Fly Fishing in Grand Marais

Spring fly fishing on the north shore is arguably the best time of year to target Lake Superior’s trout and salmon species. Experienced fisherman and fly fishing guide James Eagan of Stone Harbor provides his insights into fishing in and around Grand Marais, Minnesota during the Spring Run.

fly fishing in grand marais, mn
A typical fly fishing adventure with James Eagan.

James Eagan’s Fly Tips

“East Bay is in the heart of Grand Marais, and Grand Marais is in perfect East-West position on Highway 61 for spring-run fly-fishermen and women.

Our downtown protected harbor warms in the spring earlier than Lake Superior, and the warmer waters attract baitfish – and trout and salmon in pursuit of them. Streamers that can run deep (using sinking fly lines or splitshot or weighted flies) and retrieved slowly are the first recommendation; after that move to size #8-#12 generalized nymphs in the same manner.

Steelhead will be attracted to any spring-melt, rainwater flows coming down from the Sawbill Mountains, and this time of year many smaller creeks will attract steelhead.  Any creek with an egress to Superior and with brown, warmer water is a possible spot to fish. Cast right into the culverts under 61 with an imitation egg – hard- or soft-plastic or yarn.

It’s not just the fish and the fishing that bring people to the North Shore. Several of the major rivers have magnificent cascades under which great pools have developed over millennia.  Even smaller streams within 10-15 minutes of downtown Grand Marais have beautiful waterfalls under which steelhead stack up. In these waters, again, you may need weighted flies or weights to get down to the bottom of roiling pools.  Stonefly and Prince nymphs are classic options; as are any egg imitation.

Remember that water temperature is important:  generally, any ice needs to be out from the streams, with a temperature around 35F, for fish to move upstream.  Peak spawn will occur at 42F. Rain is helpful: the second day following a good rain is often great. And it is very important to keep your eyes open and on the water with Polaroid sunglasses:  fish where and when you see fish and more efficiently when you’re not.” – James Eagan

Receive 10% Off at Stone Harbor when you stay at East Bay Suites


Whether you’re a beginner to fly fishing or just like to have someone local show you the ropes Stone Harbor is the recommended guide service in the area.


(218) 387-3136
22 E 1st St, Grand Marais

More Fishing Fun / Resources

As the snow melts the people and fun festivities of Grand Marais come alive. Check out these fun fishing activities to plan your summer weekends around.

Don’t leave mom at home this coming mothers day weekend. Instead, show her just how fun stream trout fishing can be on beautiful Lake Superior North Shore.

This course is designed for the fly fisherman who wants to learn about different equipment, knots and fly fishing fundamentals.

The old saying to teach a man how to fish is one thing but NHFS are teaching students how to build their own fishing rods!

Learn how to tie the flies you’ll need to compete with the famous mayfly hatch.

88th Annual Fisherman’s Picnic is one of the North Shore’s biggest celebrations! You don’t want to miss out on this one.

James at the Mouth of Fall River

Steelhead Fishing Trip

Fish | Enjoy | Relax

RESERVATIONS: (800( 414-2807

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