It has been a cold, wild week as of late including minus 1 to minus 12 below zero depending where you were on the river this past Sunday. And how about the snowstorm last Friday! Snowing so hard, one could barely see 50 yards down river.
We had a good last week of March where we had a couple above freezing mornings which led to very active fish and hitting double digits through out the day. Then the cold set in when my indicator fishermen from MN arrived. With mid teen (or colder) start up temps, the guys were prepared for it and caught fish daily for three days, despite the wind, cold, and snow. Then Columbus, Ohio was well represented when Tim Shremshock and crew as well as Carol Skinner and her great kids, incorporated the river for three days. Despite the below zero weather, my Columbus peeps are tough and weathered through it and put some nice fish to the net.
George Westermeyer arrived today with his crew and finally a just above freezing morning and fish were active again. With rains on the horizon, we could be in for some great fishing. It will be tough to migrate to the Muskegon River when we normally do around the 18th of April, we may be sitting tight on some great fishing to be had when spring finally arrives on the PM.
Winter has returned as well as the cold weather. Fishing has not been easy, but we’re managing to catch a couple three steelhead a day. Actually, fishing was better in February during the nice little warm spell we’ve had. The Pere Marquette River is running clear, cold, and normal levels after the rains in late February. A few steelhead are starting to scratch gravel, even in this cold weather and a lot of redds are visible. As soon as we get rid of these cold mornings (14-degree morning over the weekend), we should be back into great fishing and a little more ‘catching’. The steelhead are there, and March is a fickle, unpredictable month; a few days of 45/50 degree weather, then back in the teens for lows.
Pictured above is Tim Schremshock from Columbus, OH. They sent me the picture today while still on the river, one nice buck in hand and so far, he and his brother Scott have lost two others. At the time of this posting, they still have time to put a couple more in the net. Take the time to get some fishing in this spring, it will be over before we know it!
Pere Marquette Outfitters guide Blake Roller and I couldn't help but take advantage of 50 degree weather the last day of February. While we started the morning out with ice in the guides, it wasn't long and the first layer was coming off. After last weeks flooding, the river looked in great shape and we were hoping to find some fresh fish migrating up with last weeks extra water. Fishing behind three boats that past us early in the morning, we kept our pace running floating lines and indy rigs with our Mystic Switch Rods and in due time, we were putting fish to the net as well as some that just plain come unbuttoned, not with out a few nice runs!
Today, one drift boat, and three Rollers. My nephew Blake, my son David (aka Crockett) and I haven’t been in the same boat, probably since the boys (now young men and excellent guides) were in grade school. With the cold weather the past month, and in rod building mode, it’s the first I’ve been on the water since duck season. Not only was it great to be with Crockett and Blake, but just good to be back on the river.
We left the plug rods at home; Blake and I grabbed our indy rods and Crockett brought his bobber and spawn rod. We knew rain was on it’s way, as much as 2 inches or more in the forecast, and we wanted to take advantage of warmer weather as well as we are unsure what the wet weather will do to near future water conditions, possibly blowing it out for a few days. The fishing wasn’t fast and furious by any means, but we came to fish and the boat was like a well-oiled machine as we picked and prodded out way down the river. We all knew what had to be done, when it had to be done, who was casting, who wasn’t, etc. etc.
For the first time in a long time I was in the back of the boat, following ‘the other two’ Roller’s lead. I had the boys talking to themselves for a while as I managed to pick up the first two steelhead, a couple nice Browns, and loose a very nice steelhead. But the guys stayed hard at it, never missing a beat and soon Crockett would be on the board and Blake would lose a couple. By days end, Blake and I hitting a double, Blake would end up with the largest steelhead, pushing the 12-pound range.
1 to 3 inches of rain is predicted now through Wednesday, and some local areas more. Mixed with melting snow, it’s a tough call on what kind or river conditions we’ll be up against by weeks end. We have a few trips in the upcoming days, we’ll certainly be on top of it. Here are a few pics of the days event.
It has been a very cold winter no doubt! Starting in mid December, the lower Pere Marquette River locked up with ice and the rest of the river quickly followed suit. By the end of December, the river was locked up from Baldwin, MI clear to Ludington. A couple of weeks ago, we hit 50 degrees for about 2 days and Crockett and his friend Loye Carter walked in to take a peak at the river. It was open enough, that from shore, fishing bobbers and spawn, landed three steelhead and lost two others, in an afternoon fishing session.
Three days ago, Pere Marquette Outfitters’ guide Blake Roller stood at the banks of the Pere Marquette River and debated whether to put his boat in or not. It was 5 degrees and the slush was pouring down the river. After an hour, the boat was in the water and in between slush flows, which lasted until 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon, Blake and good friend James Aldrich braved the cold weather and put three nice steelhead to the net.
Yesterday was beautiful to say the least! It’s always a treat to take advantage of ‘above freezing’ temps when launching the boat in the morning. Blake and James did just yesterday and had a great day on the Pere Marquette. No ice in the guides and plenty of steelhead to keep them busy.
This years Steelhead are running extra-large and we started seeing them in November. Our largest fish was caught in November with Crockett on the oars, and that large behemoth weighted in at 19 pounds. More than a handful of Pere Marquette River steelhead over 14 pounds were caught this year, so it will be an interesting spring to say the least.
Our fall salmon season last year was nothing short of stellar. Despite issues in Lake Michigan concerning “planted” salmon (which has been cut drastically), our native, natural reproduced in the river Kings, have less competition now for a food source while they spend their 3 to 4 years (on average) getting large and healthy. It has been said by DNR officials, that the alewive population IS maintaining and, in some areas, blooming to larger expectations. Again, as many or more alewives and less competition for our Pere Marquette River Kings.
Last year was like the good ole days, as Crockett and Blake were into Kings by mid-August, and plenty of fishable numbers by the time the first of September hit. When I arrived on the scene from Alaska on the 23rd of September, not only was the King fishing great, but by the first of October, Coho’s started coming in by the numbers, more than I have ever seen on the PM. Three to five Coho’s landed was the norm for a while with our largest coming in at an extra large 18 (eighteen) pounds! I almost mistook it for a King.
We have a great year already lined up. Our spring steelhead is booking nicely and will be here in less than 30 days. “Alaska’s Alagnak Wilderness Camp” (Look it up and ‘like’ on Facebook) is looking great, and guys are already getting their fall dates in their schedule.
Like last year, this year will fly by! In less than 30 days, we will be busy until mid-December. Don’t let another year pass you by without getting in the books. In the words of the late, great Tom Silver, “book early, book often, hell! Just be booked”.
First and foremost Happy Mother’s Day to all the great mothers out there and to those great women who give me the opportunity to fish with their husbands. To you I say thank you!!! And thank you to some of the Mom’s we get to fish with on occasion.
We are still on the Muskegon River as we are soon to wrap up Spring 2017. It started out well and slightly early due to the crazy warm weather we had the second and third week of February, in which at that time we had spawning steelhead on the Pere Marquette River, and at that time, rid the back waters of Croton and Hardy Pond on the Muskegon River, of ice. Due to that, it set the Muskegon River up early for a perfect storm, in which Crocket was a part of. In a four-day period from the 17th of April to the 21st of April, Crocket put 147 (one hundred and forty) steelhead to the net. I normally start on the Muskegon around the 18th of April in which the river is just starting to pump our 39-degree water temps and it’s just getting started and hooking 20 fish a day is the norm. We paid for that great fishing on the back side as fewer ‘late’ fish are coming in.
This past Thursday and Friday we spent with Dr. Robert Starr and Dr. Steve Cohen and their friends Dr. Marvin (from KY) and Dr. Tracy (from southern Ohio). It wasn’t easy fishing but we managed to land 23 (twenty-three) steelhead between both boats in two days. With all the flood gates now closed, bluebird days, and lower water we’re working harder than ever to get the job done, but we’ve succeeded thus far.
Batting cleanup on Tuesday and Wednesday, will be Charlie Kuhlman and John McArthur from the Columbus, OH area. They like this time of the year, we’ll see how the Muskegon River welcomes them.
Also, the end of April/early May, guide Blake Roller had some great days streamer fishing the Pere Marquette River, catching some nice Brown trout as well as seeing some monsters chase the streamer. He and friend Trent won the Michigan Addicts Trout tournament where the largest combination of three brown trout was the score. They had 59.5 inches for three browns and won first place! Great job guys!!!
In a few short days, Karen and I head to Alaska to start our summer season. With internet hook up, we hope to be posting the weekly events.
Our fall season is just about booked up, both on the Pere Marquette River and late salmon on the Muskegon River. If you are not in the books, get with us soon so we can get you in!!!
I’ll let you know how our ‘clean up’ crew makes out on the Muskegon River later this week.
Tight Lines!!! David Roller
We are in full Muskegon River steelhead mode and the fishing has been great to say the least. The numbers were almost staggering a week ago. Now the fishing is good as most days we are putting double digit numbers in the net. With this major storm front coming in, if we get the rain predicted and a good dose of high water, we’ll get another great push of steelhead. A couple days ago, Crockett pulled a second shift as he and Damon Mickleson put the 16 pound steelhead to the net that is pictured above. We’re staying in Croton, MI so wifi and cell service is dicy at best. You can either message me on Facebook or call my cell number @ (231) 342-0049. We do have a few days open in the next two weeks, but they are going fast. Hope all is well and look forward to seeing some of you soon and some of you in Alaska.
Tight Lines! David Roller
The first two weeks of April on the Pere Marquette River has been nothing short of great, for the most part. We did have one day out of the first two weeks that turned the fish off, but for those who stayed on for that extra day, it was well worth it because we were right back into our numbers. The past couple days on the Pere Marquette River has slowed down a bit, there is no doubt there will be great days ahead, but we are migrating down to the Muskegon River. Crocket has been down there for almost a week now and hitting some very impressive numbers as well as a very large sixteen pound male caught today by Aaron Isenhart (pictured above) from Traverse City, MI. Very Impressive! He and Kelly Vliet from Midland, MI fished together today and despite the early morning rain storm, it was followed up by a steelhead storm.
Karen and I will be heading to Alaska on May 22nd. By the time we make our fuel runs, get our camp, Alaska’s Alagnak Wilderness Camp, up and running we’ll be all set for our guests in no time at all. We have a great Alaskan season planned with still a few slots open, so if you want to get into some great fishing don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Tight Lines! David Roller
Long days and short nights to say the least the past few days. The past four days have been stellar steelhead fishing for the exception of yesterday's sunny day that put the fish down after a major feeding frenzy the two days prior. Today the fishing kicked into high gear again, reiterating what I have been preaching in the past on booking two days. Foul, cold, wet, maybe wet snow coming tomorrow. Sounds like a good steelhead day to me. We'll be out there and I'll let you know.
Tight Lines! David Roller
There was a lot of bad weather predicted for us the past two days from over a half inch of rain to freezing rain. The only thing we had to deal with was if we picked up enough slack on the fly lines once a steelhead started running towards the boat. From the time we got on the water till days end, the weather couldn’t have been more pleasant. The river looks great although I wouldn’t mind it if the river came up a little with just a tinge more color. Right now, we have a few spawning steelhead, drop backs heading back to Lake Michigan that are extremely hungry, and new fish coming in, starting our ‘spring run’. Pete Mans (pictured above) brought 5 of his friends, some of whom were with us two years ago, to date when it was extremely cold. All in all, we turned a bunch of steelhead and put a fair share to the net. A little rain and temps above freezing predicted which will fare well for my Nashville/Seattle team coming for their annual trip, fishing for 5 days as well as some of our guests from the Columbus, OH area. We’ve got a busy week and the river should treat us well.
Tight Lines! David Roller
The luck of the Irish shone on some more favorably than others today and I was part of the “others”. While a little cold to start the morning off, still fighting ice in the guides, the day shaped up with a mostly snow/rain mix as the temps rose to the mid 30’s. A perfect steelhead day really. With the water temps, still cold a few steelhead showed themselves on gravel, but not many. With three boats, out today (Blake, Crockett, and myself), combined, we landed 9 steelhead, a couple of fresh skippers, and a few Browns.
Mentioning in the opening line that I was part of the “others”, for some reason we had a very hard time keeping fish on the end of the line to bring to the net, just one of those days. Mike Chiuchiarelli and Craig Chamberlain, hooked and fought some very nice fish, as did I, and some would run and hang on for enough of a time that “certainly we’ll get this one”, and would just come unbuttoned. Mike got us on the board late in the morning with a nice skipper, followed by a Brown Trout, then the luck of the Irish headed farther up river to Blake and Crockett’s boats. Finally, at the end of the day, we managed to put a nice buck to the net and everything was right with the world.
It was a great day, it was a steelhead day, and even on those days you lose fish, at least we had the pleasure of fooling them and kept us on edge throughout the day. We look forward to many more steelhead days to come. With the predicted warm up, get on the water in the next three weeks, before you let another spring pass you by.
Tight Lines! David Roller
The weather has turned colder and I knew we would pay for the extra warm weather we had in February. I mean 60 degree days!!! But the weather didn’t stop Pere Marquette River guide Blake Roller and guests Tim Schremshock and Joe Blankenship from Columbus, OH. They are here in March no matter the weather to get in on the steelhead action, and action they had the past two days.
The Pere Marquette River has a very good amount of steelhead in the system. The warm weather not only put our winter fish on gravel, but also brought some new spring run fish in that are awaiting their time to spawn. In addition to steelhead around spawning redds and new fish coming in, we do have some “drop backs” that have spawned, rested, and eager to feed. We all want fresh fish to catch, but I’ve seen some drop backs give us a run for our money and until it was in the net, we didn’t know. They are nice addition to a tough day or great day on the water.
The pages of March 2017 are turning quickly, it will only get warmer (as predicted), let’s go fishing!!!
Tight Lines! David Roller
Despite the 30 mph plus winds today, it still felt like spring and Pere Marquette River guide Blake Roller and his buddy Trent took advantage. They started out looking for spawning gravel and saw enough fish on gravel to make a morning. Then the duo set out and fished runs with floating lines and “indy” rigs, finding some fish willing to play in runs and pools. No matter what the calendar says, spring has sprung. While we are in for colder weather, I’m sure, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see snow the end of March and April, our winter steelhead feel the heat of the sun and warmer water temps and are working spawning gravel. We have open flexible dates throughout March, if you can watch the weather and get away, catching steelhead on the Pere Marquette River is only a phone call away.
Tight Lines! David Roller
Since early February, spring has been trying to arrive. For two weeks in February, it did arrive as we lost all of our snow, temperatures well exceeding 50 degrees, and we had a few steelhead on spawning gravel. Fast forward to March, and our temps have been all over the place from 4 below zero a couple of night ago, back up to 50 plus degrees today.
My youngest brother Shawn, and his son, our guide Blake Roller, took advantage of the warmer weather today and caught some nice steelhead.
Spring is almost here and it will peak its head around the corner as winter fights to stay. With the warm weather of February, new fish have showed up throughout the river system. The colder temps that hit us have kept the water temps cooled off to keep an all-out, early spawning run from happening; that’s a good thing. With plenty of fish in the river system, whether the day is cold or warm, there should be plenty opportunities like there was today.
Tight Lines! David Roller