A man fly fishing in the river at sunset
  • Michigan is nationally known as a fly fishing mecca for trout, with tens of thousands of miles of cold, quality trout waters, of which many have wild, sustaining trout populations.

    Trout prefer coldwater streams and some lakes. You can find them in deep pools, undercut banks, and near the surface when the water is cooler. They tend to eat caddisflies, mayflies, stoneflies, terrestrials and small fish.

    Popular trout species for fly fishing

    Brown - popular to target in streams on rainy or overcast days. Most fly anglers target them after dark during notable fly hatches, especially the giant Michigan hexfly. Large streams and big splashy surface flies are popular too. Good spots include Au Sable, Pere Marquette and Manistee rivers.

    Brook - can be caught on wet and dry flies, found in deep holes and under cover of logs or overhanging banks in many streams. In summer they've usually migrated to the headwaters of most tributaries in search of colder water. These fish are widespread across northern portion of the state, especially in the U.P.

    Rainbow - stream fish will bite on flies. Young fish eat waterfleas and then add aquatic insects, like caddisflies, mayflies and midges to their diets.

    Fly Hatches

    It's hard to predict fly hatches throughout the state, they are very dependent on where the river is located, air temperature and water temperature. Traditionally, the drake hatch is last week in May to first week in June and the hex hatch is last week in June to first week in July - but a cold May might have pushed things back.

    The best bet is to connect with fly shops located near the river you're interested in fishing. They traditionally track fly hatches and can provide much more detailed information about what's going on locally.

    Check out Michigan's best fly fishing streams for wild trout »

Trout Trails

Check out Michigan's Trout Trails - a map of biologist-verified great trout waters complete with detailed site descriptions, regulation info and more!
  • A screenshot of the Trout Trails map