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Top 5 Fall Fly Fishing Destinations Near the Midwest


If you are looking for some fall fly fishing destinations, you've come to right place!


Fall is the air. If you are like us, this season feels like Christmas. Sure, it's sad to see summer leave, but when it comes to fly fishing, nothing beats the fall. Fish are packing on weight for winter, spawn is going on in several areas, temperatures are dropping, and it's always nice to sit in a tree stand for a whitetail on an off weekend not on the water. If you are looking for a quick weekend fly fishing destination during this amazing time of the year, we can help. Below are the top five fall fly fishing destinations that we recommend. If you time it right, it could be your best trip of the year.


#5. Trail Creek, Indiana

Located just outside of the Greater Chicago area lies Michigan City. This small little town butts right up next to Lake Michigan as well as one of the hottest tributaries to Lake Michigan on the Indiana border. Trail Creek has quite a bit of private property, but there are also multiple public access spots that all boast large numbers of king salmon, lake run brown trout, skamania steelhead, as well as lake run steelhead and even coho all in the system. It can be said that there is a run of fish pretty much all year long. However, the fall is the best time to fish.


#4. Oak Orchard, New York

If you love fishing really close to people you don't know, Oak Orchard in Western New York might be your next favorite river. Even though Western New York is not considered the Midwest, it's close enough that most can make this trip in a long 3 or 4 day weekend. Make sure you have a dependable 8wt and a reel that can hold lots of backing Despite the multitudes of fishermen that you'll encounter, you'll find even more fish. Large lake run browns, huge king salmon, and tons of steelhead await. You'll be so busy fighting fish, you won't notice all the people standing around watching you while you do it.


#3. Driftless Area, Wisconsin

For years, the Driftless area of Wisconsin has been somewhat of a secret. However recently, that secret has been getting out. With trout numbers boasting 5000 to 10,000 per mile in some of the river systems, the Driftless should be heavily on your radar of fly fishing destinations to fish. For the most part, all you really need is a 5wt or 6wt and a good pair of wader boots. From there, just pull out a map, head to Viroqua, Wisconsin, and you are in business. Multitudes of public access and miles upon miles of streams all await. You know what else waits for you there? Brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, and big ones too.


#2. Vermilion River, Ohio

Do you love steelhead? Starting in October, steelhead love Ohio tribs. Just start at the Vermillion river off of lake Erie and check out the Rocky River, Chagrin River, Grand River and Conneaut Creek as well. Each one of these bodies of water get a great run of 5 to 7 pound steelhead and they are there until May when they head back out to the main lake to grow even bigger. Bring a 6wt or an 8wt, and if you can swing it, try to go on a weekday. You'll find a lot less competition for quality holes where the fish stack up.


#1. Manistee River, Michigan

Holly goodness. Perhaps no body of water on this list has the abundance of fish that the Manistee River sees throughout the fall. King salmon by the thousands flood this river from August to October. Then, here comes the steelhead who remain all winter in numbers that rival the kings. All in-between are brown trout, cohos, pinks, and rainbows eating eggs. If you throw big streamers, you can even luck into some large pike and smallmouth. Competition can be fierce for spots, especially at Tippy Dam, but if you walk the river a little, you'll find a hole. When you find a hole, you'll find fish - plain and simple.


So, what did we miss? Any place you like to go that puts these bodies of water to shame? If so, we'd love to hear it!


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