As I wrote in my little manifesto last year for Gray’s, fly fishing to me, is in large part a pursuit of perfection. Not really an achievable goal, but none the less, generally what we are after when we are out there.
The perfect conditions, the prefect light, the perfect hatch, the perfect fly, the perfect drift, the cast, the fish, take, eat, run, fight, release.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Beaver Island, Michigan is a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of it’s perfect parts. I’m not sure what makes it such a special place butI’ll try to elaborate a little. I fished two days with Steve Martinez of Indigo Guide Service, the only way to go, and well worth it.
The first day of fishing my 7 year old son came along and the next day the venerable Jason Tucker author of the Fontinalis Rising blog joined me. You’ll see Steve, my son and Jason in the pics below.
Cameron Mortensen of TFM did a spectacular job on an overview of Beaver Island so I won’t go into to much of that, I’ll try to cover the more tertiary stuff in a sketchy form.
The island is equal parts Northern Exposure and Bahamian Dreamscape.
The town, calling it that is a stretch, it’s more like a hamlet nestled comfortably into the landscape around a protected harbor. One grocery store, a couple places to eat, a hardware store owned by the island’s veterinarian. A medium sized dock, a couple boat ramps, a ferry landing and a few small boats bobbing in the breeze.
Once out of the town all roads turn to gravel quickly and the cottages become more widely spaced. The dense north woods fills in the gaps between the houses and keeps the sun hidden for the most part. It’s a sandy existence with a dense cover of ferns on the floor. For being so near to the mainland and my house, I was surprised at the level solitude. It’s only 8 hours from my house in the heart of overpopulated southwestern Ohio, but it feels like another planet.
While walking on the beach we usually only saw one other person the ENTIRE day. More deer, turkeys, and pine squirrels than people. Thankfully, the people seem to have respect for other’s desire to be secluded, which makes for an even more secluded feeling, bonus.
And then there’s the Beaver Island car wave. We took our car over on the ferry. Be prepared, everyone waves at you when you pass them in another car. It took me a few dozen times to figure out they weren’t just mistaking me for someone else. Everyone just waves to other drivers, like a Jeep wave for everybody. It’s that kind of place. Not like any other place on earth.
Knee deep crystal clear water extending as far as you can see. Big carp, willing to eat a fly and take you for a ride. Affordable rentals. Graylight 4:30 am. and 11:00 pm. Solitude. Smallmouth. Pike. Deer. Turkeys. Loons. Ferns. Sand.
What’s not to like, or love even.
My wife and I spent an entire week on Beaver Island with two sets of grandparents and two young boys and we are already trying to figure out how to do two weeks next year.
I’ll post a more scenic pic set later after I edit those.