Targeting carp on the fly has quickly become a popular topic among fly fisherman world wide. Recognized for their long runs into backing, these fish are a blast to target on the fly. Our advantage to the rest of the country is Lake Michigan’s crystal clear flats and especially the waters around Beaver Island. This is all sight fishing and it is a whole lot of fun. We have anglers travel from both coasts, as well as from other countries each summer to experience what most call the best carp fishing in the world.
Season: Late May-Early August
Not only is the fishing fantastic, the island is a great place too. A small community of only 600 full time residents swells to thousands of visitors over the summer months all without getting too ‘touristy’. The island boasts of a handful of great restaurants and bars that all offer great food, a fantastic grocery store that surprisingly has everything you could ask for and some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
For more information on the island, check out the Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce.
While Beaver Island is pretty remote, there is a daily ferry schedule as well as air options to get to the island with ease. The ferry ride takes about two hours and is easy to book. No reservations required unless you are taking your vehicle (no need to) The 25 minute plane ride in is surprisingly affordable (at around $95 roundtrip) and gives you an outstanding view of the island coming in, just make sure your camera is charged for the flight!
Getting To Beaver Island:
There are a couple of options for getting to the island, both are out of Charlevoix, Michigan.
The first option is to use Beaver Island Boat Company (1-231-547-2311). The cost is approximately $48 per person, round trip. Expect about 2-2.5 hours each way. There is no need to make reservations unless you are taking your car to the island (most do not). If you are taking bikes, kayaks, etc. Please call ahead to make sure you arrive in time to make proper arrangements. Once you get your ticket, you will drive your car a few blocks up the street to park in a school parking lot, then walk back to the ferry.
The next option is to fly to the island. Fresh Air Aviation (1-888-359-7448) or Island Airways (800) 524-6895 offers flights to the island at a cost of approximately $89 per person, round trip. Make reservations, as flights can book quickly during the peak seasons. Flights leave from Charlevoix, Michigan. If you fly over, be sure to mention that you are fishing with Indigo Guide Service. You will get a little extra weight for luggage that is normally an up-charge.
What To Bring:
The weather on Beaver Island can change pretty quick, so you want to make sure that you have clothes to cover cool and warm temps. One day you may be in shorts wet wading the flats and the next in waders and a light fleece. Here is a list of some recommended items. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to fill out the Contact page and we will get back to you.
- Rain jacket
- Wading boots (preferably no studs)
- Wading socks (or whatever you need to wet wade)
- UV Buff or Sun Mask
- Fishing hat
- Polarized Sunglasses (an absolute MUST- while the expensive ones are great, a low cost polarized is 1000% times better than a non-polarized when sight fishing!)
- Stripping Guards/Stripping glove
- Light fleece
- Quick drying wading pants (we like the ones you can zip off)
Your guides have fly rods, reels and flies for your use while fishing with them. If you would like to bring your own, you are more than welcome to. Here are a few recommendations:
- 9wt rods are common, but some use 8wts if there is little to no wind and some use 10wts for those extra windy days.
- Our favorite fly line for the last few seasons is the Rio Outbound Short. It is a fantastic line that loads with ease for quick shots at cruising fish. There are lots of lines that will work though so feel free to ask. Most of your heavily weighted lines, like Magnum, Titan or Power tapers are fine. If you are unsure, please ask before buying a brand new line.
- 12lb flourocarbon is the norm for most fishing conditions.
- Plenty of backing. We like low diameter backing to get more capacity. Over 80% of these fish will take you into backing with ease, so make sure you have over 150 yards of backing!
- If you tie your own flies, we would be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Here are some of our favorites: Great Lakes Carp Flies