Make Your Case: The Best Fly Fishing State in America

What would you say is your favorite all-around fly fishing state in America? There are a number of great contenders in my mind: Montana has to be a strong contender… New York’s Catskill region is the cradle of many things fly fishing, and don’t forget about striper fishing on Long Island… how about Idaho, Wyoming, or Colorado?

All wonderful.

But for me, the number one fly fishing state in the country always has been, and always will be…


Okay… so I’m biased. That’s a sentimental pick. But there some solid historic reasons for Michigan also. The first brown trout planted in the United States was planted in Michigan. Trout Unlimited was founded in Michigan. Some of the fly staples you know today… like the parachute Adams… created in Michigan. The literary fly tradition… from Hemingway to Harrison… all rooted to some degree in Michigan.

Add to that the actual fishing. Trout. Salmon. Steelhead. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskie, and panfish… all legitimate targets for fly anglers here.

How about the bugs? (Nor bad bugs, mayflies!) The other night on Lake Leelanau, I witnessed the thickest blanket swarms of brown drakes I have ever seen anywhere in my life. Remarkable.

Whether you agree with me or not (and I hope you do make your cases for other states), I would encourage all of you to get to Michigan at some point to fish and explore. This state needs you now. And Michigan’s $42 full-season, unlimited species, non-resident fishing license might very well be the best fishing bargain in the country.