Grayling, Michigan, has been named this year in Forbes Magazine’s list of the top ten trout fishing towns in North America. Grayling joins the list which includes such notables as West Yellowstone, MT, Roscoe, NY, State College, PA, Glenwood Springs, CO, Mountain Home, AR, and Redding, CA — all-in-all, quite good company.
Northern Michigan has been well-represented in the “best of” lists in recent years, especially when it comes to the sporting life. In 2008 Field and Stream picked Traverse City as one of the top ten fishing towns in America, the editors noting that “between May and October, there is no consistently better place to be fishing in America than Traverse City, Mich.”
In the November/December 2005 issue of Fly Rod & Reel Traverse City was also chosen as one of twelve best retirement towns for the dedicated fly angler due to the proximity of world-class fly angling and the relatively low cost of living in the area.
I don’t think anyone would argue with Grayling’s position on the Forbes list, though reading the list of communities that the magazine selected for inclusion reminds me a bit of a long passage in Paul Schullery’s essay, “All the Young Men with Fly Rods,” where he reflects on youthful years spent bumming a bit more around the country looking for great trout water. He correctly notes:
“There is one piece of property that the modern trout bum finds almost essential for full exercise of the art these days, and that’s a reliable car. Some modern trout bums can practice their creed from one spot, but most of us need mobility. I certainly did. For some reason, I have always kept a simple “auto log” for each can I owned. As I look through the log I used back then, it tells much more of a story than would seem possible in what is really only a list of gasoline prices, dates, and places. But even to the causal fisherman some of the names that appear would be familiar and might suggest the car’s real mission: Key West, Grayling, and lots of places that end in “falls,” “creek,” or “river.” And to the more serious fisherman there is every indication of an odyssey here: Steamboat, Livingston, Jackson, Roscoe, Homestead. And for the absolute angling fanatic, the single-minded pilgrim, there is the final proof, the harder-to-learn names that say ‘Here, far from anywhere you’d think, here is the real mainstream’: Glide, Agness, Mio, Marblemount.”