Fall Fly Fishing in the Upper Peninsula

Beautiful leaves and beautiful fish. Here's a short take on fly fishing in the U.P. when autumn shows up.

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As the temperatures start to drop in September and October the bugs disappear and the leaves turn their bright fall colors. Upper Peninsula trout feeding habits change as well and the rivers are prime for streamer and nyphing. This is your chance to catch the river's larger predatory browns as they get ready for winter and for their spawning season. Fly fishing with sinking tips and big streamers are the name of the game. We also keep the big stonefly nymphs handy as they can be deadly effective too.


If you've had your fill of fly fishing trout and smallmouth bass never fear because the big fish are here. The Upper Peninsula tributaries offer amazing fly fishing for pink salmon, king salmon, coho salmon, steelhead and lake run browns. The pinks and king salmon move in late Aug to early Sep and peaks the later part of Sep. Steelhead and browns follow in October and Cohos will follow into Dec. These fish will destroy a well presented swung fly, bugger or larger nymph pattern. For the king salmon it's best to break out the big two-handed rods, sinking lines and intruder style flies for these brutes. To avoid the crowds we'll fly fish late evenings and early mornings when the king salmon are most active and on the move. Nothing compares to hooking a big king that tries its best to rip the rod out of your hands.


Dime bright steelhead start to appear in early Oct as they follow the salmon and the lake run brown trout up the rivers, not to spawn but to feed as they know there will be an egg buffet along with plenty of caddis, stonefly and hex nymphs being kicked up by the nesting salmon and browns. Some of the fish will stay around all winter others will head back to the lake after they've eaten their fill. If you're after a big steelhead there's no better time to be fly fishing. Upper Peninsula steelhead are fresh from the lake, hyper active and have the feedbags on before winter hits. We'll fly fish the swing, nymph and beads to target these fish. Pound for pound there's no stronger fish in the water -- it's not uncommon to set the hook only to have one of these lighting bolts rip off downstream 100 yards and break off all before you can say "fish on".

Lake Run Browns

These dinosaurs of Lake Michigan move into the Upper Peninsula rivers from Oct to Dec. Lake Run brown trout grow to fantastic proportions, are very aggressive, and loads of fun. Unlike the steelhead, these fish are migrating into the rivers to spawn and will eat all the way up to the point of spawning and feed hard after. Just like steelhead fly fishing, we'll swing, nymph and use beads to target these fish. It doesn't take much to get these fish's attention.