Guide Trip FAQ

You've booked your guide trip... Now what??

Here are several things you’ll need to bring with you:

  • Michigan Fishing License. We do not sell fishing licenses at our shop. You can purchase one online here and print it out ahead of time. At the very least you'll need a 24-hour license.
  • Polarized Sunglasses. There are a must as they will help your vision on the water, greatly improving your chances and enjoyment. They also serve as an important safety measure as our sport revolves around sharp things flying through the air. Our fly shop offers premium sunglasses from Costa and Smith and budget models from Suncloud.
  • Proper Clothing. We fish in every season and weather condition in Northern Michigan. Having the correct clothing can make or break your day on the water. We always recommend dressing in layer and having rain gear with you.


Here is a list of what we typically provide on our guided fishing trips:

  • All Necessary Equipment. We know it's tough to travel with all your own gear so we provide nearly everything you'll need at no extra charge. This includes rods, reels, line, leaders, tippet and even flies. So travel light, we have you covered.
  • Transportation. Leaving your car with the family for the day? No problem. We're more than happy to provide transportation to and from the river. Our guides are flexible and happy to accommodate any special needs.
  • Food & Drink. Our half day trips include snacks and non-alcoholic drinks so you can stay fueled for fishing. Full day outings include a meal. Please be sure to mention any dietary restrictions beforehand so we can make appropriate preparations.


These are some important policies that you should be aware of:

  • Cancellation Policy. Our guides work full-time and rely on these trips to feed their families. Any and all cancellations need to be made thirty days prior to you scheduled guide trip. We will make every effort to re-book your date. However, if we cannot re-book that date, you will forfeit the guide fee. Rescheduling your trip is not the same as cancelling. We understand life is unpredictable and we will do our best to stay flexible with you.
  • Drugs & Alcohol. Legally, we are unable to provide any alcoholic beverages for your time on the water but please know you are welcome to provide your own. Everyone has a different idea of a good time, we get that. Please know that we cannot endanger our business so please keep anything illegal at home.
  • Catch & Release. Our guides practice catch and release fishing, plain and simple. Please do not try and negotiate this, you will just embarrass yourself. The wild fish in these rivers allow us to provide for our families. 


Let's talk Traverse City, it’s a family paradise.

  • Where can I stay? Traverse City has more places to stay than you'll know what to do with. Luckily, TC Tourism has compiled an extensive list of resorts, hotels, cabins and campgrounds sorted by seasonal availability so you can find the perfect home base for your time up north.
  • What is there to do? Traverse City might be the best place to be outdoors in the whole state. We have beaches, trails, vistas, waters ports, wineries, breweries and plenty of things for the kids too. Check out TC Tourism's list of activities available separated out by the season.
  • Where should I eat? This might be the most difficult questions we get at The Northern Angler; there are seemingly endless options. Although it's difficult to beat a Folgarellis sandwich for lunch (they are right next door), we do like to branch out from time to time. For an exhaustive list of options, TC Tourism has a great list of restaurants so you can get exactly what you're craving. If you want a personal recommendation, ask your guide or shop staff - we have some local favorites for you to check out.


Other Burning Questions

  • Do I have to tip my guide? We'll leave this up to you but if you feel your guide deserves a tip at the end of the day, a 15-20% tip is standard.
  • Can I bring my own equipment? Absolutely. We know how nice is it to cast the rod you are used to. Our guides will bring all the necessary equipment in case you want to try something different or conditions necessitate tactics to change. Rain gear, waders, and apparel not provided.
  • Where do we meet? We always prefer to meet our clients at our fly shop in Downtown Traverse City but understand that is not always possible. We are flexible and happy to negotiate alternating meeting places if necessary.
  • How can I be sure to have a good experience? Have a conversation with your guide or the shop staff about realistic expectations and your skill level. Do not be embarrassed if you're a beginner or haven't cast in over a year! The more information our guides have, the better they can focus your time on the water and ensure you enjoy yourself.