Traverse Classics: Travel to rivers the world over and chances are you will meet fly fishermen casting a fly or two that was invented in Northern Michigan. Rusty Gates, owner of Gates Au Sable Lodge in Grayling, attributes the success of our flies to the knowledge base of our anglers. “Our fishermen really study the river,” Gates says. They’re looking for which insects are hatching, assessing what the fish are eating, eyeing river flow, and debris in the water. Such understanding of river life gives rise to flies that “are exact, not complicated, but effective,” Gates says. Following are nine flies invented in Northern Michigan and tricking fish around the planet.
Fly Fishing Icons
Adams Fly by Len Halladay
Houghton Lake Special by Bob Jewel
Au Sable Skunk by Earl Madsen
Michigan Hopper & Winnie Fore and Aft by Art Winnie
Strawman Nymph by Paul Young
Griffith’s Gnat by George Griffith
Borchers’ Special by Ernie Borchers
Roberts Drake by Clarence Roberts
Think these flies look great? You’ve got to see the video: Fly Fishing Tips from Traverse City's Bob Summers.
For over 30 years the staff at Traverse Magazine has written about the history and natural world of our region. For the web series, Traverse Classics, we've reached into our archives to bring our favorites to our MyNorth.com audience.
More on Fly Fishing in Northern Michigan
- Icons of the Fly Vest
- Rusty Gates, of the Holy Waters
- The Founding of Trout Unlimited, Right on the AuSable
- Fish the AuSable River
- Video: Fly Fishing Tips from Traverse City's Bob Summers
- The Jordan River: Wild, Scenic and Full of Fish
- Three Fishing Hotspots on the Au Sable River
- Grayling Classic: Pan-Fried Trout at Gates Au Sable Lodge
- Trout Live Better in Trees