Joe's Summer Staff Picks

We love summer fishing. Whether you're working hoppers down a seam line for trout or bouncing crayfish patters for smallmouth, there is something special about warm summer days spent on the cool waters of Northern Michigan.

We asked our staff members to pick out some of their must-have items for summer fishing. 

Joe King, Shop Staff

"Every summer I find myself picking a focus for the season, though I certainly don’t ignore the other options outright.  Last year was pike and small trout streamers.  This season I’ve focused a lot on smallmouth in rivers and lakes around the area. 

I love smallies because they pose a bigger challenge by virtue of their roaming habits and moodiness, but they aren’t unattainable.  They’ll sip surface presentations like trout, or they’ll absolutely truck your streamer.  In either case, they fight like hell the whole way to the boat.  Smallies are also an underdog fish.  They are native, haven’t needed support to maintain robust populations, and are not appreciated enough for their beauty.  The rising sun on their cheeks and the tiger stripes on their flanks? When they pop, they’re just as pleasing to the eye as brown trout to me. "


This is such a great piece of gear.  I keep ALL of my warm water flies in this box.  One side is for pike and the other is for smallmouth.This thing lives in a milk crate that holds all of my other gear for bass and pike.  When it’s time to go I simply grab the crate and I’ve got the leader material, tools, and extra spools for everything I need for a kayak or boat trip, or to build out smaller boxes and vests for wading.  Can’t recommend this box enough. 


I love the B.A.G. because it forces me to slow down and enjoy casting, which means I enjoy fishing that much more.  As an added bonus, it’s simply flat out more fun to fight fish on.

Scientific Anglers Sonar Triple Density Lines

If I had to pick one line for both river and lake fishing around here, it’d be the I-2-3. It has a delicate enough presentation and hits a sink rate that allows you to fish slower when you need to on rivers, but also can be counted down when you need to fish off of shelves on our lakes during the summer.

Fluorescent Bead Chain

Hard not to love these for smallies.  Great way to add contrast with a hot spot and get the fly down out of the film even on a floating line.  They also still let you stall the fly, which is key a lot of the time.

Loon D-Loop Tweezers

This is a secret weapon on the tying bench.  Very versatile tool that I find myself reaching for a lot.  It’s strong enough to do whatever complex-style loops you’d like and works great on rabbit. It’s also delicate enough to use for things like CDC on dries and nymphs.  Fantastic tying tool with multiple applications. 

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