Boardman River Fly Fishing

The Boardman River flows into the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The Boardman’s upper tributaries rise near Kalkaska, Michigan, and its watershed drains an area of 295 sq. miles through 130 miles of river and tributaries. The Boardman River is considered one of the top ten trout streams in Michigan. Before entering the Grand Traverse Bay, it becomes Boardman Lake, which is really just a wide, deep stretch of the river about 5 miles long and a half mile wide. This part of The Boardman River is accessible by motorboat through downtown Traverse City to Grand Traverse Bay.

The Boardman is a special little river has driven many a fisherman back to golf. It has been said that “when you can consistently catch fish in the Boardman you can catch fish anywhere”. It’s one of the prettiest rivers in Michigan and has some of the biggest browns to be found anywhere, but it’s tough!

It’s a relatively small river and winds around wildly, making it very difficult for two people to cast from the boat. It can be done but both anglers need to be advanced casters. The Boardman warms very slowly and thus fishes much better mid and late season. Often when everything else is to warm to fish well, the Boardman is just coming into it’s own, mid July and August are my personal favorite months to fish this river.