Last Friday I drove seven hours north to the awesome town of Charlevoix Michigan to board a
ferry boat for a two hour cruise to the mythical Beaver Island. I’d been looking forward to this for months. I’d seen what others had landed up there and was ready for some carp on a fly. We got on the island Friday afternoon and met up with Kevin and Steve not long after. We pretty much made a bee line for the bar for food and drinks. After a day of windshield watching a beer was much needed.
The weather Saturday was perfect. I was with the four other guys from my fishing club and Kevin and Steve can only take two fisherman per day, so I decided to go explore the island. Kevin gave me his truck, a map, and pointed out some spots. I got to a spot and realized how truly remote it is out there. I could see a random house here and there, but they looked like nobody was home. Vacation homes I guess. There was zero cell signal, that was kind of nice to be honest. I tossed on the waders, grabbed my backpack with the camera, fly box, some water, and walked. And walked. I walked a lot. Kevin said I’d have a hike if I wanted to find the fish. He wasn’t kidding. I started seeing carp here and there. No groups, but single and double fish cruising the skinny water. Speaking of the water. It’s clear. Super clear. These aren’t dirtball Midwest carp, these are clean water golden tanks. I got a shot at a few and had no takes. I spotted a nice carp cruising and slowly followed him across the flat. I got up on a rock and made a presentation to him. Nothing. He was about twenty foot away when I laid the fly ten feet in front of him, which was ten feet from me as he was cruising at the rock I was standing on. I stripped the carp breakfast twice and he sucked it right up. He ripped the fly line and most of my backing off the reel. I realized at this time, my camera was across the flat, so I walked over one hundred yards backwards, avoiding rocks in waist deep water, all while fighting a pissed off carp. That single carp was worth the time and effort it took to get to Beaver Island. I say that because that was the only carp I caught on Beaver Island.
I hiked a few miles back to the truck after he swam away and during the hike back realized Kevin had my lunch. Luckily I always pack a granola bar or ten. Ian and Scotty got to the island Saturday night and we all went out to the Shamrock for dinner and another bar later. Gary, Don, and Kevin had all boated carp. Scott had lost one at the boat. It was what we’d come for, you can’t ask for more. I crashed hard after a few drinks that night with Kevin, Steve, Ian and Scotty. Nothing like a long hike and a few beers to put you on your ass. Woke up to rain smacking the hotel and my hopes for some Sunday carp kind of tanked. The weatherman said by noon it would clear and we’d have sun. I don’t trust those people. That front and the rain must have messed with the carp because they were to quote Steve, “being pricks”. They were too. The shots I got were ten foot too far away, sometimes before we got a shot at them they spooked, and when I did get the fly to them, those bastards would change direction like they knew it was there. Sunday humbled me in a big way. My casting wasn’t up to par and it was bugging me, causing me to cast worse. Sometimes you need that, being humbled. While searching for the non existent carp, we got on some crazy smallmouth and the skunk was off. The smallmouth season doesn’t start until July 1st, so we couldn’t target them, but we caught some, they eat carp patterns. I’m not gonna complain when a big smallie bends a 9 wgt rod like a toy when the carp are being dicks. I want to go back to Beaver next year after July 1st to target smallies for a day, it would be worth it.
So no carp were put in the boat on Sunday when I fished with Steve. That’s fishing. Sometimes the quarry doesn’t cooperate. The accidental 4.5 and 4.7 pound smallmouth more than made up for that. I haven’t caught a smallie that size in a long time. Sunday I also had some weird pain in my side. This pain made me want to curl up in a ball. Because of this pain that I couldn’t figure out, I got off Beaver Island on the Sunday boat. That sucked because I’d planned on trying to do some photography with Ian, but I figured I’d be safe in case it was something major. I felt a bit better the next morning and am fine now. Go figure. It just means I have to go back. I plan on it. Next summer I’ll be on Beaver hunting carp with two of the very best carp guides out there.
Kevin and Steve are not just great guys to kick it with, they are professionals in every aspect. If you ever have the chance to make it to Beaver Island to fish with Indigo Guide Service, you will definitely not be disappointed. It looks like the Bahamas with pine trees.
For more info on Beaver Island carp fishing check out Indigo Guide Service and to keep up on their fishing, check out Third Coast Fly.
Also, keep checking out Ian’s website Warmwater Chronicles for upcoming Beaver posts.
Here’s some random photos from the trip