stocked or natural reproduction and other noteworthy tidbits are all at your fingertips!

Best Places to Fish in Michigan

When you're talking about a state as diverse in fish species and water, then you know you're in for something special. Fly fishing is a favorite pastime in this state, which is really no wonder. As mentioned, you've got more than 20,000 miles worth of water to explore. This means no matter what your skill level, you're going to find opportunities here. The trout fishing is nothing short of outstanding. It provides you with a chance to try different techniques/skills.

While it's impossible to name all the top spots, there are a few that really stand out. Let's take a look at what awaits in Michigan.

Boardman River

Boardman River is located in Grand Traverse County. It is about 18 miles in length, so you've got a decent amount of river to work with. The water runs cold almost all year-round, and it's crystal clear. Any experienced fly fisher knows these are the perfect conditions for trout. This river is best by shore or wading. It's quite narrow in many areas, which means a boat or floating doesn't make sense.One downfall is that the river is also popular with canoes all summer long. This means you're going to have to contend with them as you cast. You can avoid this problem by fishing in the fall. The Boardman River can be visited from April until the end of September. It has a skill level rated at moderate. As far as the fish species go; expect to find brook and brown trout.

Pere Marquette River

The Pere Marquette River is located near the city of Baldwin. This is another river with a skill level of moderate. What is great about this spot is that you can fish year-round. From September through to March anglers will be fishing for steelhead. The most common fish found in this river during the peak season are rainbow and brown trout. If you visit from August through to October, expect to find Chinook.

AuSable River, Upper Section

If you like the longer rivers, then the AuSable River, Upper Section is the place to be. The river is 79 miles in length. The skill level on this river is rated at easy, which means it is ideal for beginners. Depending on the section you're in; this river can get pretty fast and pretty strong. These tend to be the sections that are more challenging. Fishing can be done by floating, wading, or from shore. Enjoy a diverse mix of fish species, which are rainbow trout, steelhead, brook trout, and brown trout.

Manistee River

The Manistee River is located fairly close to the Au Sable, but is a different atmosphere. Be prepared for catching brown and brown trout, steelhead, and salmon in this river. Experts suggest using streamer flies for the best results. The river is long, spanning just over 230 miles. It is found in the northern peninsula of the state, and flows into Lake Michigan. The trout love the clear and cold water in the river, and it can be enjoyed year-round. This river provides anglers with a true "wilderness" feeling.

Best Time to Fish in Michigan

In the state of Michigan the fishing season is dependent upon the fish species. Here’s a look at the average fishing season based on the species.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass: In general you will be able to fish for these year-round. Keep in mind that some waters are catch-and-release, whereas some waters are catch-and-keep. There are a couple of exceptions to this “average” season. In these cases the fish are only available from May until December.

Trout and Salmon: The Great Lakes, a variety of rivers, and streams offer trout and salmon fishing all year-round. Be advised that there is a group of lakes, and streams that are only open from April until the end of September. These are all found inland.

Walleye and northern pike: The season is almost all-year round; with just a few short weeks where you won't be able to find anything.

Muskellunge: With this species it depends on where you will be fishing. Some areas are open year-round, such as the Lower Peninsula Great Lakes. The Lake St. Clair and Detroit River has a much shorter season, open from June through early December.

Great Lakes Trout and Splake: Again the season depends on where you plan to fish. Many areas are open from January 1st until either September, or October.

As far as the outdoor air temperature goes in Michigan, keep in mind this area of the U.S. does get cold in the winter. If you plan on heading out in late fall, or the winter months, you will want to dress accordingly. Typically, spring and fall tend to be the most popular fishing seasons in this state. There are many species available, and the temperatures are ideal for fly fishing.

Michigan is home to a number of hatches that take place through out the year. Most anglers prefer to “match to the hatch”, which means being aware of the different hatches. As a general rule you stone flies are generally present year round. Once April approaches the mayflies and caddis flies begin to emerge. It stays this way until mid-June, when the terrestrial also becomes evident. You will find most of these keep up until mid-fall, where it then tapers off to just the mayfly by the end of the year.

What You Will Need When You Get There?

Deciding what to pack as far as your fishing gear goes can be a bit of a process. It is dependent on the time of year, the fish species, the hatches, and where you plan to fish. With all of that said, it can be helpful to plan your trip in advance. The planning allows you to consider what gear will be best. If you plan to fish small streams for trout; then a seven and a half to eight foot, 3 or 4-weight rod is a good choice. If it's the larger rivers and lakes you will be visiting; then a nine to ten-foot, 5 or 6-weight rod is best. The experts usually agree that a single action fly reel is ideal.

Again, picking your flies really depends on the season, the location, and type of trout. With that said, there are some basic ones you can carry with you.  Adams and Elk Hair Caddis are always a good bet for dry flies.  Pheasant Tail and Gold-ribbed Hare's Ear nymphs will always work when nymphing and a Muddler Minnow  streamer will usually produce. Obviously these may not be the best for all scenarios, but they are an excellent starting point.

Michigan Fishing License Regulations

For those planning to fish in Michigan, you will want to be sure you get your fishing license first. This applies to anyone age 17 and older. There are resident and non-resident licenses available through the Michigan DNR. These licenses are available as one-year, 24-hour, or 72-hour increments. If you are a hunter there is a hunt/fish combo license available. Each season the fishing regulations and limits are open to change. This means you should always check ahead to be sure you are aware of the current regulations. All of this information can be found on the Michigan DNR website.

While it’s nice to have a handful of great spots for fly fishing, Michigan tops that without problem. Here, your biggest problem will be narrowing it down to just a few rivers, streams, or lakes. Whether you are a beginner or are experienced, there are challenges to be found here. Sure some spots will be crowded, but other locations will give you a true wilderness feel. And don’t forget, this is a state that offers year-round fishing.