Overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan, the Orvis Michigan Fly Fishing Schools combine northwoods beauty and classic elegance at The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. After matching the hatch on Michigan’s famed Manistee, or Boardman Rivers, you can choose to relax at the beach, play some golf or tennis, or explore the beautiful sand beaches of Grand Traverse Bay. The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is home to our two day fly fishing schools which include wading the famous Boardman River where the Adams fly was invented. Miles of streams are available after class, or take in the sun on the Resort’s private Lake Michigan beachfront.
Schools utilize private trout ponds and classrooms, as well as serene stretches of the Boardman River only a few minutes away. Orvis Michigan is designed to introduce the intricacies of fly fishing to an absolute novice, but even experienced fly anglers will find personal and advanced instruction tailored to their level of experience. From knots to entomology, casting to tackle, the instructors at Orvis Michigan will fully prepare you to step into the stream.
One of the attractions of the Orvis Michigan Fly Fishing School is the variety of rivers that surround the resort. While the Manistee River’s “flies only” water lures most of our float and wade trip anglers, the Boardman River and public access is only minutes away. (Note: The famous Adams fly was invented on the Boardman River in nearby Mayfield, Michigan.) The Manistee is nearly a mirror image of its sister river, the AuSable River. Miles of easily waded gravel and sand bottom and easy access makes the Manistee River the river of choice to set out on your own. The river is approximately thirty to sixty feet across in most stretches and boasts prolific hatches. While the Boardman River is a little narrower (twenty to forty feet across in the upper reaches) it too has open stretches that are especially inviting for the novice angler. Both rivers have easy public access, are two to four feet in depth, and are only twenty to thirty minutes from the shop. Spring runs of steelhead and fall runs of Chinook and Coho salmon crowd the local rivers which offer wadeable water only 45 minutes away.
Streamside Orvis in downtown Traverse City and Orvis Michigan Fly Fishing School at The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa both have easy to follow maps to the river and can offer timely information regarding hatches and conditions.
Early season angling students in April and May will find good hatches of black caddis, Hendricksons and early black stoneflies. Wild trout feed on these early hatches once waters warm into the low 50’s. While weather can be cold and water is a little high, some Spring days can be surprisingly warm and our waters lower and clear quickly each Spring. April and early May temperatures average in the low 50’s but can reach mid 60’s on a good day. By mid and late May the temperatures are consistently warm and we start seeing good numbers of Hendricksons, caddis and the start of the sulfur mayflies. June begins with sulfur mayflies that hatch in the early evening and ends with brown drakes and the famous “Hex” hatch that comes off at sunset and into the darkness. These hatches can move fish as large as 30 inches! July begins with the “Hex” hatch (i.e. hexagenia limbata) and finishes with the best weather of the year and the start of terrestrial season. Hoppers, beetles, ants, etc. dominate the trout’s diet for the next month and a half. As we approach September and cooler weather, we turn our attention to streamer fishing and tiny blue wing olive mayflies. Certainly, there is always a challenging and exciting variety of insects and conditions on the many watersheds that surround Traverse City and The Grand Traverse Resort.
Brown trout, rainbow trout and brook trout are found in these waters. These are wild trout that reproduce naturally and thrive with the help of Trout Unlimited, the Boardman River Restoration Project, Conservation Resource Alliance and other active organizations that protect the unique cold water resource around the Traverse City region. While hatches of caddis and some mayfly hatches occur at various times of the day all summer long, the late night hatches are most desirable because they draw more of the large nocturnal feeding brown trout. Manistee and Boardman River trout average 10 to 15 inches, but the hatches raise the average size to 12 to 16 inches. Certainly, it is common to have fish in the 16 to 20 inch size feed aggressively while these hatches and spinner falls are occurring. Downstream on the lower Manistee River, late August turns the guides’ attention to Lake Michigan coho and Chinook salmon. This migration of large fish culminates in October with a fall run of steelhead. Steelhead fishing continues all winter and peaks with the huge Spring run of steelhead in March and April. These enormous 8 to 15 pound lake-run rainbow trout draw anglers from around the world. Guides utilize traditional sink tip, indicator, nymphing and “chuck and duck” methods to land these silvery sticks of dynamite. Guides also float and wade the Betsie and Lower Manistee Rivers for salmon and steelhead. Farther south and later in the runs, our guides float the Muskegon and Pere Marquette Rivers. Streamside Orvis can guide you and your guests or clients on more water and for more of the season than any other outfitter.
Fishing our local rivers does not require a boat. However, guides are available for full day and half day float and wade trips on the Manistee and Boardman Rivers. Or, take a private lesson to review the finer points of fly casting and fly angling. Instructors and guides are available all summer long. Because some hatches attract more anglers than others, we recommend that you book a guide early if you want the float the better hatches after the school.
Orvis Michigan students and Streamside guided anglers enjoy staying at the luxurious Grand Traverse Resort and Spa which offers a wide range of accomadations.
Your day will begin in Traverse City at Orvis Streamside. Lectures on tackle, aquatic entomology, fly selection, and knots compliment the finest fly casting instruction in the industry. Your day will culminate on the Boardman River south of Traverse with demonstrations of fishing dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. Then… you’ll wade and fish the Boardman River with supervision for the rest of the afternoon. One day schools include course materials, use of all tackle, and lunch. Transportation is not included. The only school better than an Orvis One Day School is our famous Two Day School curriculum.
ONE DAY SCHOOLS ARE HELD IN TRAVERSE CITY AT STREAMSIDE ORVIS AND CULMINATES WITH FISHING ON THE BOARDMAN RIVER.
One Day School $279.00 per person. For information regarding lodging, go to: The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
Or call (231) 933-9300
Lectures on tackle, aquatic entomology, fly selection, and knots compliment the finest fly casting instruction in the industry. Your first day at The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa will culminate on the school’s private trout pond. Sunday’s class will begin in our classroom in our Traverse City classroom at Streamside Orvis which is only 10 minutes from the Grand Traverse Resort. The School’s classroom puts us closer to the beautiful Boardman River where after lunch you will spend the rest of the day wading the river and fishing for wild brook and brown trout. Two day schools include course materials, use of all tackle including waders, and lunch. Transportation is not included.
TWO DAY SCHOOLS BEGIN WITH CLASS AT THE GRAND TRAVERSE RESORT AND SPA IN ACME, MICHIGAN. THE SECOND DAY OF CLASS BEGINS IN DOWNTOWN TRAVERSE CITY AT ORVIS STREAMSIDE AND CULMINATES WITH FISHING ON THE BOARDMAN RIVER.
Two Day School $489.00 per person. For information regarding lodging, go to: Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
Or call (231) 933-9300
SELECT A 1 0R 2 DAY SCHOOL ABOVE
Overall Rating: 5.0/5
(21 of 21 reviews would recommend this school)
"I am writing to share my highest compliments of Dave, Tyler, Kole and Mike with Traverse City, MI Orvis on my experience with their 2-day fly fishing school. The gear and tackle presentations were thorough but not too much (they touched on every subject i was hoping for), the fly casting practice was fun and pushed you to work through a variety of scenarios, the entymology and fly selection portion hit the "need to knows, " and the on-the-water practice was a perfect culmination of the learned material. They were all extremely friendly, patient and kind. I lucked out to have a great group of fellow students from various parts of the country and we all had a great time. At the after-fishing bar stop, we agreed we were impressed, learned a lot, and felt the school was well worth the cost. These guys deserve kudos for the great job they did, and i really appreciated the opportunity to learn from them.
August 14, 2022
“Having Day 2 in the store made for a perfect setting. I could have spent four hours there just asking questions... Thank you again for the great weekend."
August 31, 2020
"I wanted to thank you for an enjoyable and informational class that you hosted this weekend."
“Michael and I had a fabulous day learning how to flyfish. Thank you so much!”
Gene and Michael
We would like to thank you all for teaching us all about fly fishing — we are certainly looking forward to using what we learned. HUGE thank you for helping me get over the fear of water… Thinking about doing a guide trip on a boat. Look out fish! I don’t look at streams along highways now without thinking… “FLY FISHING! ”
Ginger and Doug
Spent two days learning what I don’t know about fly fishing. One thing the staff kept mentioning was no matter how much you know you can never know everything. I had so much fun and met some of the very best people as students and instructors.
My goal for attending this class was to leave proficient enough at fly casting that I could actually catch fish with a fly rod instead of sticking the fly in my back. Mission accomplished. The lead instructor and his two assistants were very knowledgeable and patient making it very easy to understand the concepts and actually apply them. I would recommend this to anyone interested in fly fishing. Had I done this before I tried learning on my own I am sure I could have saved myself hours of frustration.
I attended the two-day class during Labor Day Weekend 2015. The instruction was fantastic, with a great mix of classroom and in-stream work. Our guide was really gifted at being able to answer questions based on the experience level of the student, and also at adjusting his teaching style to what worked best for each individual.
The environment – whether in the classroom, at the Orvis shop, or in the stream – was always relaxed and positive.
After class, I only made it out in my home water one more time before the season closed, but I had my best day ever, by far! Now, I’m not claiming that my skills doubled over those two days, but I’ll tell you this: my confidence did! The instruction was very thorough, so I do feel like a learned a lot. More than that though, I’m a novice; every time I had fished previously, dozens of questions raced through my mind about choices of fly, tippet, where I was standing, where I was casting… Having someone walk me through every aspect of it – and then actually go out on the stream and do it – that was worth every penny. Plus, it was a lot of fun! I would highly recommend the school to anyone
August 19, 2014
from Lansing, Mi
“I’d like to start by stating “I was not a fly guy”. I worked many years as a trip coordinator for an outdoor production company. I dealt with many A+ outfitters all around the world from Jaco to Ciaro. The attention and enthusiasm I received from our guide was among the best in the World. I have now grown into a “river rat” and I blame Michael every weekend I leave to “slay some trout”!! I would recommend Streamside to any level flier. Two thumbs up! Thanks again for burning a passion!”
“Great Introduction to FF,”
May 17, 2014
from Torch Lake, MI
“Instructors Mike and Greg were very articulate instructors and clearly passionate about fly fishing. I was a total novice to the sport before the class. I HIGHLY recommend buying and reading Tom Rosenbauer’s “The Orvis Fly-fishing Guide” before taking the course. The Homestead is a terrific location with some phenomenal restaurants very close by. I live nearby and will definitely be hiring these guys as guides as I get to learn the local rivers.”
“Couldn’t B better,”
October 15, 2013
from Glen Arbor MI
“I had done a “little” FF in the past and decided to get serious. This was the right school to do that. All instructor, Dave, Jim and Craig were very helpful to keep me on the right track and practice what I had learned. Their knowledge is superior . This school(Glen Arbor) is a must for anyone thinking of trying FF. I have already recommended the school and Dave to serveral friends and have no reservations in doing so.”
June 16, 2013
“I just completed the two day fly fishing school with Streamside Orvis in Traverse City, Michigan. I had an amazing time! Dave is a wonderful instructor. He is so passionate about the sport and so patient with his students. He took great care in teaching me not only the basics – about which I feel MUCH more comfortable now – but also the particularized techniques he judged that I need for the type of fly fishing travel I intend to do and my particular skill set. The curriculum was great, the lessons learned were great, and the care Dave and his staff took with my class was great. I absolutely recommend the experience – I have been dinking around for months with fly fishing, unsuccessfully, and finally feel like I have a future in this sport!”
May 28, 2013
“Just returned from the two day fly fishing school in Glen Arbor, MI.
I highly recommend this school to anyone. Dave and Jim are truly passionate about fly fishing and their passion is contagious. The instruction is well organised and there is alot of indivdual attention. If I were doing this again the only thing I would change would be to add a few days of guided fishing after the School. The Glen Arbor, Traverse City area is a beautiful vibrant area with great trout streams and also plenty to do -great restaurants, wineries and micro- breweries to visit when you get off the river. This would make a great vacation.”
“What’s Hatching Dude?,”
May 7, 2013
“My wife and I participated in the 2 day school offered by Streamside Orvis and we could not have been more pleased. Dave and Jim are obsessed with Fly Fishing and it is contagious! They stuck to the basics and gave us just enough to be informative yet fun. Even if you never wet a line on your own you will enjoy this school and the beautiful Northern Michigan location. CharminCharlie”
“Fun, Outstanding Instruction,”
May 6, 2013
“I have wanted to learn how to fly fish for over two years. Due to a busy schedule and true lack of confidence in what I was doing out there, I hadn’t given the sport any time or energy. That all changed last weekend when I took the 2 day course through Streamside Orvis In Traverse City. The instructors are fantastic in all aspects and will equip you with the tools and the know-how to develop your new hobby or to tweak your current skillset. Most importantly, you will leave with the confidence to go out and attempt to master this complex sport. The equipment is great, the surroundings are beautiful, and if nothing else, it is a great vacation experience (even if you’re a local). Thanks to Dave, Jim, and Kelly for all that you’ve done!”
“Great Instructor/Great Time,”
September 5, 2012
from Northern Indiana
“Just completed the Flyfishing School at Traverse City, Mi, 25-26 Aug 12. Great time, and only 3 in class. Lots of personal attention and correction when needed. It was well worth the time and money spent. Nice area at Sleeping Bear, Homestead Resort was great also. Plan to go up again for Steelhead and Salmon with reccomended guide. Orvis fly shop very helpfull in selection rod/reel package for the Steelhead. Thanks everyone. Jeff”
“Never Too Old To Learn,”
September 9, 2009
“When I was in my 20s and 30s I thoroughly enjoyed fly fishing. For whatever reason, I laid my stick down. Now in retirement, I am again enjoying the sport immensely. I have been considering taking the Orvis fly fishing course in Glen Arbor for several years now. I knew that I needed additional help to refine my casting technique. Proper knot selection, knot tying, and entomology were also not my strongest “suits”. This past Thursday I conducted a live chat with Orvis, and Dan was able to get me registered for the class that started on Saturday in Glen Arbor.
June 2, 2009
“What a wonderful two days.
Casey, Greg, and Mike were very patient and
focused on making sure we were improving our skills and knowledge as we progressed over our two day learning adventure.
Dave, as always. is very entertaining.
We are looking forward to our next “guided” adventure
in beautiful Northern Michigan.”
“Fly Fishing School 1st class of 2008,”
April 30, 2008
from kalamazoo, Michigan
“I very much enjoyed the school given by Dave and Casey of Orvis in Traverse City Michigan. They had a great understanding of the sport of fly fishing and were able to easily communicate and teach the basics of fly fishing to the group. They were entertaining, catering, and overall professional in their instruction. I am certain this gave me a good fundamental base to the sport. I look forward to bugging them in the future for great spots to fish in the area and for continuing advice on products and techniques as my skills improve. I would not hesitate in the least to recommend their course. Good fishing my friends.”
Fly Fishing School,
November 20, 2007
“The fly fishing school (2 day) program is outstanding… add to that a great resort to stay at The Homestead Resort, Glen Arobot Michigan, it doesn’t get much better..”