. About

Click for Newaygo, MI Forecast
Click for Baldwin, MI Forecast
Click for King Salmon, AK Forecast
Add this page to your favorites.
Michigan Daily Water
Levels
Michigan Daily Water
Levels
2011 Alaska Fishing
Report
2014 Alaska Fishing
Report
Copyright 2009 Pere Marquette Outfitters: Michigan Fly Fishing. All Rights Reserved.
The Columbus, Ohio boys were back and it was great having the guys all back together again.  Dwight Montgomery, John Parisi, Rich Conie, and Craig Conie (all pictured above) are no strangers to the Alagnak River in Alaska, and of course spending a week with us, doing what we do best.  They have seen it all when it comes to the fishing and the weather in Alaska.  Since 2005 the guys have been fishing the Alagnak, sometimes taking a year or two off.   Three, four years ago, Craig Conie proposed to his now wife on the banks of the Alagnak, on one of our favorite camp sites. This will be Dwight’s 8th consecutive year and this year he’ll spend two weeks with us.  Last Thursday we were awaiting word from Van Hartley, owner of Branch River Air, our float plane service, on when we could get out.  Low cloud ceiling and rain had stalled out the morning, but by 12:30 p.m. we caught a break in the cloud cover and we headed off.  Our pilots are first class, and they stayed low, flying under the clouds as we headed to the head waters of the Alagnak, and before long both DeHavilland Beavers had made it and our week had started. The mouth of Noni had fished slowly again, but once we started our float, the Rainbow fishing had picked up a bit as we hit and turned some nice Rainbows.  At the confluence, I kept the raft in the current seam as long as I could back row, as the boys fished indicator rigs to a small school of Kings, and as the current pushed us down, one last cast by Dwight produced a strike and the drama started.  At first the strong current pushed us downstream quickly as the fish swam up river, creating a lot of distance between us and him, but the fish finally turned and quickly made it near the raft.  After several attempts to try and net the fish (and steer/control the raft), I finally gave the net to Rich as I repositioned the raft to all of our advantage, and soon our first King of the week, on day 2 was landed, and it would be one of several to see the net.  We had everything for weather but for the most part it was all good.  The first few days were clear and sunny, clear to the point we saw our first frost, two days in a row, the first being a hard frost.  On day 5 the weather turned and we fished through a 40 mph wind with rain and temps barely exceeding 50 degrees.  If you owned it, you wore it.  If we had to have a day like that, at least we were hunkered down, camped on fish, not having to float.  By the next morning it had blown through and back to a nice day.  We were never short of Kings, and when a large King wasn’t on the end of the line, the immature “jacks” were there to keep us busy.  We moused and beaded for Rainbows, swung streamers for Pinks and Chums, but the center of attraction of course were the Kings, and they were everything the guys remembered.  John Parisi landed the largest Rainbow of the trip, a chunky 25 inch Rainbow that made it to the net, but slipped out of his hands while trying to take a picture, but the memory is burned in his mind forever and that’s what counts the most.  This next week we’ll have the most women on a trip in our 17 year history on the Alagnak.  Dwight Montgomery’s wife Dona (hasn’t missed a year in 5 years), their 13 year old daughter Ellie, Dwight’s cousin Jennifer, and Lil D’s girlfriend  Charday, who will be helping us for a few weeks.    We’ll see if the girls can out do the guys.  Stay tuned next Thursday and find out.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


July 24, Week 1 Alaska

This is going to be short and sweet with no editing due to time on our turnaround day.  Tim Gavin from MN and his 75 year old father Chuck joined us on our first trip down the Alagnak River.  While the Rainbow fishing was a little disappointing on the upper end ( a lot of small fish 8 to 12 inches), we managed to catch a few decent Rainbows on the bottom end  of the float, especially on the bottom end, which normally doesn't fish to well.  The Sockeye run is about over, but there was just enough for Lil D to  catch a few for dinner for us as he would run down river ahead of us to put up camp.  Bears were plentiful and we had this little mink or maybe a pine marten that almost wanted our fish that we were cleaning for dinner.  It was a fun week, created more stories, and memories as this father and son duo teamed up with us on our first week.  This would be Chuck Gavin's first time in Alaska, and he got to see some of Alaska at it's finest, from Bears to fighting a 35 pound King, to seeing even larger Kings breech the surface.  Tim even caught a small King on a mouse, fishing the surface for Rainbows...something that I've never seen.  We'll be out on our next week so stay tuned next Thursday with more pics and current info on the Alagnak River.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

July 10

Clint Fowler from Muskegon, MI (pictured above) and his buddy Mike Zerlaut from Fruitport, MI, couldn’t have had a better “Father’s Day” gift from their wives, than a gift certificate from Pere Marquette Outfitters, to do a little Brown trout fishing with me.  The way our scheduling came together, today was the best day for us all, just before I head to Alaska.  There was no question as we started the day, the morning bite was on, as the coolness of the 45 degree daybreak temps lingered on and was slow to warm up.  Most of the morning we caught or moved Pere Marquette River Brown trout in the 16 to 21 inch range and by 11 a.m. we had landed 5 very nice Browns, some smaller ones, and the ones that chased but didn’t eat.  After lunch, is when the work started as the guys put countless casts in the sweet spots, only to have a few fish chase, and an occasional small one brought to hand.  The guys kept working, not missing a beat (or a cast), and in the mid-day sun, Clint connects with a 16 inch Brown that would top off the day.  This will be the last Brown trout day for me as I get ready to head to Alaska this Sunday, but Pere Marquette Outfitters guide Blake Roller will be hot on them throughout the summer whether throwing streamers or mice, he can’t get enough of them.  To contact Blake Roller, call his cell number at (616) 540-8979.
Also, out fall bookings are filling up fast for Salmon bookings, so if you are not in the books, get in contact with us as soon as you can.  It looks to be another stellar season.  My next report will be from Alaska.
Tight Lines!  David Roller


June 28

Here we are the end of June already.  The summer solstice is past and yes, the days will and are gradually getting shorter.  It’s Brown Trout time now and one of the hatches we all wait for, which can be somewhat of a mystery, the “Hex” hatch.  Hexagenia Limbata, the largest mayfly in North America, and we have them in spades.  The past couple of weeks we’ve endured warm, somewhat hot, muggy weather, which is what we need to set up nicely for “the hatch”.    Mike Chuchiarelli and his friend Damon Larrs were with me the past two nights on the Upper Manistee River as we looked and awaited “the hatch”.  We weren’t looking for the average Brown; we were looking for a giant, and anything over 25 inches I would say fits into that category.  The first night the three of us were out, we started out fishing a few streamers between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.  After that we switched over to large “Stimulators”, large dry flies imitating a large adult stonefly.  Damon Larrs had one large fish come up and take it down, but the hook didn’t stick and all we could do was get more excited of what we hoped to come.  By 10:30 p.m. we were posted on one of my favorite pieces of water for big fish.  We waited patiently as the evening turned dark. While we saw no evidence of bugs on the water, a couple of fish in front of the boat started feeding, and we could here another one some 40 yards below us.   Repositioning the boat just a little to make casting easier, Damon started casting a large Hex pattern.  On the third cast, he found the feeding lane, and seconds later, the loud slurp, and Damon’s rod doubled over.  “Oh, this is a nice one” is all we heard from Damon as the fish started to take line, not able to turn the fish.  Suddenly it was al over, the rod went limp and the large, elusive Brown was gone.  Regretful, yes, but the experience was priceless, to witness the hatch, see the fish rising, and fooling him into a strike, and feeling the heft of such a fish.  Mike was up next working the other fish we saw feeding, and within a couple of casts, it was game on and this time the hook stuck and we had a nice Brown trout to the net.  Mike’s first Brown trout on a hex.  It didn’t last long and the hatch was over and the cooler temperatures of night were upon us.  We tried to run mouse patterns for a while in the dark, to no avail and at some crazy time past midnight, we started our 45 minute float out.  On Day 2 we started up stream a bit farther to fish streamers, and it was work and a lot of casting.  We landed one Brown and turned a few more fish, but not what any of us was expecting.  Not that we were expecting a lot as this time of the year isn’t the best for streamers, let alone the heat and brightness of the mid day sun.  We welcomed the heat however.  The hotter the day and evening, the more conducive a good hatch could be.  Just like clock work, a little past 10:30 p.m. there were bugs and lots of them, enough to start a good feeding frenzy.  Up stream a little farther than the night before, we noticed what appeared to be three or four nice fish feeding and one seemed substantially larger, although very large fish can seem small during the rise.  The fish were rising in an untimely fashion and hard to figure out.  The inside, closest fish quit and the fish farther out started rising again.  After several casts by both guys, Mike connects and our first good Brown is in the net (pictured above).  Soon after, with fish still rising, Damon would have fish hit his fly, but come up empty and Mike would “stick’ a good one, only to have his fly dislodge a second later.  On a long down stream cast, to another fish, Damon would finally connect and we put our second fish to the net.  It was thirty plus minutes of intense fun, but soon the amount of spent hex’s would dwindle quickly, a few more rises, and the river went silent for the exception of a maddened beaver that didn’t like us in his territory and the several slaps of his tail that we heard proved it.  We tried mousing a couple of favorite spots, but the Browns were full and nothing broke the surface for us...  By 2:30 a.m. we were at the launch, loading the boat, and the day was done…that’s fishing, not for the week at heart.

The past 10 days have been decent trout fishing no matter what we did.  Steve Haywood and his cousin Dan fished with me the other day on the PM and we casted Rapala’s during the day, and it was good fishing, not with out work though.  We would have times the guys would cast for 30 minutes or so and turn nothing, and then we would land and turn three or four fish within minutes of one another.  We caught eight or nine nice Browns, tuned a few more, and landed a few smaller Browns in the 7 to 10 inch class.  The largest was a Brown Don caught in the 17 to 18 inch range, a nice Brown anywhere.

Earlier this past week, we had a five father and son teams from the Chicago area, which never had been in this area and decided to spend four days at Barothy Lodge.  To see the river, they decided to try and fish with us, some of whom hadn’t fished much.  We spread out in different stretches of the Peré Marquette River , throwing Rapala’s and spinners, and everyone had a great time, caught some fish, and saw more of the Peré Marquette River, than what just went by Barothy’s  Main Lodge, where they were staying.  We were off the water by 2 p.m. and by 4 p.m. guides Blake Roller and Tyler Roselle decided to go fishing again.  They put a drift boat in and decided to strip streamers and had a fantastic trip as this duo would take turns on the oars while the other fished and had a fantastic day of streamer fishing putting six or eight, 16 plus inch Browns to the net, some smaller ones, and moved a couple of larger fish, an epic days worth of fishing in a matter of about 4 hours.  A week earlier, these two guides did some mousing, not starting until about 10:30 at night and fishing until about 4 a.m.  They moved a lot of fish that night and caught some nice ones.  Some days are better than others as the guys had went a couple of days later, only caught one and moved three other fish…but they had went fishing.

One never knows from one day to the next what the fishing will be like, weather and fish temperament are main players and I thing the latter is more so.  However, the only way one will find out is to actually go out and fish.  And as guides Blake and Tyler has shown, some days you get them and some days you don’t, but the only way to find out is being on the stream and at some point and time good things happen, and some days…great things happen.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


June 13

A couple of days ago, I may have just caught my last Steelhead as we vastly approach summer.  It was perfect conditions, a little rain, no wind, and mild.  Do my faithful companion, Karma, and I headed for the Muskegon River for the morning.  The first forty five minutes of the day, I spend motoring to our favorite areas and then some and found two active redds, one with three Steelhead on it and a ½ mile away, another with a pair.  With “Switch” rod in hand, rigged with an indicator rig, I went to work.  The Steelhead were not exactly on the bite as was proved by the several casts I made, but then the “skipper” pictured above, decided to play.  It was fish, and it was all fun.  The other three Steelhead on the redd went undisturbed, until, of course, I rolled the hen.  She hit, I came back with the hook set, and immediately she came up headshaking, a sight I never get tired of seeing.  After about the fifth headshake, and rolling back off the shallow gravel, she spit the hook.  It didn’t take long after that for the males to seek deeper water.   I fished around the pocket for a while, hoping to convince one of the males to eat, but to no avail.  About 20 minutes later the hen slipped back up on the redd, and cautiously the males would drift on and off the redd.  I changed flies, colors, leader, every trick in the book, and they wouldn’t eat.  Once bitten, twice shy!  So I bid them a safe return to the big lake and headed up river to the next redd, a pair, but tactfully working a redd, tight behind a rock, which would not permit my drift to go thru the ‘sweet spot’.  After thirty minutes of playing both sides of ‘the rock’, I reeled up and it was “Karma’s’ turn to play as she watched so patiently all morning.  We beached the boat on a quiet, slow, inside bend, and the ‘fetching’ started.  Last year was her first year in the duck blind with everything brand new to her, from swimming in ice cold water, ducks, high winds, and river currents.  With the waterfowl season less than 4 months away, working with her is ongoing and daily until I head to Alaska (July 12).  She is a gem and I really am looking forward to this coming season with her.
We’ve had some beautiful evenings the past few days, in which I should have been on the water with a fly box full of brown drakes.  I heard the fishing was great.  We now have a cold front moving through which could stall it out for a few days, so I hope you made it out.  When the “big bugs” start coming off, I’ll be out there, and looking forward to it.

Tight Lines!  David


June 7

Joyce and Lyman Wine, from Cincinnati, OH has been a precious couple that lives life to the fullest and I can’t tell you what a pleasure it has been to know them for all of my adult years and then some.  They are not your ordinary couple and Lyman at 91 years old and Joyce living large at 83 years, they have been married and true to each other for well over 60 years and they have been fishing together for as long.  Lyman has been coming to the Peré Marquette Rod and Gun Club since he was in his teens and has been a member there for his adult life.  They both remember when M-37, heading north to Baldwin, MI was a dirt road.  Another year older, for all of us, The Wine’s and I had the pleasure of being able to fish again as we tried one more day on the Muskegon River to see if we could find a few Steelhead.  The river had dropped quite a bit since I was there only 48 hours prior, but we still managed to find a few fish.  It’s always a delight to have Joyce in the boat, because she always comes through for me.  Her casting is effortless and accurate, and when she hooks up on a Steelhead, she knows how to fight them and her and I always manage to put fish in the net.  Today was no different as she was the one starting us out today, putting our first Steelhead to the net. She has caught many fish in her lifetime, and every time we are out on the stream, her face lights up and is as excited with the fish she has just landed as it was her first.  The day was good for us.  They each landed three nice Steelhead, a couple of skippers, and hooked a couple that just came unbuttoned.  We had a beautiful day, no wind, no rain, and the company… of exchanging the many memories we’ve shared together, making new ones, and the thoughts of fishing together for years to come.  The river and the special people it brings together is a unique force of nature at work.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


June 4

When I pulled into the Peré Marquette Rod and Gun Club this morning, I was expected to meet 91 year old Lyman Wine (yes ninety one) and his friend John Kirby.  Instead it was just John and me that could make it out today and Lyman is going to try and fish with me towards weeks end.  John was quick to jump in my truck as he said, “it’s just me, and I’m ready.”  So to Newaygo, Mi we drove to look for a few more Steelhead.  I first fished John and his friend Jared, on the 15th and 16th of May where the learning process began, and it stuck.  When we finally found a ‘few’ Steelhead, John quickly stripped out an appropriate amount of line, made his first cast and within minutes, he had his first Steelhead to the net.  Three Steelhead later, he was batting 1,ooo as he had put the first 4 steelhead to the net that he hooked.  We were soon humbled by loosing a couple, but for the morning, that was all he lost was two.  After lunch, the fishing slowed a bit, but not for the lack of fish, but the lack of fish that would eat.  Going small and natural on the flies, we would soon start hooking fish, but after loosing 4 in a row, we started wondering ‘when’  we’d land our next Steelhead…it wouldn’t be long.  To add to the mix, John landed a nice 4 pound plus Brown trout and later in the day a three pound Brown that would regurgitate a fair amount of sucker and steelhead eggs onto the floor of the boat as well as a few decomposed, very small minnows, perhaps salmon smolts.  We had a perfect day!  Cloud cover in the morning to keep the morning glare down to spot fish, NO WIND, a little rain, enough to put our rain jackets on for 45 minutes, then the sun burned off the clouds and it got warm.  Add to the perfect weather, plenty of Steelhead, and for the 4th of June, it was nothing short of spectacular!!!   Hopefully Lyman Wine, his lovely wife Joyce, and I can make it out later this week.  Stay tuned…we’ll see!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 31

As we wrap up another Steelhead and season, despite the cold weather early on and of course “the flood”, it was a great, great season on both of our rivers, the Peré Marquette and the Muskegon.  And we are not completely done on the Muskegon River, Crockett was on the Muskegon River two days ago and he and Pete Waleskowski put nine Steelhead in the net out of twenty hookups…not bad for the last days of May, not bad any day!  I’ll be down there soon, looking for a few Steelhead, just to catch one more.  Looking ahead, we are doing a few trout trips on the Peré Marquette River and the Upper Manistee.  Guide Blake Roller couldn’t help himself the other night as he went mousing on the Peré Marquette River.  Although not quite warm enough to his liking, he landed one Brown in the 20 inch class and turned three other “really nice fish”.  The Brown Drake hatches are trying to come off and the “Hex” hatch is not far away.
Mid July through September 1, Crockett and I will be in Alaska spending time to the Alagnak and King Salmon Rivers.  This year Alaska is setting up nicely for the King Season and if the warmer temps prevail like last year, it will be another stellar year.  Right now I have an opening for two people on an “extended” week of July 16 to July 23rd.  We are going to key in on Rainbows and Sockeye Salmon on the front end of the trip and then key in on King Salmon on the back end of the trip.  It will be a good one.  In addition, while I am not planning the first two weeks of July, if there is any interest out there for a last minute “need to go to Alaska” let me know…I can change my airline ticket!
A lot to think about, a lot to do, as there always is as one season bleeds into the other and as usual, the season present slips away so quickly, as does “time”.  Don’t let another season slip away!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 26

Every now and then I get pictures sent to me that are worth posting and such were these of ten year old (I think), Aiden Parsons.  Aiden’s father, Brad Parsons from the Columbus, Ohio area got referred to us by Tom Sneary (Thanks Tom) shortly after Tom returned from his trip with us on the Muskegon River.  Brad called us, we had a boat open on Sunday, May 4th, and Brad was quick to jump on it bringing his father, and ten year old son Aiden.  The look on Aiden’s face is priceless on the picture above and I must say that Peré Marquette Outfitter’s guide DJ is pretty darn happy as well, the two got along famously that day.  Obviously the good fishing adds to the experience and that’s what brings our priceless, well appreciated customers to the area, but more important is the experience and the memories that are created during such a day.  Here a young boy, with no clue of what is to happen as he boards DJ’s boat with his father and grandfather, that morning, absorbs the day like a sponge.  As the day progresses, large fish on, large Steelhead landed by all, and memories of Aiden’s day with his Dad and Grandpa will be etched in his mind forever and I know his Dad and Grandpa won’t forget the excitement, joy, and the look on Aiden’s face as this young boy got to go fishing with the “guys”.  I wasn’t there but the picture grabbed me and the picture tells it all.  That’s why you take a kid fishing.

May 24

Well the great Steelhead season of 2014 has finally come to an end for me as far as the everyday guiding, and I ended it with good friends, Larry Green and Jeff Green, brothers from the East side of Michigan.  They had one goal in mind, to want to learn and use floating lines and indicator rigs.  We had an arsenal of rods from 9 ½ 8 weights to 11 foot “Switch Rods” and we used them with floating lines, no matter the wind conditions.  We had plenty of fish to work with and sometimes it was frustrating… to all three of us as we all went in knowing this was a work/instructional/learning in process.  The neat thing was the guys didn’t give up.  We could have just as easily put a “chuck and duck” rig together and caught “a lot” of Steelhead, but as Larry said it best… we know how to do that.  So for the last two days, floating lines were casted, tangled, really tangled, hooks piercing “thingamabobber” strike indicators, and of course hooking and catching fish.  We all had laughs and enjoyed the company.  The weather was warm and our faces got plenty of sun.  With the Muskegon River still holding a solid foot (or a little more) high, the Muskegon bid me good bye with plenty of fish just as she had welcomed me on the 22nd of April.  How time flies when you’re having fun.  While I pack up and head home today, the Mighty Muskegon River has not seen the last of me this year, nor has its Steelhead.  After this holiday weekend, I’ll just have to go back, and do a little fishing myself… No I’m not tired of it…that’s just how we roll!  My greatest thanks to all of you out there who have continued to support Pere Marquette Outfitters.  You have certainly made this spring enjoyable despite the few hiccups along the way.  Thank you for a great season!!!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 21

Rich Conie (left) and John Parisi, from Columbus, OH are no strangers to Pere Marquette Outfitters.  We see these two just about every spring and fall on the Pere Marquette River and about every two years in Alaska. This year we introduced them to Muskegon River Steelhead, and they liked it! Yesterday they fished with Crockett, and today I had the pleasure of fishing with them, and the guys had a great time, landing plenty of fish both days.  The standing joke between Rich and I was that if there were two steelhead left in the river, they were coming up.  Periodically over the past month, Rich would call me and say, “Is there still two fish in the river?”  I’d answer “at least three.”  The guys headed home today soon after their last Steelhead was caught, I’ll see them again this July, in Alaska.
The Muskegon River is in the best shape I’ve seen in a long time, this time of the year.  With the amount of snow and ice left late this spring and the heavy rains we’ve had, the Muskegon River basin is still draining lots of water.  The three flood gates are still open on Croton Dam, keeping water levels at least a foot above normal, if not a little more.  A lot of redds are empty, but there are still plenty of hot redds going strong, and we know where they are.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 20

It was another great day Steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River, with great friends, from the Columbus, OH area, Charlie Kuhlman and Jim McArthur (pictured above).  We weren’t quite sure of the weather, as the morning started out with rain, but warm.  We didn’t care, especially after the first Steelhead that Jim hooked into (and landed).  It was hot, it jumped, it took very long runs, and then jumped some more…it was the base or what was yet to come.  The fish we hooked into today were hot, fresh, and strong and were willing to prove it.  Thankfully we were on the “openness” of the Muskegon River and had the room to fight such large, aggressive Steelhead.  Right now, every day is different as the Steelhead run starts to wane, however there are enough fish as one has to look around, hunt and peck, and fish the whole river, but some of these fish are fresh and looking for a fight, the kind of fight that a ten foot, eight weight likes!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 19

It was nice to finally put some fish in the net again today after yesterdays somewhat of a shellacking.  However, at first I thought it was going to be another repeat, as long time veterans of Pere Marquette Outfitters, Charlie Kuhlman (pictured above) and Jim McArthur joined me on the Muskegon River for their annual spring, two day Steelhead trip.  Today began a lot like yesterday, loosing several fish in a row as we would get two to four nice head shakes out of a Steelhead and the fish would come unhooked.  It come to a point of disbelief until we finally landed a couple of nice “skippers”, at least it was fish in the net.  Then the tide turned and it wasn’t long and we would start beefing up our average and by days end, we had a very good Steelhead day.  This morning was one of the warmer mornings we’ve had in a while, and before the hazy cloud cover set in, in the afternoon, the sun was starting to feel pretty intense.  For some odd reason, the Muskegon River spiked up about four to six inches as more water was released out of Croton Dam, and perhaps that made the fish more active.  Regardless, there is enough fish in the  Muskegon River system to make a great day and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised, with the right weather front coming in, we could have a few stellar days left before the run is over, which could be the second week of June this year.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 18

Busy busy evening, grocery shopping, etc.  The steelhead today, were not on the bite as well as they’ve been.  Some fish are gone, but new ones are still showing up.  The day wasn’t a complete loss, just a little tougher as we would cast and cast to fish.  The guys landed six or seven Steelhead today; we were consistently casting to fish which kept the day interesting.  We hooked a very fair amount of fish, but some were on for about two or three headshakes and gone.  That’s fish’in and I’m certainly looking forward to tomorrow. 

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 17

Dr. Steve Cohen, owner of Parkside Dentals, down state and his friend Marvin have been making this annual event to the Muskegon River fishing Steelhead with us for a few years now, on this very weekend. We’ve had great fishing for the most part but we couldn’t help but reminisce about the time three years ago in which we decided to fish for trout because the Steelhead season was over.  The 90 degree weather we had back then, the third week of March kicked everything into high gear and by the second week of May, the run was over.  Such is not the case this year and the guys did very well today.  With three flood gates open on Croton Dam, water temps holding at 53 degrees, cool mornings (frost this morning), and moderately cool days have kept the Muskegon River Steelhead coming in, kept them from spawning in 24 hours and leaving, and kept our fly rods bent for the most part of the day.  The Muskegon River is in great shape, the fish are here, and so are we…you should be too!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 16

Today was another perfect example, why you book two to three days on a Steelhead trip.  One, the weather turned for the better today, cool, but no wind and no rain, pretty comfortable really.  And two, after yesterday’s learning curve, knowing what to do with the rod, casting, etc., John Kirby and his friend Jared Phillips, both from Cincinnati, OH got the job done on their second and final day on the Muskegon River.  The past two days is the first time either anglers experienced Steelhead and after several learning experiences yesterday (including the tough, tough weather); today they were Steelhead fishermen.  The winds blew out and with it, it took the rain and it was a beautiful day.  While the Steelhead are thinning out in a few areas, there are still “hot spots” throughout the upper Muskegon river system.  With three flood gates open at Croton Dam, the Muskegon River has been holding at 4600 cfs the past 24 hours and fluctuating a degree or two from fifty three degrees.  It’s all good and we should be sitting pretty throughout the duration of our trips, and then some.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 15

And the cold winds blew and the rains came, as John Kirby and friend Jared was introduced to Steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River with me today.  I don’t think it hit fifty degrees, and it was just a fine pissy, Alaskan style mist that wouldn’t quit.  Throw some wind into the equation for a couple of beginners new to this sport and it wasn’t easy.  With the almost cold weather, if you owned it, you wore it!  But the guys wouldn’t stop trying and eventually got  enough casts into the sweet spot , that we ultimately landed a couple of Steelhead, trout, and of course, a few Suckers that have just arrived.  Today was their learning curve and by days end, the guys had gotten their casts a little more dialed in.  Tomorrow they will be in good shape for round two and so will the weather.  It will be cool tomorrow with a low of 34 degrees predicted, but no wind, and a high of 54 degrees.  The Muskegon River spiked up today about 2 inches…still in great shape with a water temp dropping to 53.5 degrees.  Tomorrow, we’ll have a great time!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 14

It was good to be back in my boat again and after complying with the inspection yesterday, Jerry (Holly) Hollingsworth, Cliff Neuse and I had a great day of Steelheading on the Muskegon River.  We had big shoes to fill after the St. Louis duo did extremely well with guide DJ the day before.  We met the challenge, and although we didn’t do quite as well, we scored high marks.  Lil David fished with the Ken and Cathy Zimmerman (egg lady) and their friend Theresa Borawski.  Theresa fished with us during the late Salmon season and I couldn’t quite deliver the amount of fresh Kings on the lower Pere Marquette River, but this go around, she was like an old pro and put some very nice Steelhead to the net, as did Ken and Cathy.  While the Muskegon River came up a bit the past two days, it has receded about six inches in the past 18 hours but holding steady and in great shape, delivering fresh Steelhead daily.  With intermittent rain showers predicted over the next few days, we’ll still be in great shape for at least the week to come…if not longer, I bet longer!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 12

It was a thunderous, rain as hard as it can day, but the boys made it out, braved the weather and caught Muskegon River Steelhead.  New Jersey boys Dean Thompson and his son Harrison fished with guide DJ and as the picture above shows, at the crack of dawn, Dean put’s the first fish in the net. It was a glorious sunrise with all the pretty colors, but as the saying goes, “red sky in morning, sailors take warning.”   Throughout the day, isolated thunderstorm cells loomed over the Muskegon River, to the point the guys would quit fishing, put the rods down, and park the boat near some low lying trees.  At 3:30 p.m. the thunderstorm really caught steam, the lightning was flying and shortly after Lil David and DJ called it a day.
Columbus, OH was also represented today by another father/son team…Tom and Todd Ewers.  Today would be their first time fishing Steelhead with us and the Muskegon River showed them a good time.  They have been fishing Kings with us in early September the past 4 years, and they figured once a year was not enough for Michigan fishing. 
The Steelhead fishing on the Muskegon remains solid and with the rains continuing to keep the river up to a very nice level, I don’t see it tapering off anytime soon.  The fish are here, we’re here and you should be too.  We are starting to open up on a boat or two from here on out, so if you get a chance, contact us and get out on the river.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


Mother's Day

First and foremost, Thank You! Mrs. Dean Thompson (or as Dean refers to “Sweet Kelly”) for letting me fish with the boys on Mother’s Day.   Celebrating Mother’s Day on the Muskegon River was great as Dean Thompson and his thirteen year old son Harrison (pictured above), from New Jersey, flew in this morning, rented a car, drove from Grand Rapids, and met me at the Pine Street launch on the Muskegon River at noon.  Soon after, we loaded gear in the boat, put their custom built (by me) Sage ONE rods together, and by 1 p.m. Harrison had our first Steelhead to the net.  Dean Thompson is no stranger with the ventures of Pere Marquette Outfitters, as he’s been fishing with us for the past 20 plus years, on the Pere Marquette and Muskegon River, and has also fished with us in Alaska.  The past five years, he has started another tradition, bringing his now thirteen year old son Harrison, on “their” annual father and son trip to the Muskegon River to fish Steelhead.  Starting at noon, we fished until a little after 9 p.m. and did well as Harrison finished off the evening landing a nice little female shortly after dusk.
Going back a couple of days, Ed Gibbon, who has fishes with us in September for Kings on the Pere Marquette River, put a small group together, as we introduced him to Steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River.  Pere Marquette Outfitter guides, “DJ” and Lil David guided them this past Friday and Saturday and they did well, catching some very nice Steelhead, a “May” experience they’ll not forget and are definitely coming back next year.
The river conditions remain cherry as we keep getting these hard rains/thunderstorms about every 3 or 4 days, which is keeping the river up nicely, giving us just enough new Steelhead, making for great days and I see the trend continuing for the next couple of weeks.  With the harsh winter conditions we had, everything is running a couple weeks behind; including the leaves on the trees, and the Steelhead are no exception.
My 20 foot Go-Devil passed the dry dock inspection in fly colors and I’ll be up for the “wet dock” inspection on Tuesday afternoon.  It will be so nice to have my boat back on the water. 
Thunderstorms and more rain predicted for the next couple of days…I couldn’t be any happier.  Oh and I took my stiches out of my lip… the ER Doctor did a mighty fine job!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 9

As Bob Starr and I motored up the Muskegon River, it was nice feeling a somewhat warm breeze in out face rather than the beating rain drops of the morning before.  The morning was quiet and free of wind which made casting easy and it didn’t take Bob long to connect, including the nice male he landed pictured above.  The first couple of hours was good fishing, but as the sun got higher, the air warmer, almost too warm, some of the Steelhead we were fishing just got too stale and getting hooked once or twice, really put them down.  We bounced around a bit hitting a fish or two, then we hit an area that hadn’t been touched in a couple of days, an area that hadn’t really been fishing all that well, until this afternoon.  Unable to see fish, we just started fishing, and after losing a fish or two, Bob landed a nice lake run brown trout that was regurgitating steelhead eggs…there was a female in there somewhere.  Before long the boat was drifting down with fish more than it was setting idle.   The air temperature was hot and so were the Steelhead, which helped us end the day (and Bob’s two days of steelheading) on a great note. 

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 7

A lot has transpired since the last time I’ve posted a few days ago.  My 20’ Go-devil was dry docked by the DNR, but she should be back in the water as soon as Saturday, in the meantime, I have a new appreciation on how well Lil David runs his 17’ jet sled (and others who do it so proficiently) as I had the pleasure of running it today, and is there a learning curve there!  So yesterday morning, getting ready to fish Terry Ohlms and his girlfriend Susan, I had put Lil David’s jet sled in the water, and while the trailer was still in the water, I’m grabbing gear out of the back of my truck to put in his boat.  I grab the heater, turn and take one step towards the boat, trip, and I’m on my knees with a burning sensation on my upper lip,  as I lick my teeth and make sure they were all right.  As I’m on my knees, I thought, “well that hurt”, but I guess I’m ok.  I get up, finish loading, pull the truck out of the launch when I can feel blood dripping down my chin, to keep the story short, when Terry Ohlms looked at my face, his only response was, “you need stiches buddy.”  I had taken the rim of the 20# propane tank right on the lip.  Lil David was like a fireman.  I quickly called him (on his only day off) and within 50 minutes he was there to take Terry and Susan out while I went to the Fremont Hospital and get stitched up.  God Bless the Doctor at the ER…he saved my mustache!
Terry Ohlms, 25 plus year veteran of Pere Marquette Outfitters, brought his girlfriend Susan up to Steelhead fish for her very first time, unsure if she would enjoy it.  After a day with me and Lil D, I’m not sure if Terry will be coming again without her.  She had such a great time, was a quick study and landed some very nice Steelhead, the biggest with Lil David, coming in around 12 or 13 pounds…Great job Susan!
Today I had no stranger either, Dr. Robert Starr who fished with his ex-brother in law, John Axelberg.  We started out the early morning as hard rains, thunder and lightning circled us, not to mention the harsh winds.  It was not an easy morning but the guys persevered onward, cast after cast, and had a great day despite the weather.  Most of the big ones got away today, but they will be back tomorrow in search of a couple of the giant Muskegon River Steelhead that showed their face.
In the meantime, Kudos to Mike Batche, from Stealth Craft Boats and Baldwin Creek Lodge, who took my Go-devil in, got it retrofitted to keep the State happy, and sent Lil D down with a smaller sled for me to use, so I wouldn’t lose a day on the water.  I have great friends, great customers, and a great team here at Pere Marquette Outfitters, and thank you to all!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 4

Robert and Shirley Brock from Canton, MI finished up there 2014 Steelhead season today on the Muskegon River.  The morning wasn’t fast and furious but Shirley Brock got us started early with a skipper and a large fish that come unbuttoned.  We had to work a little afterwards, and as we stuck with it, things went our way including the 33 ½ inches, 13 pound male that Bob caught, pictured above. The morning air was a bit chilly despite the sun poking out as the winds blew fairly brisk throughout most of the day but by midafternoon, the sun’s warmth won over and it was nice to shed some layers.  We’re sort of between runs as some fish have left and a few new females are starting to show up.  Some redds that were once covered with Steelhead are now empty, but there are still plenty of Steelhead to go after to create a very good day and with the right weather pattern, more Steelhead will be showing their face. 

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 3

After spending the first weekend of April on the Pere Marquette River for Steelhead, Robert and Shirley Brock return to the Muskegon River to finish off their 2014 Steelhead season.  While much warmer now than the first of April, we were greeted with a little bit more than a fine mist for the first hour or two, but as the rain come and went, so to came the wind by noon, and as some of you know, the Muskegon River is a wide open wind tunnel which can make stripping in line and casting a little on the taxing side.  That didn’t stop the Brocks however and Shirley was in rare form as she started the morning off and kept it going, putting some nice Steelhead to the net.  After giving his darling wife a nice head start, Robert hit high gear in the afternoon and towards the end of the day put five Steelhead in a row to the net.  Brian Sharpy and his friend Gary, also from down State, fished with Lil D and had a decent day.  While the morning was a little slow for all of us, I watched them put three or four nice Steelhead to the net before heading down river for most of the day.  They came back up for “one more cast”, hit a couple of more fish and headed for the ramp.  The Muskegon River is still holding above 4,000 cfs, a very nice flow to fish in, and has been staying at the 48 degree mark, temperature wise for the past three days.  While the fish have thinned out just a bit, and we’re catching an occasional spent hen, the fishing is still great and I’m expecting another push of fish in the near future.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


May 2

Today started out a little bit warmer, a little less wind, but a fine mist came down for a bit as the first casts were made for the morning; a perfect Muskegon River Steelhead morning really.  Unlike yesterday morning, it didn’t take long for Steve to hook up with the first couple of fish that came unbuttoned, but shortly after that, he put a Steelhead to the net, and then another, then Jeff Hill followed suit.  The morning bite was on and as I looked around (more boats than usual) everyone seemed to be hooking up with a fish every now and then, even in runs where I had seen boats yesterday where no fish were caught. The largest fish of the day, was the 13# hen pictured above, by Steve Wareham, a long beautiful female Steelhead.  Some were bright, chrome Steelhead and some were ‘drop backs’ that were gearing up for their journey back to Lake Michigan.  By late morning, the river had dropped some five or six inches, but still retaining a great flow for throwing longer distance with heavier lead.  The river has gotten back its normal, dark, tea colored stain in which a few more gravel humps are starting to be seen. With the cooler temps we’ve been experiencing, the river should remain fishing well for the duration of the season.

Tight Lines!   David Roller


May 1

You never know from one day to the next how it will go and today was no different.   For the first part of the morning, Steve Wareham and Jeff Hill, both veteran Pere Marquette Outfitter patrons and Muskegon River Steelhead fly fishers, had to work a little bit this morning to get the day started.  But once the guys got a taste of the first fish or two the day came together.  Ironically we caught  a lot of hens today, but new fish are showing up as indicated by the bight male that is pictured above caught by Steve Wareham.  I love the water level, which in most places again, especially the deeper gravel, the water is too stained to see, so I see boats often passing up areas that are holding fish.  All is well on the Muskegon River as both water temp and air temps remain cool, warm enough to keep new fish coming in and cool enough to keep them here for a while.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 30

This morning was one of the nicest mornings that we’ve been on the river as Ken and Cathy (the egg lady) Zimmerman and I enjoyed a morning that was well above 45 degrees.  For the first time, one of my lite, down jackets, didn’t go on for the last layer, and it felt nice. To add to the morning’s warmth was a beautiful sunrise which would lead to cloud cover, and of course the nice Steelhead  that Cathy caught at dawn to start the day.  Shortly after the morning got started, the river kicked up another six inches, so in a period of three days, the river has risen a foot, a very nice level to fish in.  It has also brought in a few chrome, fresh hens, full of spawn like the one CAthy caught pictured above. After a nice lunch and a couple of more fish, we headed in, ending a great day on the river.  To add to the excitement of the day, after I had gotten off the river, Lil David, who was fishing with Ken Davis and Tim from the St. Charles, MO area, were continuing on with a fairly normal day, until they hook into a six foot plus Sturgeon.  At first they had no clue what they were into, and after the fish took them for 3/8ths to ½ of a mile ride along the river, the fish finally got next to the boat, yet at which they could not see because of the stained water, one of the oldest river creatures of the Muskegon River.  When the large, prehistoric like creature rose from the depths, right next to the boat, there was a moment of jaw dropping silence as the head came up next to Lil David’s oar locks on his jet boat and the large tail, that swept back and forth was back by the motor.  Netting was not an option, everyone was too dumbfounded to grab a camera and as everyone was sizing things up, the fly came out and as quickly as it appeared to the surface, it submerged to not be seen again. 

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 29

Jim Downs from Lansing, MI is no stranger when it comes to fishing Steelhead in Michigan, and he loves both our favorite rivers, the Pere Marquette and the Muskegon.  The past two days, he fished with us, yesterday with Lil D and today with me, and he always has fun as he tried to top the sixteen pound Steelhead he caught on the “PM” this past Easter.  The male Steelhead in the picture above is a newer fish as the winter fish are just about done and the new “spring” run of Steelhead are just coming in.  Both Lil David and I noticed some of these fish today were exceptionally hot and eager to take a fly.  It’s always a pleasure fishing with Jim as I actually get to do some fishing myself and today I had my Switch rod out running some indicator rigs.  While I didn’t do as well as Jim, I still managed to test Jim’s net skills as he put a couple in for me.  Yesterday’s hard winds almost blew out by this morning as we were greeted with rain and 15 to 20mph winds, however it didn’t last long and by the afternoon, we were shedding layers.  We all ended the day at the right time as a severe thunderstorm hit about 4:30 p.m. in the Croton area and some reported one inch hail.  Fortunately none here as I stay at the now closed “Riverside Resort”, so our boats remained safe as the dark, thunderous clouds, with heavy lightning rolled over.  A little rain in the forecast for the next few days, but nothing serious, and it should only help add to the new fish coming in.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 28

With gusts up to 45 mph, and blowing a steady 25mph out of the east, we battled the wide open Muskegon River for Steelhead.  Casting through a cross wind wasn’t easy and at times a heavy gust of wind would put a belly in your line so bad, it would blow you through “the drift” to where you could not feel or hit bottom.  We foul hooked a few fish with the same reason as heavy winds would pull the lines and leaders across the backs of Steelhead in the somewhat shallower waters as the river drops.  As bad as the winds were, and with all hands on deck, our whole crew did extremely well.  Tom Sneary (pictured above) and his friends, Steve Bush, Mike Borica, and Mike’s brother, all from the Columbus, OH area finished up their annual two day event on the Muskegon River today in good fashion.  I had the pleasure of fishing with Tom and Steve today as guide DJ took good care of the Borica brothers.  Guide Lil David and Jim Downs from Lansing, MI also did well as they bounced around catching fish almost everywhere they went.  While the heavy rains missed us (so far) that was predicted the Muskegon River did come up about 6 inches this afternoon, maybe in preparation of rain to come.  The Muskegon is in great shape and she clears a little bit more every day.  Word is Muskegon Lake is full of Steelhead and those “new” fish should start showing up any day now and we’ll be here when they arrive.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 27

John Gossett, from Indianapolis, IN and I found the morning a little bit on the chilly side and the strong east wind didn’t help any.  One had to bend over and strip the running line on the floor of the boat or else the wind would whip it anywhere it could, including around me.  This weekend was extremely busy on the river as trout fishermen, walleye fishermen, and steelheaders alike were on the Muskegon River, some I swear were fishing all night.  As the cloudy skies brightened up a little after sunrise, for the first time, for me anyway, some of the gravel that I’ve been fishing, I could  actually  see, while difficult to see fish (some are able to sight fish), John had no problem ending his two day annual Muskegon River steelhead trip on a great note, with a large, slightly humped back male Steelhead, with a nice brightness to it, that hit the sixteen pound mark dead on my new “Boga Grip” scale.  The way it fought, there was no doubt John was into a large fish.  While it lacked the aerial acrobats and hard to and fro head shakes on the surface, it made a couple of hard runs and stayed deep.  For a slight instant we were not sure what we had a hold of until john was able to work it next to the boat, even then with the stained water, it remained invisible until it turned sideways, giving us a little flash of just how bright and large he was.  With the large hex nymph deeply planted in his jaw, John finally lifted enough to where I could net and ultimately take his photo before a clean release.  There is no question; the amount of “catch and release” is helping given the size of some of our Steelhead the past two years.  I have never seen as many 14 to 16 pound Steelhead in a given season as this year, let alone a small handful of 18 pound fish and one fish I saw a picture of breaking the twenty pound mark.  If a few of these large fish make it back next year, who knows what we’ll see, maybe an old State record of 26 pounds will be broken, who knows, maybe even this year.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 26

It was another beautiful day on the Muskegon River with longtime friend, John Gossett from Indianapolis, IN.  John has fished a lot of years with me on both the Pere Marquette and Muskegon River, and for him, the Muskegon River is his favorite.  Lil David fished with Tom Smith and Mike, who have always fished the Pere Marquette River with us.  This was their first time on the Muskegon River, they had a great time, and they will introduce Mike’s son to Steelhead when they come back in a week.   The Steelhead fishing remains good as the river dropped 10 inches today and the water temperature tries to hit the 49 degree mark.  Some of the really shallow gravel is starting to become visible, while the river in general still has a sandy stain to it making sight fishing next to impossible in most areas.  Today was exceptionally busy as it was also the opening day of the general trout season and walleye season.   For years I have caught Walleye up until opening day and today John caught a 5 pound male.  Tomorrow he and I will put it on the grill for some scrumptious fish sandwiches.  Another nice day is predicted for tomorrow, and then it looks like rain is in the forecast for the next few days after.  That will be a good thing, it could remain at its current level, or a little higher and we’d be quite content with that.  I’m looking forward to another great day on the Muskegon River tomorrow and the weeks to come.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 25

Sean O’Brien from AZ and his buddy Greg, from Grand Rapids, MI had a very good day fishing Steelhead on the mighty Muskegon River with me today.  What started out to be a cold, rainy morning, ended up to be nothing short of beautiful as the sun came out and warmed up.  The Steelhead felt it too as they were on the bite in the much stained waters of the Muskegon River.  Sean’s friend Greg has been a lot of places in this world, and adding to his list of experiences was his first time on fishing Steelhead in a river, and the Muskegon broke him in nicely.  This would also be our guests from Nashville, TN’s last day of their annual 3 day event of Steelhead and they ended it as well as they started as they fished with Lil David and DJ today.  Of course Mrs. Flowers wasn’t leaving this state until she finally landed a 38”, 18 pound Steelhead.  I said this was going to be a great year for big fish and it is, as we are all on the hunt for that one over 20 pounds.  The Muskegon has gelled up just right with slightly high water, very stained, and a water temp that is hovering in the upper 40’s.  With conditions like these, it makes for some very exciting times on the river.

Tight Lines!   David Roller


April24

Mr. Richard and Karen Flowers (pictured above) from Nashville, TN who I had the pleasure of fishing with today, as well as their good friends (and mine) Dr. Mike Lewis and Ben Lasater who Lil David had the pleasure of fishing with today, enjoyed their “day 2” of their annual 3 day Muskegon River Steelhead outing and they are having the best season they’ve ever had in the years they’ve been coming up.  Not only has the Steelhead fishing been great, but there have been a lot of large Steelhead in the mix compared to past years.  The Muskegon River has been dropping on a daily basis, combined with the water temps hovering in the high 40’s, it’s been a perfect blend for great steelheading on the fly.  The river is still very dirty from all the run off from the flood that kept the river closed for almost a week.   We have yet to see the bottom of the river, but the fish are certainly here as the run is just getting started.  We have one more month of great steelheading in the books with just a few open dates.  This year is the best chance for you to catch a “career” Steelhead, and a twenty plus pound Steelhead is not out of the question.   As the late, great Tom Silver used to say, “Book often, book early!”

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 23

We are up and running on the Muskegon River in Newaygo, MI and all is well.  Evidence of “the flood” on the upper waters near the damn is almost gone.  Richard and Karen Flowers, Ben Lasater, and Dr. Mike Lewis, all from Nashville, TN are up for their three day Steelhead trip and they started it off on a great note today as the Muskegon River treated them very kindly.  The Muskegon is still up and dirty, but with warmer water temps, the river is in perfect conditions for our liking.  More to come tomorrow as I just got on line and settled in, in the great town of Croton, MI.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 20

It’s always fun fishing with Jim Downs from Lansing, MI.  He has been with us during the toughest of times and today, while not high in numbers, Jim managed to get another large Steelhead, the sixteen pounder plus, pictured above, that helped Jim and I celebrate Easter Sunday.  This fish was a mature spawning male that had we caught this fish a month of ago, no doubt would have hit the 18 pound plus mark.  Compared to the “Flies Only” stretch, the lower river was still quite dirty with less than six inches of visibility, but dropping quickly.  Most of the fish we caught and fought were hot, fresh fish, as well as a “drop back” female.  Evidence of the high water was readily seen everywhere as the river swept the river banks, leaving the ground almost clean with debris piled in bushes and trees.  Large logs have been moved; some large logs I never thought could be moved, disappeared.  Log jambs were replaced with open water and some areas the logs were piled up like chord wood that only Mother Nature could do.  The Pere Marquette needed a good scouring, and we certainly got it.  I’m already excited about this November when some of my old runs should be fishable again.  The Muskegon River is “open for business” and we’ll be on it in short order.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 19

Here we are with ten days to go in April and we’re still catching numbers of Steelhead on the Pere Marquette River, and it really feels like spring is here to stay with temperatures pushing the 60 degree mark.  Normally we are well past peak and on the Muskegon River by now but this past harsh winter and cold March has made great fishing for our mid April fly fishers.  Brothers Stan and Shawn Borlace (pictured above) from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has been fishing with us for some time now over the years and today was one of the best times they’ve had fishing with Pere Marquette Outfitter’s guide Lil David today, putting several nice Steelhead to the net.  The river level is dropping quickly as the Pere Marquette is staying well below its banks and clearing nicely.  Easter Sunday, Jim Downs from Lansing, MI and I will take our switch rods and floating lines farther down river and see if the lower river has cleaned up a bit after the shellacking I took three days ago when the river was still a little over it’s banks.
Muskegon River:  There is mixed reports on whether or not we can get on it.  One word is that the only launch open is the Pine Street launch (the one we use).  One set of barricades were taken down, but a new set was put up by the DNR.  The river is well below where the State of Michigan allowed us to go on last year, however home owners along the river have been complaining so bad about the “extra damage” that “wakes” from jet boats running up and down the river could potentially make.   Downstream from Newaygo, MI the worry is about the amount of large, floating propane tanks that have not been recovered, that are lodged in log jambs or sitting at the waters edge.   Jeff Stuhan, owner of “Muskegon River Guide” is keeping us well informed and trying to get thru the red tape of whether or not we can get on.  One thing for sure, when we are able to get on, the fishing should be great as the Muskegon is holding at 44 to 45 degrees for water temp.  Until then, our home river, the Pere Marquette, is keeping us busy with plenty of Steelhead.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 18

It was good to be back in the saddle again on the Pere Marquette River, fly fishing for Steelhead.  After yesterday’s shellacking on the lower river, I migrated further upstream with Dr. Bob Starr and his friend Ed.  Dr. Starr also shared in the tough fishing conditions yesterday with me, so today was redemption and the reason it pays to book two or three days.  Originally Bob had three days booked, but due to excessive high water, we had to cancel his first day.  Today was a little different, what goes up must come down and so did the Pere Marquette River’s water level.  It has dropped close to 30 inches the past couple of days and today the river was in great shape as Bob and Ed had a great day putting some nice Steelhead to the net and watching a few come unbuttoned.  Most of the Steelhead today were fairly fresh, some had just started to work gravel, and we even caught a bright female in the gravel behind the redds that hadn’t even thought of spawning yet.  Adding to the great day of fishing, besides the beautiful weather, were some nice Brown trout and some smaller, aerial acrobatic “skippers”.
We’ve got another month plus to go chasing steelhead as we hope to be on the Muskegon River by the middle of next week, and it looks promising as the Muskegon is also dropping at a relative good pace.  This early morning the Muskegon was pumping out 12,600 cfs and by this evening it was down to 10,300 cfs with a water temperature starting to hover above 40 degrees, which should be a perfect start as we start fishing our ‘other’ favorite river.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 17

While the Muskegon River is still closed, were back fishing on the Pere Marquette River.  The lower river where I've been fishing dropped 30 inches in the past 30 hours.  Lil Davdi and Blake did well in the 'Flies Only " stretch.  We're back out again tomorrow.  It was slow for me on the lower end as we hoped to do better.  Mike Kaplowitz (pictured above) caught the only fish landed for the day as he fished with Dr. Bob Starr.  Bob and I will be back at it tomorrow.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

April 15

Normally I’m a day behind in my posting as I get up an hour earlier every morning to do “yesterday’s” report and answer some emails.  Since we are not fishing now, because of dangerously high water, I posted these pics that I took today around noon.  Compared to the pictures my son took yesterday, the river has come up another couple of feet. Notice the picture above, the Pere Marquette breaching it's banks, and then some. Blake texted me a picture of Gleason’s landing in which there is now 2 feet of water in the parking lot.  While the river is not coming up as quickly, it is not expected to crest in Scottville until tomorrow, which ‘should’ mean that it will crest in Baldwin by today or tonight (hopefully).  DJ and Lil D are fishing  the Grand River today, we’ll see how they do.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 14

I wanted the rain, but I sure got more than I bargained for as the river came up quickly, at one point 6 inches an hour.  Guides Blake Roller and Lil David started fishing the “Flies Only” stretch at daylight and by 9 a.m. were at the “take out” at Gleason’s Landing.  It wasn’t the high water itself, but the amount of grass, leaves, and debris that would wash into the line.   To make matters worse, the river continues to rise, so we could be down for a few days.  The picture above is Brad Turner’s drift boat at the “Green Cottage” and as you can see, the river is clear into the woods, over the flood plain.  The Muskegon River is on lock down, in other words, you launch your boat, and you go to jail.  Guide DJ is fishing the Grand River today, which did not get effected by the rain as most of the rain was to the north.  I’ll know more this afternoon on how that goes.   There was one drift boat that went down today (not ours) and Guide Brad Turner, who does some work for us in the fall, saved a man’s life by pulling him out of a log jamb.  The man really thought that his time was up.   So for the time being we are at a “wait and see” mode.  Until the river crests and starts to come down, we may not be fishing for a few days
On the lighter side, this part of the country needs this.  With the heavy snow falls and rain, Lake Michigan should come up a few inches (or feet).  With 90% of the Great Lakes frozen this past winter, they did not get the evaporation process that can take place in the winter.  Given the high waters and everything else, it should keep the marshes, Peré Marquette Lake, Manistee Lake, and other tributaries to Lake Michigan in great shape come this fall, which will be great for our waterfowl season.  We still have a month to go, on the Muskegon River, fly fishing for Steelhead, once we’re allowed to launch, we have lots of fish to catch yet.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 13

Well the rains have come and the rivers of western Michigan continue to rise.  As in the picture above with Dr. Greg Meadowcroft, you can see the muddy stain in the river.  The Peré Marquette River in Scottville, MI is in flood stage now and is expected to hit the 6 foot level with in a day.  All is not lost however as we’ve fished in worse conditions last year at this time and caught fish so we’ll continue to do so.  Today Dr. Meadowcroft and I started in the rain, but by 8 a.m. the rains stopped and the temperatures continued to rise as it became a very enjoyable day in the upper fifty degree range.  The first run we hit we hooked two Steelhead and then the work started as we went about two hours or so with out a fish.  We would work some secondary areas that have produced all week and started finding Steelhead and by days end the Peré Marquette River gave us three nice Steelhead and we did battle with six others.   Farther up river, guides Lil David and Blake continued to do well.  Pete Waleskowsk and Lil D had a great day including one of the largest Steelhead for Pete.  Blake had a father and two sons, approximate age 12 and 14, and they all managed to land Steelhead despite the high water.  Cooler weather is expected for a day or two then we pop back into the 50’s.  Tomorrow’s weather prediction is rain, snow, and wind.  With the rivers rising, it wouldn’t surprise me to get one more good push of Steelhead as we are a week away to transition from the Peré Marquette River to the Muskegon River as we look forward to another month of chasing chrome.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 12

In case you forgot that we get weather up here, the picture above with Dr. Scott from Minneapolis, MN in the rain that we got all day yesterday is just a little reminder.  Thankfully it was a warmer rain, and well needed as the river was getting just a little too clear for my liking.  A little spike in water should give us a few new fish on gravel as most beds were empty today, although Dr. Tim Gavin and Dr. Scott and I pecked our way down and were able to put 4 adult and one “skipper” Steelhead to the net as well as a couple of browns.  It was a little odd, as we’d come to an area we wanted to fish, hit one fish, maybe roll another and that was it.  We’d go to the next spot and more the same, so we’d hit a fish just about everywhere we fished, but could find nothing that was hot, a fun day none the less.  The other five guys of the group who fished with Peré Marquette Outfitter guides Lil David and Blake, did extremely well farther up river as that’s where the majority of the fish (and people) seemed to have migrated to with the high water we had.  We’ll see what the water level looks like tomorrow after an all day hard rain and rain through out the night.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 11

Brian Rooks (pictured above) and Peter Mans enjoyed another beautiful day on the Peré Marquette River fly fishing for Steelhead and they did it in style.  As they caught Steelhead through out the day, their wives would come up late in the afternoon, from southeast Michigan, to meet them at Barothy Lodge where they will enjoy a nice weekend at the “Elkhorn” cabin, one of Barothy’s luxurious, large lodge pole pine, log cabins.  And trust me when I say these are not you average little log cabins in the woods.  They are as nice in the inside as they look on the outside with indoor hot tub, pool table, and a kitchen that would make any chef happy.  Brian would start the morning off with our first steelhead as the guys traded back and forth staying even through out the day as we worked our way down the river, basking in a sunny 60 degree day.  The Peré Marquette River steelhead have not only been on the bite, but so has it’s brown trout as we have been catching some of the nicest browns I’ve seen in years, and some are fat and chunky, stuffed with  eggs and salmon fry as they sit behind Steelhead redds, gorging on what ever gets kicked off the gravel.  Peter Mans would end our day with a nice buck as we fished a nice little pocket where Brian also landed a couple of nice Steelhead.   Peré Marquette River guides Lil David, Blake Roller, and Dan Card continue to do well further upstream.  The river has been coming down nicely as water clears to a nice stain on a daily basis.  A little rain at this point would be welcome.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 10

Another busy day for Peré Marquette Outfitters fishing Steelhead on the Peré Marquette River as the “Strike Indicator boys” are back in town from Minnesota. Seven guys anxious to fish Steelhead, and the Peré Marquette River didn’t let them down as it was all hands on deck as we had boats through out the upper two thirds of the river.  Veteran patrons of Peré Marquette Outfitters Dr. Larry Vorlicky and Jed Persson shared my boat today as we poked and prodded our way down the river in perfect water conditions.  With in the first few casts of the morning, we would ‘double up’ on a nice brace of Brown trout before hooking into our first pair of Steelhead.  After loosing the first two steelies of the day, the guys honed in and we lost very few after that.  We would hook fish on gravel as well as some extremely spirited, bright steelhead in the runs, keeping the day exciting through out the entire day.  In one of our final runs, Jed would hit an explosive, fresh run, Steelhead that smoked an egg pattern as the strike indicator sunk underwater in a smashing fashion.  Once hooked the fish was out of the water more than it was in as Jed’s fly line went tearing up river.  The Steelhead would quickly find our anchor rope, swim around it, and jump into the bush we were anchored near and spit the fly.  It was all exciting, it was all good, and all we could do is laugh about it.  It was another great day, fly fishing for Steelhead on the Peré Marquette River.  More to come tomorrow!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 9

We have been busy, busy, busy around here and the Peré Marquette River is blooming nicely with spring as we just had three beautiful days in a row as we encroach the 60 degree mark and the Steelhead fishing gets better and better.  .  The upper river may even be seeing its peak.  Lil David guided Malcolm Royce and Dr. Dan Kiddy from the Ozark Fly Fishers in St. Louis, MO and they could have very well had their career day today.  Dr. Dan landed an 18 (eighteen) pound Steelhead yesterday and a 19 (nineteen) pound Steelhead today.  I had the pleasure of fishing with Jim Fox, his son Marty, and his son’s friend Tyler.  We hooked several fish but had a hard time bringing them to the net until days end when Marty saved the day with the 9 pound steelhead pictured above.  While the lower river is well stained and hard to see gravel, it is still coming down and in a couple of days, visibility should be getting better.  Water temp is coming up in mid afternoon as the “Tiny Winter Black Stoneflies” are hatching nicely.    The Muskegon River has been fishing slowly as their water temps are barely above the 36 degree mark due to the ice left in Croton and Hardy ponds.  But when it pops, they should have a stellar season, and we’ll be there.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 7

It has been a long time since I have seen Father Joe Fix pictured above.  He used to be the priest in Baldwin, MI thirty plus years ago and some how, through Ken and Cathy  (aka the Egg Lady)Zimmerman, who just so happens to go to his church, St. Agnes Catholic Church in Marion, and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Evart, MI, we managed to get together.  I can remember Father Joe Fix walking down the main street in Baldwin, MI with his two Labrador Retrievers in tow.  Father Joe Fix isn’t your ordinary priest, he is also a devoted outdoorsman, spending what little ‘extra’ time he has hunting and fishing and today the Zimmerman’s and I had him in my boat.  He showed up with a Loomis IMX 10’ 8 weight that Joe Sedlecky and Aines Borsum, the original owners of “Ed’s Sport Shop” in Baldwin, MI had given him some twenty five plus years ago.  It was a great day for steelheading as the weather was absolutely beautiful.  We had a little ice in the guides at daybreak as the temperatures barely dropped down to 32 degrees, but as the hazy sun came up, before long we were shedding layers, basking in 60 degree temps, and hooking plenty of Steelhead to keep a rotation going between the Zimmerman’s and Father Joe as we fished out of my drift boat in the murky, high waters of the Peré Marquette River.  Father Joe would be the first to hook up with our first two Steelhead of the day that came unbuttoned and Ken would step up and land our first eleven pound female Steelhead to the net.  Cathy would hook up several times and managed to put a small, bright male Steelhead to the net.  As we worked down the river Father Joe would finally scored with a nice male Steelhead, sporting spawning colors in the seven to eight pound class, after rolling a few more.  It was a “reunion” type of day as Father Joe would tell stories of people that we knew back when I was in my late teens and early twenties, a day of reflecting on memories as well as creating new ones.
Farther up river, Peré Marquette Outfitter guides Lil’ David and Blake ran the Ozark Fly Fishers, Malcolm Royce, Dr, Dan Kiddy, Dan Ehlmann, and Bill from Kansas to another great day on the river as they hooked several Steelhead and landed their fair share.  Slowly the river is trying to clear up and warms up on a daily basis as is evident by the tiny winter black stone flies that have been hatching during the early afternoon.  Spring may be trying to take hold after all.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 6

The upstream rain and run off caught up with us today as the river rose about two inches, fortunately it didn’t get much muddier as the Bob (pictured above) and Shirley Brock were on their second day of fly fishing for Steelhead on the Peré Marquette River.  Bob has been fishing with me the past 18 years and is quickly approaching his 400th Steelhead landed with me.   The Brock’s have seen great fishing and they have been on a few trips in which we were dealt tough conditions, but they fish hard and are good at it.  While we are still under less than ideal conditions and visibility zero, Bob and Shirley got it done as we picked the river apart and ultimately put some very nice Steelhead to the net as well as a few Steelhead giving them the slip.  Shirley put it best at the end of the day, “This was more fun than the law allows.”
Farther up river, Peré Marquette River guides Lil’ David and Blake Roller fished with members of the Ozark Fly Fishers, Malcolm Royce, Dr. Dan Kiddy, and friends Dan and Bill.  Dan and Bill are new to the Peré Marquette River and Steelhead fishing, but not anymore as everyone landed some very nice Steelhead.  We’ll all be at it again tomorrow.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 5

Last nights snow blanketed the forest floor nicely as we started out the day with Bob and Shirley Brock, from Canton, MI.  While a little chilly the first hour or so, and a little ice in the guides, it didn’t take Bob long to get us into our first couple of Steelhead and finally put one in the net.  It was nice starting the morning off with fish on and we wouldn’t stop there.  While the fishing wasn’t exactly hot, we would work down the river, finding  more than a couple of spots that held Steelhead that were willing to play and by mid afternoon, the sun would warm up, melt the new fallen snow, and make it comfortable to fish as Shirley would add a couple more Steelhead to the boat.  It was a classic Steelhead day with ‘enough’ fish to make for a very relaxing, fun day considering a water temperature of only 39 degrees.  Hopefully this is the start of the lower Peré Marquette River starting to rev up in its high, muddy conditions.  Tomorrow will be a little warmer as spring is finally starting to show a little more compassion on us.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 4

We finally broke the ice today and put a couple of Peré Marquette River Steelhead to the net after loosing the only three we had on yesterday.  Steve Haywood, owner of Focus Business Solutions Inc. from Taylor, MI and David Allan also from Focus Business Solutions Inc. fished hard in the all day, cold rain as we watched the water slowly rise.  The river did minimally clear a bit as I could barely see gravel that was in water 2 feet or less.  By days end the rain had turned to snow, as we just can’t seem to shake what’s left of winter.
Lil David and Jim Downs from Lansing, MI also fished and by 2 p.m. had only rolled one Steelhead,  However they would hit the jack pot as they fished a redd that they thought only had a pair of Steelhead on and in within an hour and a half, landed five nice  fish out of eleven Steelhead on.
The “Flies Only” Stretch has been doing well with the high water and there seems to be a bigger concentration of fish there, however it means very early start up times and watching a parade of drift boats, upwards of thirty to forty boats coming through.  If things don’t start popping on the lower river, we may have to migrate that direction.  Guides Lil David and Blake Roller will be up there tomorrow to give me a full report.  Better weather is coming as the extended forecast puts us above freezing in the mornings and in the high 40’s to may be 50’s in the afternoon…what a pleasure that will be.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 3

The only thing I can say today is that it was one of the toughest day’s I’ve had to fish.  Cold, dirty water was not giving us any slack as the early spring run off continues.  Steve Haywood and fishing partner Dave were with me today and the best we could do is hook into two Steelhead.  With water too dirty to fish runs and see gravel, we worked all the gravel we could in a long days time.  When we found ‘a’ fish, we worked the area even harder.  “Certainly there has to be more than one” would go through our minds, but that’s all we could muster.  Lil D had Dona and Dwight Montgomery and they would turn five Steelhead today and could not manage to put a Steelhead to the net, even with Dona’s luck.  The good news is that the river came down a good three to five inches through out the course of the day, and I would expect it to drop even more through the night.  If it clears up just a bit (not too much I hope), we should be able to see gravel instead of fishing it blind and hoping.  Weather wise we are at least starting to warm up, although on a small incline.  One of these days, sooner than later, everything will gel up just right and we’ll be will on our way to some great fishing as the Peré Marquette River is on the cusp to retain it’s great, spring reputation…maybe even tomorrow!

Tight Lines!  David Roller



April 2

The waters of the Peré Marquette River is running icy and dirty as the run off continues, and the 17 degree morning didn’t help.  Visibility  is poor,  about 12 inches at best and today the fishing was a little tough, but not with out a few Steelhead to keep our anglers on the ready.  Thom (pictured above) and his brother Tim finished the last of their four day Steelhead trip today as Thom managed to land two steelhead through out the day.  I had the privilege of fishing with Dona and Dwight Montgomery from Columbus, OH and while Dona was the only one that could put Steelhead on the end of the line, we couldn’t put one in the net, but she did manage to put an 18 inch Brown trout to hand, one that we would be proud especially during the dry fly season.  As the river continues to come up, almost bank full, it has taken out a lot of the shelf ice.  We still have plenty of snow and plenty of Steelhead to come up the river, when we finally warm up.  In the mean time, we fish, we fish hard, fishing everything we can in a days time and finding fish.  Some days, like today, we find only a few, and others like a couple of days ago with Bill Todd and Dan Kopp, we are into double digits…in the net!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


April 1

It was a heck of an April Fool’s Day played on us by Mother Nature today after yesterday’s, beautiful, almost 60 degree day.   Bill Todd, Dan Kopp, and I started the morning with a balmy 48 degrees but you could almost feel the temperature drop by the minute.  By late morning, the wind was blowing and the snow was flying as we hovered around the 32 degree mark.  Add to the mix the river coming up another four inches (and rising) and the water visibility to near zero inches, and our spring “run off” is finally happening.  All was not lost though as Bill and Dan, representing the Ozark Fly Fishers from St. Louis, MO never missed a beat after their stellar performance from yesterday.  Bill Todd (pictured above) would get us on the board with a ten pound male Steelhead sporting spawning colors, but in the end the Steelhead would win as they would either give us the slip or run us deep under submerged logs and break us off.  Ironically, it was the secondary gravel areas that would pay off today as we fished everything we could hitting one fish here, two fish there, and so on.  The great fish that was caught today (and they are all great) was an 18 pound male caught by Thom Ries from Columbus, OH as he and his brother was guided by Lil David.  I’ll have that picture tomorrow.  I would expect tomorrow morning, the river will come up even more, making wading near impossible.  But that’s ok as we love these conditions as it will surely bring more Michigan Steelhead to the Peré Marquette River for us to fly fish to as we look forward to tomorrow.

Tight Lines!  David Roller




Day one of week 2 made for tougher flying conditions with low cloud ceiling.  There was only about a 5 hour window of opportunity for flying in, but we made it.  7/24/14First morning at Nonvianuk Lake, drinking coffee, appreciating a great morning after the front blew through last evening.  7/25/14First Grayling on "Upper Noni" , rarely seen this high up in the float.  7/25/14Dwight Montgomery with a nice Rainbow on the mouse, we had a giant come up and missed the mouse just moments prior.  7/25/14Our first King of the trip and while we were floating on day 2.  Dwight Montgomery caught the King and Rich  Conie netted it while we were drifting down river.  On the last cast in the pool as the current started to pull my raft below casting distance.  7/25/14Rich Conie with a nice Char...catching dinner!  7/26/14The boys catching some "Dollies" for dinner on week 2 of Alagnak River float trips.
7/24-30/2014.Our Mink returned, trying to steal our fish through the net.  7/26/14Ice on the wader boots from a very frosty morning on 7/26/14.Ice in even in the personal water filter as well as a 1/4 of water in one of the coffee cups frozen solid on the frosty morning.  Lil D and Rich Conie with another nice Dolly Varden. 7/26/14Our neighbors like to eat fish too.  7/27/14John Parisi and Craig Conie with a "Jack" an imuture King...they were almost everywhere.  7/26/14John Parisi with another fine King Salmon on the Alagak River on 7/28/14.Rich Conie with another fine Alagnak King Salmon on 7/25/14.A toast to us all as we've enjoyed many years on the Alagnak River together.  Sunset just a few minutes before 11 p.m. 7/25/14Heading to our next spot to campLunch time on the back of my raft after fishing a King hole we couldn't pass by.  It's hard to pass up a good roast beef sandwich.  7/27/14Another large King on the Spey rod.  7/27/14Dwight Montgomery with a nice Rainbow on the Switch Rod.Underwater shot releasing a King.Think we're ready?  You can  never have enough rods.Craig Conie and I on one of the coldest days of the season.  Blowing 40 mph, rain, and cold, a major contrast from the day before, but we fished on.  Rich landed this nice King on a Switch Rod and "indicator rig".
7/28/14Craig Conie with an Alagnak River King on the coldest day of the week, if not summer. 7/28/14John Parisi with a mature male Pink Salmon also know as a "Humpy".  Notice the humped back starting to develop. 7/28/14Another Pink salmon by John Parisi with good friend Craig Conie.  Notice the contrast on dressing for the weather.  7/28/14Craig Conie, the day after the cold front blew through on  7/29/14Our largest King this year so far (caught) by Dwight Montgomery.  7/29/14Alaska!  A beautiful place to be!Another friendly passer by.Rich Conie with a nice King caught on an eight weight, Redington Dually Switch Rod.  7/29/14Looking for one more King!The quiet ride of the last 1/2 mile to our "take out" at weeks end.  7/29/14At the "take out" dismanteling rafts and putting up camp one last time for this week. 
 7/29/14Me and a Mink (or Pine Marten) fighting over dinner.


July 30, 2014
Week 2 Alaska

Click here to add text.