May 31, 2011
We Love Carp (and Beaver Island, Michigan)
By Kirk Deeter
Located in the northern waters of Lake Michigan, Beaver Island is home to some remarkable smallmouth bass fishing. But we were there to explore the flats fishing. And (I kid you not) I would rate the flats action on Beaver Island with any other flats experience in America. Yes, that also includes Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Nantucket, Hawaii... it's absolutely insane around Beaver Island.
The water here is super clear (visibility sometimes 50 feet or better), so it is optimal for sight casting. The fish are big bruisers (many 20-30 pounds or more), and you can catch hundreds of pounds of fish on the fly in a good day. There are also hundreds of miles of shoreline, yet fewer than a handful of people will fish these flats on any given day, so the solitude factor rates a 10.
But yes... we were chasing carp. That much-maligned, under-appreciated species that more and more serious fly anglers, however, are starting to appreciate for the unique challenges they offer. The beauty is, carp can be found almost anywhere. And fly fishing for carp will inevitably make you a much better angler.
As guide Steve Martinez of Indigo Guide Service told me the other day: "Carp aren't really predatory fish... they're not going to wheel around and bite anything in their vicinity." In other words, the casts, the flies and the presentations must be perfect. Figure out carp, and bass and trout are easy.
Thanks to our friends Kevin Morlock, Steve Martinez, and Matt Dunn (as well as the Beaver Island Lodge) for showing us carp Nirvana. Check out Thirdcoastfly.com for more skinny. We'll also have more on this trip, and on fly carping, coming your way soon.