In an inspired moment last April, Jeff Smith of Traverse Magazine pulled together what he called the “Icons of the Fly Vest” — a list of genuinely rooted-in-Michigan trout flies that were, in his words, “invented in Northern Michigan and tricking fish around the planet.” The list includes the staples like the Adams, of course, but also includes less-well-known creations like Art Winnie’s Fore-and-aft and Paul Young’s Strawman Nymph — flies that were the berries in their day and still fish well, particularly if you want to don a straw hat and fish your cane rod far-and-fine.
Among the flies profiled, Smith also includes Earl Madsen’s AuSable Skunk, which is one of my favorite midsummer ties. Dennis Potter is doing a cool revisioning of the classic pattern and has step-by-step tying instructions published on the website of his Riverhouse Fly Company. Check it out.
For more on classic michigan flies, both old designs and new ones, too, it is also worth taking a look at Bob Linsenman’s essay “Ten Great Michigan Flies.” originally published in Michigan’s Streamside Journal.