My 13 year old daughter, Gracie, and I had the opportunity to fish the fresh water flats of Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. Beaver Island is known for its plentiful supply of carp and small mouth bass. As we waited for the ferry in Charlevoix, the anticipation grew for what we knew was going to be an exciting fresh water fly fishing experience. Our SUP’s were loaded and ready along with a plentiful cache of secret weapons – flies from Waters Edge Fly Co.
Upon arrival at the Emerald Isle Hotel, we got some local knowledge on restaurants and then headed out in search of some fresh whitefish from Lake Michigan and some of the now famous Michigan craft beers.
Having done numerous sailboat races in northern Michigan 25 years ago, I had visited Beaver Island on a number of occasions. In addition to being a renowned destination for the quintessential great lakes island experience, Beaver Island’s fresh water flats are fast gaining popularity as a world class fly fishing destination.
Beaver Island is home to some remarkable carp and small-mouth bass. The water is extremely clear which makes it optimal for sight casting. The shoreline offers multiple options for successful fishing in variable wind directions. And oh. I almost forgot to mention the fact that the fish can be 20-30 lbs.
There are a few great restaurants on Beaver Island. One of our favorites was the Circle M. The super deli / bakery next to McDonoough’s market is surprisingly well stocked. The extremely helpful and friendly staff are able to sell you a fishing license as well as your morning bagel.
The community, which is home to 600 year-round residents, is rich with great lakes stories. Gracie and I learned a lot from the owner of the Emerald Isle hotel, Bill Thomas, who is a gracious host and very knowledgeable about the history of the island.
The Emerald Isle hotel has eight two-room suites with kitchenettes and pull out sleeper beds. Tom will meet you at the ferry to shuttle you and your luggage to the hotel, which is walking’s distance from the ferry dock.
Beaver Island is a location to add to your fly fishing bucket list. Gracie and I can’t wait to share it with our family and friends.