April 29, 2021 3 min read

May is one of the best months to fish in Michigan. Water temperatures are consistently warm enough to get Smallmouth to chase down unweighted flies and if you are lucky you'll get some top water action. In the trout world, the best hatches are kicking off, and when there aren't hatches tie on a streamer and see what happens. You will see Hendricksons, Caddis, Mahogonies and Sulphurs. Below are some of our favorite flies for the month of may

Top Michigan Trout Flies For May

Brown Trout from Manistee River


Zoo Cougar



This streamer was created by the demi-god, Kelly Galloup back when he ran his fly shop, The Troutsman in Traverse City. The Zoo Cougar is tied mostly with natural materials, which is pretty uncommon with streamers these days and it speaks to how old this pattern is. The fly is one of the lightest streamers you will cast. Its lightness is by design. When fished on a sink tip line every small current gyration gets this fly moving. Give it a big rod jerk and who knows which way it dives. PS - There is a killer carp flat in the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay out front of where his shop used to be.

Sheets' Extended Body Stacker


An all-May dry fly for Michigan. This dry fly uses hackle stacking, which is similar to a dubbing loop for a dry fly hackle. You wrap the hackle around the thread or monofilament and then fold it forward over the top of the hook shank. It’s a tricky technique that results in beautiful dry flies. This fly will imitate Hendricksons and Mahogonies in May and then get more use in the summer as an Isonychia pattern.

Flatwing Spinner

In May, spinner falls typically take place in the evening, which means they can be the icing on the cake of an epic day or give you your last chance to finally bend your rod on a trout. The Flatwing Spinner will work perfectly as a Mahogony and Hendrickson spinner pattern.

Foam Elk Hair Caddis

You can't go for spring dry fly fishing without a few of these in your box. It is highly visible, lies flat on the water and floats with ease. Tan is the top color for spring

Jig Sparkle Yummy


They took the world famous Coffey's Sparkle Minnow, added a tungsten bead, more flash and put it all on a jig hook. Now 3X more effective! We guarantee it. (We don't but it's still a sweet fly)


Top Smallmouth flies for Michigan in May

Smallmouth bass from Huron River


Hathazy's Wedge Head

This is a diver pattern that naturally floats. The deer hair wedge of the fly is coated with UV resin and the tail is bucktail. When stripped the fly dives under water and flutters left and right which drives smallmouth crazy. For a diver it’s a relatively small fly which makes it a great early season top water pattern. Best fished on a floating line

Chocklett's Polar Changer Fly

This fly has become iconic in the fly tying world. Game Changer flies were created by Blane Chocklett by connecting multiple short shanks together. The result is an unrivaled side to side motion. The main material in this fly is Polar Fiber which is sensitive and wispy. Polar Changers have 2 hooks and are about 5” long. If your goal is huge smallmouth this is your fly.

Galloups Mini Dungeon Fly

Technically a trout pattern, this will fish great for early season smallmouth. Designed by our best friend, (in our own mind) Kelly Galloup. The Mini Dungeon has a deer hair head and dumbbell eyes. The result is that the fly pushes water and sinks just enough to get into the zone. Mini Dungeons fish well with any type of retrieval.

Walker's Wiggler

Walker's Wiggler is the ultimate low water fly that can still pull in big Smallmouth. The fly is light weight and tied with 2 colors of craft fur. It's dipped in Softex which gives it a minnow profile.

Yewchuck's 2 Timing Toad

When it's time to switch up to a top water, get the best of both worlds with this frog pattern. The profile and shape of this fly is so realistic you'll think there's a real frog in our fly bins. Dead drift the pattern down stream passed that lunker or give it a twitch and strip for some popping action to wake 'em up.


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