Fishing Tiny Brooks Feeding Northern Michigan’s Legendary Trout Rivers

Finding small water

A creek is nothing but a side stream or tributary to a larger river. Anglers looking for small water action in Northern Michigan are fortunate in that any creek flowing into a larger river system has the possibility of holding trout and other fishes.

If targeting brook trout, begin your search by consulting the Michigan DNR webpage dedicated to (search words) “brook trout better fishing waters” Up North. This county-by-county directory of prime brook trout fishing destinations in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas can keep you in streams for a lifetime.

Learn to dapple

The reach cast, roll cast, sidearm and wind cast. Of all the ways to deliver a fly to feeding fishes none is as basic and, on creeks, more effective than the simple art of “dappling.” To dapple a fly or live bait with a long rod and ultra-light line, simply crawl to the edge of the bank and slowly set the offering on the water and allow it to naturally drift downstream to where fish might be holding.

Commandments of Small Creek Fishing

Regardless of the species of fish being targeted, there is one essential to catching anything in the shallow, crystalline waters found in a typical Northern Michigan creek: Don’t spook the fish. In The Curtis Creek Manifesto, a fly fishing cult classic, the angler and artist Sheridan Anderson offered 11 commandments to help fisherman achieve invisibility on small waters. Here are five:

1. Thou shalt fish upstream.

2. Thou shalt cast with precision and thy fly shalt like a cobweb alight.

3. Let not thy shadow nor that of thy rod fall upon the water.

4.Thou shalt move with stealth and keep thyself low and in deepest shadow and ever secret thyself behind rock, tree, hummock and shrub.

5. Thou shalt avoid fly drag like the plague and watch thy lure like hawk.

Bob Butz writes from Lake Ann. [email protected]

This article was featured in the June 2013 issue ofTraverse Magazine– subscribe today!

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