Nomad Anglers Fly Fishing Outfitters

Grand Rapids | East Lansing | Rochester Hills | Michigan

  • Changes

    Wed 6/21/17

    A few nights ago we finally had one of those nights that you dream about. A lot of blurry fish pictures, bent rods, and joyful chuckles in the boat until 4:00 am. I’ll follow that by saying that for several nights prior to that we got our tails kicked. By the weather, by the bugs, by the trout. When the weather and bugs cooperated, the trout that we set up on seemed to be the smartest in the river. Then, something changed. Good drifts that had been going uneaten, began getting eaten. Fish that seemed like they were only rising sporadically finally got into a rhythm. Fish that rose 30 yards behind the boat began rising before we floated by. Most of all, it seemed like hard work had finally started paying off. Although, I did shave my beard. I’m not totally superstitious, but I think this may have played a role in all this.



    This time of year it is easy to get caught up in the pressure of trying to find big bugs and big fish after dark. Don’t get me wrong, chasing bugs and fish are all that I think about at work during the day. But, I had the pleasure of watching a new fly angler land her first trout last Saturday during an afternoon float. It was a pretty 7 inch brook trout that ate a dust bunny she lazily skated in the film. On a side note, as we really get into attractor season, the dust bunny is one of my favorite daytime patterns for this time of year, as well as the Purple Patriot and a small #14 Chubby Chernobyl. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the progression of emotions in that short 40 second fight. Her immediate confusion about the tug at the end of her line quickly turned to shock, and finally to elation once she realized she’d landed her first trout on a fly. No head lamps, no deet, no pressure. Just flip flops, shorts and some floatant. This was just as special for me as slipping the net under a twenty inch fish for a close friend the following evening.



    Unfortunately, I’ve had commitments other than fishing the past two evenings and haven’t gotten to see how this cold front has really affected things. Last week I wrote that consistent daytime temperatures around 80° were speeding things up on the rivers here in Northern Michigan. But, the past few days the weather has changed. It’s been rainy and cold, and I see several days forecasted in the 60’s coming up. I think this may end up being a good thing to tell you the truth. I doubt anglers will go out and see crazy Hex spinnerfalls or clouds of Isos above the riffles every evening, but there will be bugs and there will be fish caught. The cold and rain will keep the Hex hatching and spinning on the Au Sable for a while longer. The Upper Manistee is still relatively high and dirty. It seems like that weird stage between drakes (which were still going strong through the weekend) and Hex may last a few extra days on the Upper Manistee this year. Chatting with other anglers this past weekend was amusing. For every one that said they had a great night, there was at least one that said they didn’t. I overheard a conversation between anglers at the takeout that involved the statement “wonky and weird” on one side and “one of my best nights” on the other. I don’t think this has much to do with the difference in angler skill level. I believe it is much more attributable to chance. The whole right place, right time idea. The one thing that I’ve learned about fishing during late June/early July is that it is all about putting in the work. Stay patient and persistent and it will pay off, probably handsomely.


  • Did We Bring The Net??

    Friday 6/8

    A few bends down from the launch last night Justin hooked a fish while casting a new rod. As he played the trout, I reached to the place where the net is usually kept in the boat… no dice. “Did we grab the net?” I asked, sarcastically. The answer was no, so after quickly releasing the fish we debated whether rowing several hundred yards back to the launch or walking back on what appeared to be a road on the satellite map (it wasn’t) was the safest bet to quickly get the net before continuing the evening float. We went with option two, and before I knew it, I was jogging back to the truck in flip flops. To make matters worse, the road turned out to be an overgrown powerline of ankle deep muck. This made for a wonderful start to the float. As for as the actual fishing is concerned, the bugs were sparse and the ones that we were chasing never showed up. Despite this, most of the trout that we cast to, we caught. At least we used the net.



    In short, we’ve had to work pretty hard for the trout that we’ve caught over the last week, and the hatches on most rivers here in northern Michigan are moving along quickly now that daytime temperatures have consistently been around 80®. Drakes can still be found in the rivers that take a little longer to warm up. I watched a nice fish feed on hatching drakes around 10:00 am while wading the river for work yesterday morning. He seemed far too big to be showing himself in the bright sun at that time of day. Maybe he knew I was working and didn’t have a rod handy. On Monday evening I worked several fish feeding on Isonychias in a heavy riffle. For those of you who’ve never fished Isos, they are a blast. Because they emerge in faster water, the fish feed on Isos relatively aggressively. I’ve found that this makes presentation slightly less important than normal, and that fishing a wetfly off the bend of your dry is effective. Unlike the big bugs that we often chase this time of year, this hatch stays pretty consistent for the better part of a month and I look forward to the next chance I get to go sit and work fish eating Isos.


    Anglers in the southern portion of the state should be able to find Hex pretty regularly at this point, and I heard the first report this morning of Hex on the windows of local businesses surrounding a lake here in northern Michigan. I would imagine that many anglers up here have begun chasing them in the warmer, lower sections of systems like the Au Sable and the Pere Marquette. I expect that within the next few days those chasing will find. Being the first angler to put a Hex pattern over a big fish can pay great dividends. I plan on chasing drakes at least once more, and I’ll probably begin looking in the muck for Hex shucks too. There is also a good chance that I get out the box of mice in the next few days and travel to some streams that I know don’t get a strong Hex hatch. This seems like a nice way to get a section of river to myself. If you’re going to make the trip up north, don’t be afraid to do a little exploring and take some chances. Some of my best nights have begun with a strong feeling of doubt that I had made the right decision about where to fish. In my opinion, it is much better to get to a system before the bugs arrive than after they’re gone. But, don’t forget the net.


  • Trout Selectivity Clinic - Matt Supinski

    9:00 - 12:00 Learning Michigan Spring creeks and Tailwaters from a Global Application and Selectivity- How the trout behaves trough PFP (Predator foraging profiles) to the hatches/prey/predator relationships, selectivity in Dries, emergers, nymphs, midges and streamers.
    1:00 - 3:00 Fly pattern tying for imitating Selective trout presentations- bring tying kits

    3:00 -5:00 How Trout Feed and Lunker Stalking /Video and Power Point

    8:00 am until all day and hatches “Boots in the Water” A day in the water with Matt going over a full day’s agenda on approach, tactics, dries, nymphing, streamers, casting, approach, entomology, hatches, prey identification and success totally geared for Michigan’s woody spring creeks and tailwaters like the Rogue and Muskegon and anywhere in the world! Focus on Gray Drakes, Isonychias, Sulphers, Quills, BWO’s , also all the other hatches- AND!, the much misunderstood and under fished Midges and Scuds of Michigan, which are getting stronger each year!

    When: June 3rd & 4th 2017
    Where: Nomad Anglers Grand Rapids & Rogue River
    Time: Saturday 9am - 5pm - In Class Sunday 8am - 4pm - On Water
    Price: $295 Per Person
    Please RSVP
    517.349.6696 or


  • Fly Fishing Film Tour


    The Fly Fishing Film Tour will be Tuesday, March 28th at Studio C! in Okemos.  Doors open at 6 pm and show starts at 7 pm.  Tickets available at our East Lansing shop for $15.  Invite your friends for a fun night of fly fishing films.

    There are still a couple spots available for our Smallmouth Bass class March 22nd in East Lansing.  $20 per person, all materials provided - class starts at 6 pm.  Please email us to RSVP.

    MUSKY FLY TYING CLASS - Eli from Great Lakes Flies wants to do a Musky fly tying class at our Rochester Hills store in one of the next 2 weekends.  The cost is $80 per person and will cover 5-6 Musky patterns.  Please email if you are interested.




  • Fishing Report


    A good number of Steelhead are in the rivers across the West-side of Michigan.   The Muskegon, Grand and Pere Marquette all have fishable numbers with fish eager to take eggs and nymphs under a float. Here is a winter fish from MSU professor Dr.Urqhart spending the day with student Cole from our East Lansing shop.

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