Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitter in Traverse City, Michigan

4.5 out of 5 Customer Rating
Item #8E650000
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Chuck or Cherie Hawkins

Hawkins Outfitters


Phone icon231-228-7135 Phone icon231-920-2630 Email iconcherie@hawkinsflyfishing.com Link iconhawkinsoutfitters.com
1605 Incochee Hill Dr.
Traverse City, MI 49684

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The Story

Hawkins Outfitters is a catch-and-release fly-fishing guide service based near Traverse City, Michigan. We have been in business 19 years, fishing our local lakes and streams. We are fully permitted by both the State of Michigan and the United States Forest Service to use all of the area's lakes, rivers, and streams.

Hawkins Outfitters was founded on the principle that a guide can't control the weather or the fish, so he/she is responsible for controlling everything else. Our boats and equipment are first rate, meals are fresh and tasty, and my guides arrive excited to go to work and help our customers reach their fly-fishing dreams. Our skill at that was one reason we were named the 2010 Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide Service of the Year.
We guide beginners to advanced anglers—young and old alike—with a great attitude and a desire to have a wonderful day on the water.
We are not a shop or a lodge, but rather a group of guides that love to guide and wish to take you fishing on “Any River... Anytime.”

Date Range

We are a year-round guide service because Michigan offers year-round fishing. Spring fishing starts in March and continues through April. May is the preview to summer, with bugs beginning to hatch and the lakes and streams are waking up from winter. September we feel the nights begin to cool, with October bringing the color to the leaves. December starts the long, northern winter. My guides fish every day in winter that the temperatures allow.

What is Provided to Customer

We provide rods and reels, a meal on full-day trips, plus beverages.

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

Hawkins Outfitters fishes a 90-mile radius around Traverse City, Michigan. We fish the Manistee, Boardman, Pere Marquette, Betsie, Pine, and Platte Rivers, along with some other smaller creeks. The Lake Michigan bays in our area, and many inland lakes, give us ample opportunity to fish for all species available

Typical Weather by Season

The weather is typical northern Michigan. Winter starts around Thanksgiving and ends in April. Temps can run from low 30s down to zero. Storms are always possible, but winter on a decent day is a great time to fish.
Spring is May, with summer starting in mid-June. The temps/weather can be unpredictable, with temperatures from freezing all the way up to 80 degrees. The leaves start changing in October, signaling the arrival of fall—a beautiful and busy time of year. Cool to cold mornings give way to nice afternoons.

Sample of Typical Itinerary

Hawkins Outfitters offers single-day trips or trips of any duration that you desire. You are typically with our guides for 8-9 hours after meeting him at an easy-to-identify location.

Our operation on the Garden River First Nation in the fall has three day trips. Please see our website for more information on the Garden River.

In conjunction with my partner Martin Carranza of Chime Lodge, we offer week-long trips to Patagonia in Argentina in Jan-March every year.

What Should Customers Bring?

The customer needs to bring their own personal stuff such as sunglasses, rain gear, sunscreen etc.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. At what age can a child start to fly fish?
A. Most kids can pick up basic casting skills and catch panfish around the age of 5.

Q. How far in advance do I need to book my trip?
A. Prime-time steelhead trips for the fall need to be booked by June most years. Prime bug hatches in the month of June are usually full by spring. If you are date-specific in a prime time, earlier is better.

Q. I’ve never Spey cast. Can I still catch steelhead?
A. Yes, we have single-handed rod techniques that will get you hooked up on steelhead.

Q. Do you have accommodations?
A. No, we like to move around and fish a variety of waters depending on species and time of year. We do provide you with a list of housing options when you book a trip with us.

Q. How many days should I fish?
A. That depends on your schedule, ability, and desire. We suggest a minimum of two days if you are traveling a distance or learning a new technique.

Species You Fish for by Season

Michigan has fish that can be caught by fly anglers 12 months a year. Steelhead are available most years from mid-September until the following April, with prime time being October and November, followed closely by December through March. Resident trout fishing runs from late April through November with May and June being prime time. Salmon start showing in August most years and hang around through October.
Small- and largemouth bass, bluegills, pike, and other warmwater species are pursued successfully from May to October in both lakes and rivers. Carp and smallmouth on the Lake Michigan bays are prime in early June.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Overall Great Time Had a great time with Matt on the Upper Manistee this past week. He took us out for two days, one chasing numbers of beautiful brook trout and the second chasing larger browns. We could have timed our trip better, but could not have asked for a better guide.
Date published: 2020-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great fun especially kids Best experienced guide service lots of fun great with the inexperienced
Date published: 2020-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great guides and people! I have fished with guides all over and all types of water. Few have ever measured up to Hawkins on all fronts. They can help you be a better fisherman and/or just put you over fish all day and let you do your thing. What is more they are great people and just fun to enjoy a day with.
Date published: 2019-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Experience of a lifetime! Three days on the Manistee River fishing for Steelhead with three Hawkins guides, Jon Ray, Ed McCoy and Steve Pels. All three were excellent! Knowledgeable, professional, good instructors and fun to fish with.
Date published: 2017-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 3 outstanding days Spent 3 days on the Manistee river. What a blast. The guide where superbe in knowledge, instructions and cooking abilities.
Date published: 2017-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A+ time on the water!!! I have had the pleasure to fish with Ed McCoy on 4 occasions now (3 mousing for brown trout at night and 1 dry fly fishing for trout). Every experience was an A+ experience from start to finish with Ed and I know many people who have fished with Jon Ray and others and mirror the exact same sentiments. The Hawkins crew can fit to anyone's skill level on the river and the amount of things I have left with every time that I've learned has been just as good as the fishing. To date, my personal best brown trout have been thanks to Ed in 2014, as well as my highest number of trout to hand in an outing on 5-20-17. I must say that I have also had the chance to see tying/fishing seminars from Ed, Jon Ray, and Russ Maddin and again, world class. If you ever see one of them pop up at your local store, event, or fly shop, set some time aside and check them out! Lastly, BOOK EARLY! These guys are in high demand for good reason, so check in early with them far before you'd like to go!
Date published: 2017-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from best teacher I have fished with Chuck Hawkins since I was 8. Best teacher in the world! I am now 21 and wish I had more time to fish!!!Especially with the group.
Date published: 2016-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Top Notch This is a second review of Hawkins for me. I have fished with Chuck's team for nearly 15 years. Although I have fished with Chuck and Ed, I spend most of my time with Captain Jon Ray. Jon is as patient and hard working a guide I have ever experienced. Knows the water, best holes and how to fish them . He is as patient with me as if I was a beginner, an approach which keeps me learning and coming back. Always quick with a compliment on a cast well executed and a fish well played. Jon is willing to try new things which I may suggest and often gives me opportunities to try new water and techniques to broaden my experience. Being acquainted with quite a few of Chuck's clients, it is clear that the approach of Hawkins is creating a community of like-minded, environmentally conscious and successful fishing men and women. As long as I reside in Michigan, Hawkins team will be my go-to guide service.
Date published: 2016-01-12
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