Classic Rods & Reels for Northern Michigan Fly Fishing

Fly fishing guide and outdoor photographer Daniel Shepler shares his favorite classic rods and reels for Northern Michigan fly fishing. His recommendations were originally featured in “Fly Fishing: For the Love of Gear” in the May 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.


Whether it’s a newly made bamboo rod or a classic collectible, nothing channels the tradition of fly fishing like these supple, elegant and tenacious works of craftsmanship. Bamboo’s dense fiber structure and high silica content provide the strength and pliability. Here we pair rods with classic reels.

Hardy Marquis Reel
From the late 1970s, this stalwart is a fluid-action workhorse of the sport.
$200

Hardy St. George Reel
A pre-WWII classic, made in England. Hardy made the Cadillacs of reels, and they endure.
$500

Heddon Model 20
A quality bamboo production rod from the late 1940s. Made by the thousands in Dowagiac, Michigan, this versatile, nice-casting rod channels the heart ofMitten fishing.
$250

R.W. Summers Model 275
A smooth and powerful 7’6” rod for a No. 4 line. Semi-parabolic action, ideal for Michigan’s classic trout rivers. By one of America’s greatest living fly-rod builders.
New: $2,500

Hardy Perfect
Sporting that pre-WWII industrial style, this classic reel is ready to cast. Flawless action. Fish with a piece of working history from one of the world’s most renowned fishing-equipment makers.
$700

Lyle Dickerson 8’6”
Rod Lyle Dickerson became one of America’s legendary rod builders, working from Bellaire, Michigan (1920s to the mid-70s). This perfect-condition working collectible is a superb all-around rod for Michigan’s equally legendary rivers.
$5,200

Classic Gear: Leader Box
Made when fly line leaders were constructed of silk, and fishermen had to keep line moist by storing in a box with wet pads.


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