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The Best U.P. Trout Streams

We always get visiting anglers in the shops asking where the best or our favorite trout streams are. There really aren't any “secret” large trout rivers out there, somewhere that is free of line snagging trees, and undiscovered deep holes. The Escanaba River, The Fox, The Paint and thanks to Hemmingway, the Two Hearted are all widely known Blue Ribbon streams. While these rivers are fantastic, we are big fans of exploring more off the beaten path where we can find a stream of our own and have the beauty of solitude AND great fishing!

Trout often migrate up tributaries of larger lakes and rivers for spawning and feeding. With that in mind, you will have to do some homework. We sell topo maps for the Upper Peninsula that you can pour over to locate these small tributary streams that may house the trout that you are seeking!

So why don’t more people fish these small streams? We’re not going to lie, it’s hard! Precise casting in small streams can be difficult to make and backcasting is darn near impossible, so “specialized techniques” are often required to make an acceptable presentation. Another challenge is the trout can usually see or hear you and can be very weary. Anglers silhouetted against the sky are easily visible to trout swimming below and your presence will have them scattering for cover. A precaution you can take is to always approach a fishing hole as low as possible.  If possible, cast into the stream while standing several feet back from the bank to avoid detection.

Brook trout from a small stream in the eastern U.P.

Brook trout and a Redington fly reel in the water of an Upper Peninsula stream

By doing some research, get off the beaten path, and adjusting your techniques, you just might find your own trout stream. We feel that sometimes the best part about fishing in the U.P. isn’t just the catching of the fish or even just the fishing, it is the sense of exploration and discovery.

Want to find the “best U.P. trout stream? All you have to do is put in the effort to find these hidden spots.  Most times it just takes a long walk. Find a fishing spot on an out of the way stream that is difficult to get to and more often than not, you’ll be rewarded with bigger trout. Anglers who put in the effort with a map and a good pair of boots will often find themselves at one of the “best” U.P. trout streams!

Looking up at a rainbow trout in the clear waters of the Upper Peninsula

Getting some casts after work in the backcountry of a small U.P. trout stream