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December 1st

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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

April 30

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

April 20

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

April 5

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

March 25

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

March 17

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

March 13

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

March 7

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

March 5

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

January 30

Colder temperatures have arrived, the run-off on the Pere Marquette River is starting to recede as it clears up a bit, and the fishing continues to be good.  Pere Marquette Outfitters guide Blake Roller was joined by father/son team Randy and Rance Stout, from Branch, MI as they braved the cold and snow for a steelhead trip on the “PM”.   The fishing was good as father and son put five nice steelhead to the net and hooked three others and fourteen year old Rance (pictured above) caught the largest fish of the day and the smile says it all! 
For the next two weeks, we look like we’ll be in a more normal weather pattern as we fluctuate from mid to high teens to upper 20 degree temperatures.  With the river, still up and stained, it should keep it ice free and the opportunity to fish steelhead wide open.
We are shaping up nicely for our spring bookings as well as our summer/early fall for Alaska.  There is still time for both if you are not in the ‘books’, as we are starting 2017 with another solid season.  In the words of the late Tom Silver, “book often, book early, hell, just be booked!”

Tight Lines!  David Roller

January 25

Enroute to snowmobile in Michigan’s UP, given the weather conditions, rain, snow melt, etc., Steve Haywood and Grant Hughes decided to go steelhead fishing with me given the lack of snow machine conditions.  I wasn’t sure what conditions we’d be up against on the Pere Marquette River as well given the amount of snowmelt and rain.  I took a quick peek at the river on Monday evening and while dirty and quite stained, it wasn’t completely muddy.
We started out the day very slow.  The river had come up slightly overnight and stained even worse and the first three hours we never had a nudge on the plug rods.  It seemed the river cleared a tiny bit as we got farther downstream and soon we were hitting fish.  The first three fish on the day were skippers, fat 20-inch immature steelhead, then we started to hit larger fish and couldn’t keep them on for more than a few headshakes as they would jump and clear the water.  Towards the end of the day, we had landed 5 skippers, the most I have ever landed in January, and finally Steve puts a nice 8-pound steelhead to the net the last hour of the day, but that wouldn’t be the end of the action, as Grant had two other nice steelhead on, and par for the course, we couldn’t keep them on.  We had a stellar day!  Great company, action, and a 40 degree in January with no wind or ice to deal with; it was a great day to be on the river.
This morning we had a skiff of snow on the ground and a couple inches of snow is predicted as well as colder temps.  This should stop the run off and as the river clears up we should have some great winter steelheading!

Tight Lines!  David Roller

January 12

With the ice dams on the lower river, 8 inches of snow, then a days’ worth of rain, including last night, the Pere Marquette River remains under a ‘flood advisory’ for Mason County, mostly around Scottville and downstream.  At 11 a.m. this morning the stage was 4.3 feet high and “bank full” is 4 feet.  The advisory continues thru Tuesday at 1 a.m. 
From Walhalla Bridge, downstream, the river is locked up with ice.  Looking above Walhalla Bridge, the river looks good, however guide Kurt Roller took a little walk around the “Maple Leaf” access and found plenty of shelf ice that exceeded half way across the river.  There could be some pockets from Gleason’s Landing on down that could still be frozen clear across.
Next week we are supposed to warm up again, so between the high water and warmer temps, most of the shelf ice could blow out and it will be nice to get into steelhead mode. 
We are also in the process of building a new website for our camp in Alaska as well as reformatting and giving our current website a ‘fresh look’, so in weeks to come look for the changes.  It will be refreshing to say the least.
In the meantime, we’re building a few rods, lots of paperwork, spring, summer, and fall bookings, and wishing we were on the river.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

January 7

I hope all our patrons, new and those who have been with us for 30 plus years, had a great Christmas and the New Year is treating you right!  With the cold, single digit temperatures, the lower Pere Marquette River is locked up tight and a lot of slush and anchor ice is flowing down the rest of the river system.  Hopefully we get warmer temps as predicted next week, and we’ll be able to get back on the river fishing for steelhead.
In the meantime, I can’t help but reflect on Alaska and the camp we purchased, Alaska’s Alagnak Wilderness Camp.  Last year, as many of you know, Karen and I stayed thru the 23rd of September.  We hosted six of our patrons from Clarkston, MI, as they participated in a self-guided moose hunt, and we guided them on duck hunts, as well as fishing for Silvers, Rainbows, Dollies, and Grayling.  The guys were there for 10 full days from September 6 to the 16th and it was nothing short of a daily adventure.
At 4:45 a.m. I would get up and fire up the generator, by 5 a.m. Trapper and Karen were busy in the kitchen preparing breakfast, so by the crack of dawn, we could all get started.  Trapper would take two of the guys across the river to hunt moose, two guys would hike a ½ mile behind camp, and I would take two guys down river to hunt ducks.  By noon/1 p.m. I would pick up decoys and we would proceed to fish for Silvers and in most instances, it was a matter of going down river a ½ mile to get the job done.  Hooking 20 plus Silvers in an afternoon, fishing leisurely was not a problem.  Meanwhile back at camp, Karen would have lunch ready for some of the hunters returning, and Trapper would take them fishing for the afternoon.  A semi early dinner and some of the guys would moose hunt the evening.  Everyone stayed very busy to say the least.
On the waterfowl front, we shot decoying Mallards, Pintails, Widgeon, and Green Winged Teal.  “Karma”, my Black Labrador Retriever, loved every minute of it.  While there were a few non-ducky mornings we only shot three or four ducks, there were plenty of morning we pushed or exceeded double digits and missed plenty more.
Damon Michelsen was the first to score on a bull moose within a short hike behind camp.  In 2 ½ hours, the guys had the moose de-boned and back at camp.  A couple of days later, Tom Duty scored the second one a few miles downriver.  Matt May missed one behind camp and Dr. Tim O’Neil watched one for 20 minutes behind camp.  With only two brow tines, the one Tim was watching within 175 yards was a hard call on how large the rack was.  We later heard of a 70 inch bull that was taken, with two brow tines, about 5 miles upriver, 5 days later.
As Tim O’Neil stated pre-arrival, it was an epic duck/bull/bow/silver safari. A ten-day adventure all of us will never forget, and we are all going to get together in 2018 and do it all over again, with a couple guys to join who missed out on this year.
Alaska is full of adventure, whether at the end of a rod, camera, shotgun, or rifle, and our camp is justly suited for all the above.  2017 will be full of experiences to come, be part of it and be part of the story!

Tight Lines!  David Roller

December 25

Merry Christmas from Karen, the staff of Pere Marquette Outfitters, the staff of
Alaska’s Alagnak Wilderness Camp, and I.  We are truly blessed with patrons like you who have been with us for all the years and those who have just jumped on board with us.  Between Alaska and here in Michigan we can’t express our gratitude enough, except to do the very best we can each day.  The purchase of Alaska’s Alagnak Wilderness Camp has opened a few new windows for us, as it kept Karen and I in Alaska through the 23rd of September.  Running self-guided moose hunts, waterfowl, fishing for Silvers and Rainbows/Char/Grayling was an epic time in Alaska and something we plan on doing for years to come. 
Back here in Michigan, it was nice to see our fall King season back to normal.  Our Kings were large averaging 16 to 20 pounds, and plenty of them.  With the decrease of planting in Lake Michigan, our ‘wild’ Kings have less competition for food, which led to the size factor of this year’s King Salmon.  Also, I feel, two years ago, the weather played a major factor in our mid-September run.  The first three weeks of September, we endured 85 degree temps which led to warm water temps, which kept a lot of Kings staging in Lake Michigan longer than normal.  We finally got them, we got them late.
We look forward to another successful season to come as 2017 is but a few pages away.  We hope to be part of your fishing/hunting adventure as we carry on a plus 30 year tradition with some, and start new traditions with those just jumping on board.
Thank you again! to all of you making Pere Marquette Outfitters and Alagnak Wilderness Camp successful and the future years to come!

Tight Lines!  David Roller

December 19

A few weeks ago, longtime friends and patrons of Pere Marquette Outfitters, Scott Shremshock (left pictured above) and Greg Schlegel, from Columbus, Ohio (right pictured above) booked our two day “late season” waterfowl hunt for the ‘middle zone’.  By the time the weekend got remotely close, the cold, bitter temperatures snuck in, freezing just about every open water or open water access there was.  All was not lost and I finally found a small open water spot that was holding ducks and geese.  It wouldn’t be easy!  On Friday, the 16th, with a spud, splitting maul, and rope I cut ice to get to the other side where would be best to hunt and provide the best cover.  Then I needed to rid the small pocket of a little more than 500 square feet of ice.  With a rope tied to me and a tree on the bank, I ventured out on the ice cut a small hole, checked the depth, and had 4 feet of water, enough I could stand on the bottom.  Within a few hours, and a few flocks of ducks circling overhead, I had a nice patch of open water and blind built.  The work had just started as it would take some effort to bring in my heaters, decoys, dog matts, cook stove, small hunting seats, guns, etc., etc., etc.  and there was no using my 20’ Go-devil with the blind as I couldn’t get the boat into the launch.  Dragging my loaded canoe, acrossed ice, to open water, was my only option.  If the ice broke, at least I had my canoe, and decoy bags to get me out. 
On Saturday, day one, Scott and Greg arrived and I was all set.  The cold weather had not progressed but we had lost our wind.  The shooting was good the first couple hours of the morning but quickly slowed down with hundreds of geese that were headed to corn to entertain us.  We had fun at close range mallards, but only took two.
On Sunday, day two, I had changed the decoy spread and the wind was howling at 13 degrees.  The wind was in our face which was a disadvantage to us, as the ducks would want to come in from behind us, in short quarters.  The mornings pace with the wind was fast and furious and for the first 15 to 20 minutes, none of us were shooting worth a damn, including yours truly.  Finally, I doubled on two drakes, and the good shooting started with Scott following up with two doubles.  As the bitter cold hit hard, even with two heater heads hooked up to two 20-pound propane tanks, we had two guns down that needed field work.  So, as I’m tearing guns apart, naturally we were covered up with ducks and the flying green heads won that round.
Despite the cold weather, “Karma” my Black Labrador, readily jumped in the icy waters to retrieve our ducks.  Some would land in the tall grass, covered with snow, and she would cross the river and find them for us.  Upon her return, she would shake the ice and water off her coat, we would dry her off with a fleece blanket, and she would huddle up next to the heater.  I don’t care how hardy some dogs are, they get cold in harsh environments.  One year I saw a dog go into hypothermia, and it wasn’t pleasant.  With our hunting coats, we got the dog back somewhat normal, but she was done for the day.  Vests for dogs are nice if hunting open water or flooded corn, but my old Lab, Cinder, went through two of them, getting hung up in brush, and after that, no more vests.  My dogs have easy access to the heaters like we do.
In 20 mph plus winds and 11 degrees, singles and pairs kept working the small hole and a great hunt was had by all, not to mention the delicious venison/beef stew, loaded with meat, potatoes, and other great ingredients that Karen made for us the night before.  At noon, all four of us ate like Kings (Karma included).
Great friends, great company, a great hunt, and despite the cold (which actually helped us) we had another wonderful time in the great outdoors.  We were all committed and we made it work!!!

Pere Marquette River:  With the severe cold weather, slush, anchor ice and shelf ice has put a damper on the most of the river system, making steelhead fishing almost impossible.  With a slight warm up predicted, the river should open and we’ll be back on.

We also have two days left for a late season waterfowl hunt for the southern zone.  Karen and I will be hunting it for sure, even though the dates fall on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  We’ll bring the new year in with a bang!

Tight Lines!  David Roller

December 13

The bitter cold has set in to northern Michigan and it’s going to get colder by weeks end as single digit temperatures are working their way in.  It has affected the steelhead on the Pere Marquette River as water temps plummet.  While anchor ice and shelf ice has not set in ‘yet’, it won’t be long with these existing temperatures.  This past Sunday, Holt Merkle and I braved the cold weather in search of an active steelhead or two and that’s exactly what we found.  We hooked two steelhead, one was large, but both gave us the slip.  However, two very nice brown trout were caught including the one above that Holt caught as we ran floating lines and indicator rigs with our switch rods.  It wasn’t easy as we fought ice in our guides the entire day.  On a rare occasion, we could get about 6 drifts before the guides on our rod would be completely plugged by ice.  None the less, we had a very enjoyable time, fishing on the river.  It was a great experience for Holt, as seeing snow on a river is a rare occasion for him, being from Georgia.
However just before the frigid weather took hold, guide Blake Roller had a couple of good days of fishing last week.  In two days’ time, he and his friend Trent hooked 15 steelhead and landed seven or eight fish.  I expect we’ll have more days like that to come as soon as we start to warm up again.
On the waterfowl end, good friend of mine Steve Goerner, from Illinois who guided for me in the early years of Pere Marquette Outfitters, invited me to his house and pointed me in the direction of the Fox River.  And after meeting a couple of great duck hunters who hunted the Fox, I was pointed in the right direction.  As the cold weather was working its way south, so were the ducks and geese, and it didn’t take but a morning to limit out on mallard and geese.  The last day I hunted, Friday the 9th of December, all the ponds and small lakes had frozen over and the Fox River was loaded with slush floating down.  While the ducks weren’t flying by the masses, singles and threes were flying around, enough where I could pick out just the drakes and it wasn’t long, I had a limit of mallard greenheads.  The slush started to dissipate by10:30 a.m. and when it did the geese started flying and working close and within 20 minutes I had my two geese. 
The cold, icy river was no match for “Karma”, my Black Labrador Retriever, as slush stuck to her fur while swimming in the icy water.  With that being said, she always had dry matts on her waterproof dog bed, right next to the propane heater.  I’ve seen one dog go into hypothermia over the years, and it wasn’t fun.  After our jackets wrapped around cold retriever, she snapped out of it, but was done for the day. In icy, frigid conditions, I make sure “Karma” has as much access to the heaters as we do, as well as wiping her down in between retrieves.
We have a two day, late season waterfowl hunt coming up this weekend, and it’s going to be hard to find open water.  But if I do, the hunting could be stellar.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

December 5

Waterfowl season is over but there is still so much to do this time of the year as Crockett and his friend since grade school Loye Carter (pictured above) from Ludington, MI has shown today.  The boys made it out as the river has cleared some and did well.  Mostly chrome fish for the exception of a male that is just starting to get his winter colors.  Colder temperatures are on the horizon, but as long as the river is open, we’ll be steelhead fishing.  I’ll be in Illinois through Friday chasing greenhead mallards but back on the home waters Sunday chasing chrome. With black powder season on for deer, archery deer through the first of the year, and an open Pere Marquette River with steelhead scattered throughout the river system, get out and enjoy.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

December 1

Thank God for steelhead because the duck hunting has not been hardly worth going out, but it’s the last few days before the regular duck season closes, so I’ll be out there somewhere in Michigan’s southern zone. The late season comes in on the middle zone, the 17th and 18th of December, so perhaps some well needed cold weather and we’ll have birds in the area again. The past two days, I have not fired a shot.
However, steelhead has not been better, weather wise, to be able to fish in minimal clothing, no gloves, no ice in the guides has been a pleasure. Today Crockett and long time friend Loye Carter of Ludington made it out today. The heavy rains we had the past 48 hours has risen the lower Pere Marquette River well over twelve inches. For the little time the guys spent on the river they landed two large steelhead, the female pictured above hit 14 pounds on the scale. 
Cold weather is predicted by middle of next week, so go outside and enjoy what we have left of the warmer weather, although I have a hunch we have plenty of 40 degree days ahead of us.

Tight Lines! David Roller

November 19

Yesterday, I enjoyed the company of Dr. Ted Knight along with his friend Dr. Kevin from Midland, MI as we spent the day enjoying up to 68 degree temperatures.  The early a.m. found us in the duck blind as we awaited the wind, it came a little late in the game.  All was not lost however as the guys downed three mallards and even managed to miss one or two, so all thing considered, it was a decent hunt.  We switched into steelhead mode quickly around 1:30 p.m.  The winds came pushing the warm air and my boat while we were fishing.  In short order the guys boated three nice steelhead and we lost that many as well as a few quick hits.  Today however the winds from the north caught up with us and by day break the snow was flying along with the 30 mph winds and even higher gusts. There were times visabilty was pehaps a couple hundred yards at best as were in almost blizzard conditions. The ducks flew well, but wildly giving us tough shots as they flew faster than the wind.  They were hard to catch up with the gun barrel.  Three inches of snow expected, but the winds are supposed to be more reasonable tomorrow.  Tomorrow, green heads are coming down!

Tight Lines!  David Roller

November 17

To those of you who have had the experience in fishing steelhead this November, you know what I mean, the fact that it has been the most comfortable fall steelhead fishing in I don’t know how long.  While we dealt with a little wind, by noon Steve Haywood, Grant Hughes, and I were shedding off layers of clothing, enjoying the sun, and watching fall Pere Marquette River steelhead do their thing; ill tempered, aerial acrobatics, hard runs, and trying like hell not to be landed, and some succeeded.  Crockett was a little further up river enjoying the same. Grant Hughes come up with a ‘bonus’ fish (I think), a twelve-pound Lake Trout.  In all the years, I have not seen a Lake Trout come out of the Pere Marquette River.  I’ve seen Northern Pike, rare Walleye, and a small mouth, but not a Lake trout. Steve Haywood also scored big with the heavy 12 pound, light thirteen-pound steelhead that is pictured above.  This extra-large steelhead was one of those that shouldn’t have been landed, with all the wood he headed to and swam out of.  Definitely the most dramatic fish of the day. 
It’s been a fun November thus far, and while the weather may turn colder (great for the waterfowl), we will be receiving some very needed rain, which could make a good steelhead bite, much better.  Today the guys landed six steelhead, the lake trout, and some nice memories of as very mild November with great fishing.  I can’t wait for tomorrow!!!

Tight Lines!  David Roller

November 16

It’s been a busy three days, from running cast and blasts, to steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River and Pere Marquette River, to our firearm deer season in which my significant other, Karen Showalter shot a nice 5 point buck this morning at 11:30 a.m.  She made a nice clean heart, lung shot at 100 yards plus with her little 6mm Remington rifle, field dressed it, and proceeded to skin it out when we got home.  A lot of fun to say the least.
Mid to upper Pere Marquette is running very low, clear and shallow, making steelhead fishing a little difficult at times.  Tom Brown (pictured above) and his buddy Charlie, fished with Pere Marquette Outfitters guide Blake Roller and they tackled low, clear water and managed to land two nice steelhead out of five fish on.  Crockett tackled the Muskegon River with father and son duo Larry and Andy Hays and Larry managed to land a nice Muskegon River steelhead.  Duck hunting has been getting better with the winds we’ve been having and with this week’s cold front coming in by weeks’ end, I’m hoping for a stellar three days on the waterfowl front, the steelhead should take care of themselves.  We’re back on the water tomorrow and looking forward to the rest of November, which is going by way to fast!  It always does.

Tight Lines!  David Roller.

November 13

Today was one of those days that weather waterfowl or steelhead, it was going to be good.  While the winds were blowing strong today, Ken and Cathy Zimmerman (pictured above) and I grabbed steelhead gear and headed for the Pere Marquette River.  While Ken started us out with in the first 5 minutes of the day with a solid 9-pound steelhead, Cathy would keep us going as she put steelhead to the net.   We had a few get away, as they were just too mean and ill tempered, typical fall run, November steelhead. 
The past few mornings have been cold, from frost to 38 degrees, and there is no question the water temp is getting colder, which just might give us an edge, putting a few more steelhead to the net in the near future.
A lot going on in the next few days from steelhead, waterfowl, and the rifle deer season opener which starts on November 15 and I’ll be participating in all the above.  Tomorrow I have off; I’ll be in the duck blind at first light.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

November 12

It’s been a very busy two weeks as we very quickly changed gears from our very good King Salmon season to now chasing those live, chrome wires on the Pere Marquette, the steelhead with an added bonus in the mix, our waterfowl season.  Both have been good, but not easy.  With the warmer autumn season still looming, the leaf drop has been late and those who have been pulling plugs with me know what I mean.  With three rods running below the boat in some of our favorite steelhead runs, and leaves tracking down our lines, it has been difficult at times to keep all three rods running.  And even as late as Friday, leaves continue to blow into the river.  Most of the hardwood leaves are gone, but now some of the oaks are starting to drop. 
Also with the warmer temps, the water temp remains somewhat warmer giving an extra punch of power to our steelhead.  The rod buckling, hard running, extra acrobatic steelhead have been powerful to the point hooks are bending, split rings are coming apart, and our hardware is left deep into the wood work as steelhead bury us deep into structure.  It’s all good though as some of the fish we’ve seen on the end our lines have been a sight to behold.
Our cast and blasts have been successful. Even with the lack of wind and the warmer weather, we’ve been able to get our shotguns off.  This past week, we’ve had some pretty strong winds out of the SW which produced some fantastic wing shooting.  Dr. Robert Starr (pictured above) found and learned his new love and appreciation of sitting in a duck blind watching the mornings unfold and saw the difference a little wind can make as we had an epic morning duck hunting this past Thursday.  As it gets colder, we should start seeing more flight birds coming down, and “Karma”, my Black Labrador, making more and more retrieves with ‘greenheads’ in her mouth.
As far as our steelhead, with Lake Michigan being higher, hence Pere Marquette Lake and the lower river, our steelhead are not hanging around very long as they come in, hang for a day or two and migrate quickly up river, stretching the run throughout the river system.  Low water up river, nice sunny days, and lots of boat traffic can make for a tougher day, but we’ve still managed to hit some double-digit days.  If we don’t lock up with ice this winter, the steelhead should take us through spring with some great action.
Whether fly fishing, running plugs, or bobbers and spawn, steelhead are giving us some exciting action most days, and some making us work but the end results are a lot of fun.  November goes fast, so get out there and enjoy one of my favorite times of the year.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

October 26

We just finished up a nine-day stint on the Muskegon River, as we stayed at Riverside Resort, in Croton, during that time.  The Muskegon River did not disappoint and the Kings there proved to be as large as the Kings we were getting on the Pere Marquette River.  While the numbers were not there like last year (on the Muskegon), there were more than enough LARGE Kings to go around.  An average day we would boat 15 to 20 Kings.  As the season wanes down I liken it to a very good spring steelhead day where we are hitting 20 plus fish a day and putting to the net half.  And the next few days we’ll be on the Muskegon, I expect to do the same.  While some of the kings are very mature and showing their age, there are still new Kings coming in that are just jumping on gravel.  With the low clear water, some fish can be spooky, so a little ‘fishing’ is required to do some ‘catching’.
For you chrome chasers, and it’s getting that time of the year, Crockett has been on the Pere Marquette River the past couple of days finding/catching some very nice steelhead.  We’ll be chasing chrome hard after the first of November.  As I write this, the weather has turned a bit colder as we have experienced a rain snow mix today, and a good part of the afternoon, a heavy wet snow, that didn’t stick of course, the ground is too warm.  With that being said, our waterfowl season is just around the corner as well.  Part 2 of my favorite season “Fall” is about to take place!

Tight Lines!

David Roller

October 15

As the Pere Marquette River Kings start to wane down, with plenty of fishable numbers I might add, we are now heading down to the Muskegon River to finish out the season.  Crockett and Pete Waleskowski is fishing down there as of this morning and above is one of he pictures he sent me of this morning. Pete (pictured above) manages to fish with us quite a few times a year, spring and fall.  He works in California, flies home to Belding, MI every two weeks, and makes it on the river.   Crockett was on the Muskegon this past Monday, and he stated there were many more fish today than almost a week ago, as the Muskegon River’s water temp starts to finally cool off, running 10 degrees warmer than the Pere Marquette River.  We will be staying down at Riverside Resort again, as we do each spring.  I will try and sneak home a day to do a mid-week posting, but will post on Facebook on my personal page as well as my Pere Marquette Outfitter page.
There are a few steelhead starting to show up on the Pere Marquette River.  Some of the guides I’ve seen fishing are hooking up with 0 to 5 fish a day.  There are a few die hard steelhead fishermen willing to ‘try’ right now, we’ll start fishing them toward the very end of the month and November.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

October 12

Steve Wareham, from Springfield, MO,pictured above is up here fishing with us on his annual Salmon trip, and the fish are treating him well, making him use all of his 20 plus years of experience fishing with us here at Pere Marquette Outfitters.  The fish are big this year and normally with the water cooling, the fresh ‘late’ Kings of the lower river have lost about 10% of their zing to make them a little more manageable.  That is not the case this year.  Our Pere Marquette River Kings are big and we had fish on today that reminded me of the days of late August.  They are powerful, fast, and have no problem finding cover to bury leaders and tippet in.  We managed to land one today.  We’ll be out tomorrow morning and see if we can regain a little composure after we got our butts kicked today.  It’s been a fun season and continues to be so and we’ll go through the end of October pursuing these great fish.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

October 9&10

The past couple days has been great on the Pere Marquette River as we have maintained great King salmon fishing all season.  Up river, Missy Hughes from Indiana (pictured above) fishing with her husband Josh, with guide Kurt Roller, enjoyed their first experience fishing Kings on the Pere Marquette River and it was nothing short of stellar.  A little farther downstream, Crockett fished with Steve Haywood and Grant Hughes and Grant tested his custom built rod that he built this past winter and it past the test in flying colors, hooking and landing plenty of Kings.  Dean Thompson, from New Jersey made it back up with another group of friends over the weekend as well and had a stellar weekend.  After celebrating a 25 year anniversary, fishing with Pere Marquette Outfitters, with he and his friends, a couple weeks ago, he is starting another tradition, and the guys did great.
The lower river of the Pere Marquette is still producing Kings as new fish continue to show up.  While we have received most of our run, there are enough fish to go after on the lower end to keep us busy and over the weekend we did quite well, despite the one tougher day we had down there a few days ago.
Yesterday, Crockett went down to the Muskegon River, fishing with father/son duo John and Ben Kirby where Ben landed his first King on the fly.  The Muskegon River is just getting started with small groups of Kings starting to jump on spawning gravel.  The Muskegon River is much warmer than the Pere Marquette and the cooler nights we have been having has finally cooled the water temps of the Muskegon by 5 degrees in the past 5 days.  A few more cool nights and the Muskegon should start seeing more and more fish.  A week from now, we plan on being down there for ten days finishing up our King season.
A lot going on the next two months… King Salmon on the Muskegon and Pere Marquette Rivers, Steelhead and of course our popular “cast and blast” hunting waterfowl and fishing for steelhead.  Hope you can make it out.  Give us a call and enjoy what so many are planning a year in advance.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

October 8

The lower river is back in action after a slower than normal day a couple days ago.  Fresh Kings keep showing up, like the large 24-pound male that Dean Thompson, from New Jersey caught, pictured above.  This is Dean’s (Deano) second trip this year as he was here with his fellas two weeks ago as they celebrated their 25th year anniversary fishing with me and my crew.
The fishing continues to be great up river as fresh fish continue to show up on spawning gravel.  It’s looking more and more like a normal year despite what’s going on in Lake Michigan, more on that later, but our ‘wild strain’ of Kings are healthier than ever.  And we are as busy as ever, a great combination!

Tight Lines!  David Roller

October 7

With cloudy, rainy conditions for a week, the river has been up and remained slightly stained, prompting Kings to push up river by the masses and jump on spawning gravel, as seen in the picture above, taken by guide Kurt Roller.  China, Indiana, Missouri, and Michigan were all represented by our team as we were spread out through the entire river system.  The lower river has slowed down with no doubt most of our Kings have made their way up river to spawn.  We are definitely in mid to late peak, and I’m sure the numbers will be dwindling in days to come if yesterday’s number have any indication.  With that said, we should have a solid two weeks of good fishing for King until we start searching for steelhead on the Pere Marquette River or migrate down to the Muskegon River and fish their late run of Kings.  Either way, our two main rivers will keep us and our anglers happy this month for Kings, and the month of November for steelhead.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

October 5

The lower river continues to produce Kings but not in the volume that we had when the water was coming up.  With that said, we are seeing a few Coho's and Steelhead. Father and son duo, Doug and Steve Haywood had a nice time, as Doug caught a couple of nice Kings on his brand new custom built rod tied by his son Steve.  More tomorrow.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

October 4

The lower river slowed down a bit as the river has crested and roughly eight inches high.  Fish were still on the move as we are still hitting plenty of pre-spawning fish to keep a day very interesting.  Meanwhile up river, we are in mid peak with plenty of fish on gravel and fresh fish moving in from the lower river.

Tight Lines!  David Roller

October 3

The lower river has come up a solid 8 inches with the last couple of days of rain and our Kings were on their migrating path.  I had Ken and Cathy (aka the Egg Lady) Zimmerman out today and many aggressive fish were on the line and they were on the bite. I watched a couple of kids throwing “Thundersticks” in some shallow flats and watched them battle a couple of Kings that crushed their lures.  We had many fish on and many fish take us to the wood piles, even some of the smaller 15 pounders were so aggressive and fresh, there was no controlling them. Ken came in with our largest King which was just shy of 40 inches long.  A lot of fish headed up river throughout the day which will give other areas fresher fish.  The fish on gravel have been a mix from almost spent to very fresh and fishing gravel certainly hasn’t been boring lately.  Kings are big, we are busy, its’ been a great season so far!

Tight Lines!!!  David Roller

October 2

Arriving home on the 24th of September from Alaska and guiding on the 25th, and trying to “catch up” has been a little hectic but fun and it was certainly good to be back on the Pere Marquette River.  While the last couple of years of salmon fishing has not been easy (extremely warm Septembers hasn’t helped) this year is reminding close to the ‘good ole days’.  I’m not sure what our fish are feeding on and where in Lake Michigan, but our fish our King Salmon are large and in charge, with several fish landed well over 20 pounds and the larger fish ranging 40 to 42 inches long.  Crockett, Blake, and DJ stayed on task here on the “PM” since Labor Day and had great reports (as well as our customers) of good numbers of fish.  A stint of high water in early September pushed a large number of fish into the “Flies Only” stretch, only to see those same fish push up into the Baldwin, Middle branch, and Little South branch in a matter of days.  It didn’t take long after for another push of fish and by around the 14th of September it’s been “game on”!
Today was no exception as I was on the lower river with Art and Vicky Eddy on their annual salmon trip, as they got to witness first hand, a new push of fish (Art Eddy pictured above).  With three other boats scattered up river, everyone seemed to enjoy good to great success.  We’ll be chasing Kings all of October as eventually we’ll end up on the Muskegon River.
ALASKA:  I could write pages on Alaska but not enough time.  All I can say is that our camp, Alaska’s Alagnak Wilderness Camp, ran extremely smooth and the fishing was second to none.  Then came our hunters from Michigan, all with moose tags, and six cases of #2 steel, 3-inch magnum shotgun shells for ducks.  It was an epic time and a fun filled with Silvers, Trout, Ducks (Pintails, Widgeon, Teal, and Mallards).  The guys on self-guided hunts harvested 2 moose, we shot enough ducks for meals and appetizers as well as brought some home, and the Silver fishing was excellent to say the least.  Throw in some 50 fish trout days (Rainbows, Dollies and Grayling), and in ten days one did not know what to do first, just plain and simple, a GREAT time.  The same guys are already booked for 2018, if that gives you an idea.
There will be more on that once this season is over as well as a new web site for Alaska’s Alagnak Wilderness Camp.  Thank you to everyone who has made our summer/fall in Alaska, and our fall salmon season here in Michigan (so far) a great success.  Two of my favorite months are on, there will be a lot to talk about and do, hope you’re part of it.

Tight Lines!  David

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Steve Cohen, owner at Parkside Dental in Westland, MI with a Muskegon River steelhead on 5/11/17.Dr. Robert Starr with another fine late Muskegon River steelhead on the 5/12/17.Dr. Steve Cohen with a May 11 steelhead on the Muskegon River.Damon Mickelson with one of our larger Muskegon River steelhead on the 30th of April coming in at 16 pounds,Dick Gossett with a nice Muskegon River steelhead on 4/28/17Tom Sneary with a Muskegon River sturgeon on the 25th  of Aprill.  A quick pic as he slips it out of the net and into the river.Tom Sneary with nice late April steelhead on the Muskegon River.Mike Boryca and Crockett with a Muskegon River sunrise steelhead.  4/25/17Jim Downs is back from AZ and in good form on the Muskegon 
River in late April.Tom Sneary with another Muskegon River steelhead as he and the boys up here on their annual 2 days steelhead trip.Kelly Vliet from Midland, MI with one of many steelhead caught, fishing with Crockett today on 4/20/17Tim Schremshock adn Jason with a double they landed on the Muskegon River fishing with Crockett , one of many fish they landed on April 17.Amy Pyle with her very first Steelhead on the fly on the Pere Marquette River.  Amy was a quick study.  4/17/17Amy Pyle with her second steelhead of the day which included a few nice Brown trout.
4/17/17Joe Blankenship from Columbus, OH with another nice steelhead as he also watch his girlfriend Amy Pyle starting to be a great steelheader.  4/17/17Crockett testing the waters on the Muskegon River on April 15th and  he had a stellar afternoon.."B-Luv" with another nice steelhead on the 12th of  April..Crockett testing the waters on the Muskegon River as we'll be making that move in a week.  4/15/17Mrs. Karen Roller with a perfect presentation, running a floating line and indy rig on the Pere Marquette River.  She was spot on all day and fooled quite a few steelhead.  4/14/17If you've followed Pere Marquette Outfitters Facebook page,  this mom and her cubs were a hit.  Pic taken July of 2016Excited anticipation coming in and very happy guests about to leave Alaska's Alagnak Wilderness Camp.   July 2016The Gasker brothers from PA  with a limit of Sockeye Salmon at our camp, Alaska's Alagnak Wilderness Camp, last July. Not bad for a mornings work!   Summer 2016Alaska's Alagnak River Kings adn plenty of them!  Summer of 2016...and Alaskan Rainbows!!!!
August 2016Puttin on the sauce!  BBQ ribs in the alaskan bush at Alaska's Alagnak Wilderness Camp.  
July 16Taking it easy in Alaska, after dinner, and someone wants a couple more fish.  Great times!!!
Summer of 2016Damon Michelsen with our first Moose harvested  at our camp, Alaska's Alagnak Wilderness Camp.  9/16This picture was taken from camp.  Seeing moose both up river and down river was not uncommon.  9/16Cleaning fresh salmon for our guests at Alaska's Alagnak Wilderness Camp.  
Summer of 2016Our second moose harvested for the 2016 alaskan moose season by Tom Duty.  9/16Our camp, Alaska's Alagnak Wilderness Camp, is surrounded by moose country for the self guided moose hunter.  9/16Our Alaskan moose hunters from Clarkston, MI with Karen and I.  September of 2016A good morning's alaskan duck hunt, now lets go catch some Silvers.Scott Schremshock (left) and Greg Schlegel, from the Columbus, OH area, and I had a great, fun late season hunt, in the middle zone for Michigan.  It was the guys first duck hunt with me and it won't be the last.  Thanks Guys!My girl "Karma" at work in 11 degree temperatures.  12/18/16"Karma", the star of the show!  I couldn't do it with out her!  12/18/16

   May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day