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Today, Al Hemerling (pictured above) from St. Joseph, MI fished steelhead with floating lines and Indy rigs in about as extreme conditions as it gets with out cutting holes in the ice of the river.  With temperatures less than 20 degrees and wind chills in the single digits to below zero for two days in a row, the water temp finally caught up.  As we launched the boat in the lower river today, slush was pouring down the river but we decided to head upstream to see just how bad or better it could get.  As if casting between slush flows wasn’t bad enough, the frigid temps would not permit ten casts in a row with Al’s switch rod and floating line, rigged with an indicator rig.  Like clock work, in mere minutes, we would have to take the time to knock the ice out from all of the guides.  Dipping the rod in the water, which normally takes out the ice, only made matters worse as it was as if we were dipping candles.  Ice would accumulate on the shaft of my Go-devil motor while it was underwater and ice would build up on my anchor and anchor line, again, while it was underwater, and this lasted for most of the day.  Around 2 p.m. the temps tended to increase to a balmy 25 degrees and for about two hours the slush had dissipated that had been flowing down river all that time, and it wasn’t long after, Al had hooked into his first Steelhead.  The fight was long enough that I really figured we would land it, long enough for me to unthaw the net that was frozen in a collapsed manor.  Then in the blink on an eye, it came unbuttoned.  The next run produced the same, a good strike, a good hook set by Al, a good fight between his 11’9” Sage Method 8 wt. switch rod and  a chrome steelhead that acted more like a fall fish versus the cold water temp fish we had hooked, and again it come unbuttoned.  By 4 p.m. we had about enough of the cold weather and we decided to head back towards the launch and fish one more short run, we made ourselves!  With in a few short casts and new slush starting to form, Al hooked up again, and held on.  As ice and slush peeled off the fly line as Al stripped the line in through the guides, he worked the chrome Steelhead pictured above to the net and we had finally scored, in conditions unfit for most.  Our day was far from over as we headed for the launch.  In two areas my boat had to break ice for over 100 feet as the river was completely choked off.  It wasn’t as easy as motoring through slushy ice; it was hard ice to the point in another day, it will be impossible to get through with out doing some sort of damage.  However, this day we had won, had a great time, came dressed for the occasion, caught a nice Steelhead, and fought a couple more.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


November 17

It's been snowy and cold but we're still fishing.  Above, Al Hemerling, from St. Joesph, MI with a nice Steelhead we caught in a blizzard.  He and I are going again tomorrow.  We'll be picking ice out of the guides often as Al throws his "Switch" rods and catching Steelhead.  More to come!

Tight Lines!  David Roller

November 12

Todd Ewers, owner of Buckeye Western Star Truck Company, near Columbus, OH and his son Todd have fished with us since 2011, fishing Kings in early September, and spring Steelhead in May but they have never fished for fall Steelhead.  They decided to give it a try and witnessed first hand how dramatic, feisty, and hot these November Steelhead can be and how quickly things can change from one day to the next.  After having a great week of steelheading in pretty harsh, windy conditions, this past Monday the wind switched out of the East and we had fairly mild conditions.  Either the Steelhead we had migrated up river and no new fish come in or they were just plain turned off as the first few runs we fished, we came up empty, some runs that I had been hitting multiple fish in every day, I was a little stunned to say the least, but Steelhead has a way of humbling a person.  With not as much as a strike, we fished most of the morning, until finally we put our first two Steelhead to the net around the 11a.m. hour, then shortly there after, Todd and Tom put a third fish to the net and loose a nice one…we were finally on a roll.  We kept working little nooks and crannies of the lower river and by days end the guys had landed five our of seven steelhead on, not a bad day, but certainly took work on all of us in the boat.  Yesterday was their final day of two days steelheading and the fish warmed up a little as a major cold front that dumped 16 inches of snow northern Minnesota, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and reeked havoc on northern Lower Michigan up near Traverse City.  The morning started out at a balmy 48 degrees and the steelhead were on the bite even though we lost the first four or five fish.   As the temps plummeted 15 degrees through out the day and the cold rain hit, which ultimately turned to snow, we kept at it and the steelhead stayed on the bite as the Ewers put six out of thirteen fish that we had on to the net. It was a good day and the fish we had on made the cold day just a little warmer.  We still have half of November to go and I hope to utilize every day of it, hopefully you can get out as well.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


November 9

Winds were more stable today as John Kirby and I hunted ducks in the a.m. and fished Steelhead in the afternoon.  We started fishing a little later today as there were a few more birds in the air.  Steelhead fishing remains good and today was just another reminder of what John Kirby said yesterday, "Pure Michigan!"

Tight Lines!  David Roller

November 8

John Kirby remained dedicated despite the weather conditions that were spot on.  Despite heavy rains at times, a steady 25 to 30 mph winds with gusts up to 40 mph, the ducks flew a little and the steelhead were more than plenty.  It was a great day and in the words of John Kirby from Cincinnati, OH… it was “Pure Michigan” as the winds couldn’t erase the smile off his face.  We’ll be at it again tomorrow!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


November 7

It was a chilly, frosty morning as six guys caravanned from a contractors banquet held at Ferris State University, led by Eric Steck (pictured above).  After last nights rain, there was also a “black ice” warning out on the highways, and I can testify the roads were a little slick.  Guides Blake Roller and Crockett would run plugs and Eric Steck, his friend Bruce who is very active on the Au Sable River system, and I would run floating lines and indicator rigs with our switch rods. All in all it was a very successful day as rods were bent and Steelhead were put to the net as we would have three boats spread through out the river system.  Eleven Steelhead were put to the net with another dozen or so on.  The fish are wild, hot, with runs that make fly lines throw rooster tails in the water.  If we don’t lock up this winter, we should have plenty of Steelhead to fish for in the up coming months.  We have a major cold front with winds coming tomorrow, and with a “cast and blast” lined up for the next few days; it should be a good one.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


November 5

Many of you have spoken to Joy Gardner, my significant other, on the phone here at Peré Marquette Outfitters, now you can put a face with the voice and name.  She loves to fish and hunt, and has only had a chance a couple of times to fish this fall.  I have been like the shoe maker whose kids run around with no shoes to her with my busy schedule.  Well today she and I changed all that as we slipped out for an afternoon Steelhead trip on the Peré Marquette River.  The first run and a half we fished didn’t produce a fish and she started to wonder if she would ever catch a Steelhead as they have eluded her for several years, but as we worked our way deeper into the run, the right rod would bury down towards the waters edge with such force Joy could hardly get the rod out of the rod holder.  Joy is no rookie when it comes to fighting fish as she has done her share of fishing, but these fall steelhead would test her limits.  After three or four good runs and kicking water into the air, she slid the fish towards the net and her very first Steelhead was landed.  Her day was made, but little did she know what was to come.  The second Steelhead she landed was a feisty five pound male that was nothing short of a live wire bouncing from bank to bank with an aerial display that would excite any steelhead fisherman.  The third and fourth fish however would really show her what fall Steelhead was all about.  The picture above was her third fish, and when it hit, all hell broke loose.  It’s flip flop and cartwheel like acrobatics was nothing short of raw power and viciousness.  After steering the fish away from logs and a downed tree, the large 11 pound Steelhead bored deep under the boat.  Joy reeled down and with a gentle but firm pull she brought the fresh run steelhead to the surface and it was nothing but net.  There was nothing but excitement and elation in Joy’s eyes as she looked at the large Steelhead in the net.  “Oh my God, my heart is beating so fast and my knees are shaking.”  It doesn’t get better than that and true to course, if fish like that doesn’t get you excited, it’s time to take up something else.  The adrenaline rush had not yet ended when her fourth fish was on and it was a mimic of the last with the only exception that this Steelhead was much larger and knew how to throw its weight around, this was a fall Steelhead at its best and was showing no mercy.  This Steelhead was much larger and could have easily exceeded the fifteen pound mark and the way it acted and displayed itself even made me take a step back.  As Joy put it, “this fish did not want to be reckoned with!”  Everything was working to our favor towards the end and we were three to five seconds from putting it to the net, and in the blink of an eye, the rod line went slack.  For a moment, both of us had a blank stare on our face as we watched the fish disappear into the depths of the river, and then our hearts sank.  Joy had just lost her biggest fish.  I have seen a lot of fish get away, we want to land them all, and I’ve become a little immune to it, except when one of this magnitude gets away, it is heartbreaking whether I’m at the end of the rod or net.  Somehow, with all the twirls, spins, and acrobatics, the treble hook of the hot-n-tot worked it way inside and around the split ring enough to become detached, and the hot-n-tot came out of the water missing one hook.  It was equipment failure that was beyond our control.  After landing three in a roll, she was bound to loose one sooner or later, but it had to be the large one of day.  Joy’s last fish fought no less, and with four fish to the net and the cold rain starting to come down, we made a tough judgment call to call it a great afternoon and headed to the launch.  Steelhead fever has caught up with Joy and in months to come, the two of us will be back on the river, several times I’m sure.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


November 4

It’s been a very busy week!  Today was a family event, when Kurt Ieuter from Midland, MI brought his two boys Austin (left pictured above) and 12 year old Drew to participate in a “cast and blast”.  It was a good day to say the least.  While I would have liked the duck hunting to be a little better, the guys managed to knock down three Gadwalls and when the boys knocked down the first two of the morning there were hollers, hoops, and high fives…it was a happy boat.  A little later we got another one and after a quick lunch we decided to head to do a little Steelhead fishing.  We had a 5 p.m. deadline as Austin had to make hockey practice so we wasted no time.  On our first run, 12 year old Drew landed our first fish, a beautifully colored male Coho, and minutes afterward we lost our first Steelhead.  It didn’t take long and we Austin would put his first Steelhead to the boat and we kept the pace going.  There always seems to be time for “one more fish” at times and we decided that being 15 minutes late for practice would be appropriate while the fish were biting, and little before 5 p.m. we landed our fifth fish and called it a great day.  And it was, another great example of a dad and his two boys creating memories that will not be forgotten.
Going back a few days, when Dwight Montgomery was up and had a great Steelhead day, on his day two, the wind was blowing 30 mph and snow was blowing sideways.  Jim Downs from Lansing, MI joined us, and because the wind gusts were at 40 mph at times and it was such a good “duck day”, we opted to stay in the comforts of the duck blind.  While we had our quiet moments, we killed 9 ducks and missed a few that came in hot, and some so hot we couldn’t even get our guns up in time, but it was a fun day.
The past few days the Ozark Fly Fishers were represented again as Malcolm Royce, Dr. Dan Kiddy, Bill Todd, and Mark Harris came up to fall Steelhead fish for the first time.  They have seen some great fishing with us during spring steelhead and fall salmon, but have not experienced fall Steelhead fishing until now.   With our extreme low water, mid river, fishing floating lines and indicator rigs wasn’t easy, but we produced fish every day and they all got a good taste of chrome as everyone put a nice fall Steelhead to the net.  Dr. Dan Kiddy said it best, while the fishing was slower than we like it, “it sure was fun seeing chrome being pulled out of the river, I’ve never seen them that chrome”.  Today Dr. Dan and Malcolm are heading south to the Grand River fishing with Crockett, and late afternoon heading home back to St. Louis.
November is just starting.  We have some good cold fronts coming in soon which should give us some ducky days, and with enough Steelhead, it makes for a great day, as Kurt Ieuter and his two sons experienced yesterday… it doesn’t get any better as the smiles in the pictures above tells it all.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 30

Dwight Montgomery, from Columbus, OH, is no stranger to Peré Marquette Outfitters and the services we provide.  He goes to Alaska with us every year, he and his wife and daughter, fishes with us spring and fall (for Kings), and this year he decided to add duck hunting to his list of things to do with us and of course it’s hard to duck hunt and not add the steelhead portion of the day.  The morning started out promising as we had a few mallards flying around as they left the roost.  Soon after a Bluebill come flying in and Dwight’s new Benelli Super Black Eagle shot gun made light work for my Black Labrador “Karma” as she retrieved her first duck of the season.  After the second duck, the sky remained empty as the sun started to warm up the day and after an early lunch we were Steelhead fishing by 1 p.m.  It wouldn’t take long to connect with our first piece of chrome and within an hour or so; Dwight had the fall Steelhead fishing thing down.  A nasty cold front, rain/snow mix is predicted for tomorrow with wind gusts up to 30 mph.  It should bring the mallards in with wings cupped and boots down, and Dwight, Jim Downs, and I will be there to greet them.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 28

We had two options when John Kirby from Cincinnati, OH called me and wanted to fish this past Sunday… Steelhead or Kings.  His response was whatever we could have the most fun with.  Since he had never fished salmon before and the Muskegon River had plenty of Kings on redds we would target Kings on the Muskegon as the day before with Randy Ryan’s group, also new to Michigan’s Kings, bending rods were key and put smiles on everyone’s face.  So the past Sunday, John Kirby and I motored up through the cool, crisp, foggy air of the Muskegon to an area that had been holding a lot of Kings, and this day was no different and just a few minutes past sunrise, as the sun was just hitting the tree tops, John put his first King to the net.  The day was as nice as it could get.  Sunny, a comfortable 55 degrees, a little breeze, and six or seven redds full of Kings.  It was a mixed bag, some Kings were a little ripe, some were starting to show signs of wear, and some were new that would run, jump, and provide a challenge to any angler.  This past weekend was a nice way to end our 2014 Salmon season, a season that was challenging with intermittent runs of Kings.  So here we are on a warm, 60 degree day as the duck blind goes on the boat, my gear bag transitions from Kings to Steelhead, and I look forward to another great month as I try to take in every day of my favorite time of the year.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 24

We did it all yesterday, on 9 foot 6 wt rods, floating lines, and indicator rigs.  Randy Ryan from Columbus, OH, his buddy Steve from Chicago and Jeff from Detroit, all met up to fish the Peré Marquette River with me today.  Tomorrow Randy’s son will join us as we fish the Muskegon River.  While very few Kings were out on redds, it didn’t matter as we fished both runs and redds.  Small Steelhead and browns were caught in most of the runs, but our least experienced fly fisherman, Jeff (pictured above) seemed to come through, as he was the one that could find nice, adult, chrome Steelhead, including the one he landed at the end of the day, and it wasn’t with out drama.  A 6 wt. rod matched with six pound tippet, and a hot 8 pound Steelhead jetting under logs met for a challenge that ultimately took three of us to get the fish to the net, but we did.  As the river drops more and more, it makes for tight casts closer to woodwork, and very little room for error/ Tomorrow we fish the Muskegon, for a change of pace.  Crockett fished the Muskegon yesterday with great success for both Kings and Steelhead and we are looking for a repeat performance.  He also has been doing very well on the Grand River, hitting double digit Steelhead numbers.  It feels good again to be chasing chrome.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 20

When I received an email from Chris Moshier, it was nice to hear from someone that I hadn’t fished with in seven to eight years.  He, Bob “Bub” Thorsen, and I fished a lot together, no matter how cold it was, if the river was open in the winter, or if there was a hint of Kings in the river in mid August, we fished.  Chris then took on the Harris Solitude Reel Company, we all stayed busy, business went on and priorities took over.  He and I have come full circle as it is time to fish together once again, as it was a long time since Chris had fished a river he once fished many times a year.  As we caught up with our life experiences, it was if just a short time ago we had fished last, sharing times and places on the river certain fish had been caught.  Some people that I fish with realize that the river is not all about the fish, but getting together, ‘fishing’, and rekindling the spirit, and the Peré Marquette River does just that.  Knowing the Kings were on the downward slide of the run, we knew that if we caught a good fish or two and a bunch of spent fish in between, it would be a good day on the river, it didn’t matter, and we were fishing.  Knowing how sporadic and inconsistent the run has been all fall, I was pretty sure we would see some new fish on redds and the Peré Marquette River did not disappoint us.  Redds that were empty two days ago had new, clean fish on them, that kept us plenty busy.  Not only did we see fresh Kings on redds, but periodically we would see Kings that were still migrating up river, heading for the gravel they were born. After the first King Chris landed on a “chuck and duck” rig, he decided it would be fun to run a floating line with a small piece of shot to get the flies down.  He would roll cast upstream of the redds, just like you would do with an “indy rig”, mend, mend, mend to keep a drag free drift with the fly line.  After a few casts, his fly line would tighten up and one of the big males in the pack would start to shake his head.  Chris would set the hook and it was game on!  Some fought no different than if we had caught them a month ago as water thrashed, runs were made, and some fought with the surprising freshness of brand new fish.  It was fun, it was exciting and we were fishing.  Not only was a few fresh Kings nice to see, but a few Coho had showed up on gravel like the colorful male pictured above.  The day went quick, as a good day with friends normally does.  Now priorities have changed, and it will be mere weeks or months, not years that go by when Chris and I fish together again.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 18

It was a reunion of sorts with the Wicks sisters Julia (pictured above) and her sister Cara.  The only one missing was their father and long time friend of mine, Doug Wicks who passed away 2 and a half years ago.  Doug, the Dutcher brothers, and I have been fishing together since I was in my twenties and although Doug would fish with his friends, he always took the time each fall and spring to treat his daughters to a day on the river with me and the four of us would have a great time.  I’m sure Doug’s smiling from above as his daughters keep the tradition going and to see how well they can cast and handle fish on the end of a fly rod.  While the north winds blew and the temps barely reached above 40 degrees most of the day, Julia and Cara bundled up in layers and were ready to conquer the day, and they did just that.  At first between more people than I expected to see and a few less fish, it was a little thin on the upper end of our float, as we would find pairs and threes to cast to, allowing us to put our first two Kings to the net.  Noon time found us farther down river in the float than I cared to be and places we had hit fish yesterday were either empty or and isolated pair of Kings left on a particular redd.  Finally we found two hot redds and it kept us busier than I thought it would keep the girls intently fishing for a few hours.  While most of the Kings we saw and fought had been in the river a while, we hooked into a few very nice Kings that had just come in as well as a Coho and a small Steelhead.  It was a great day.  On the Steelhead end, it was pretty slow for most of the guides that passed us through out the day, with some of the guides reporting only one or two hook ups, but saying how the bite was on a couple of days ago.   It’s always great to hook an October Steelhead, but it is only the middle of October.  Soon however we’ll gear up for Steelhead and Waterfowl and enjoy part 2 of my favorite time of the year.
Tight Lines!  David Roller



October 17

Steve Haywood and his good friend Grant (pictured above) joined me today, as Steve wanted to get at least one more day of salmon season in before it was over.  With the crazy, intermittent season we’ve had since it’s beginning in late August, Kings are still coming in.  With the river up a good eight inches today and raining most of the afternoon we saw Kings on redds in places they haven’t been in the past few days.  Some were a little worn and others were fresh that would put on an aerial show to make us cast for another.  In most places early on in the day, the fish were tight to cover making casting a little on the technical side, but the guys came through in spades.  Later in the day as we made our way down the river, the fish were more out in the open.  There were plenty of fish, many more fish than there was a week ago when we had the clear, blue bird like, warm weather.  There were plenty of people out as well, although most were trying for Steelhead.  Some anglers we ran across had not touched a fish and others had on or had caught one or two.  In the midst of fishing for Kings, I saw four Steelhead moving up river as we fished through out the day.  Given the high water and this year’s rain of mid October, we should be set up nicely for Steelhead and we’ll jump on that towards the end of the month.  Our fall season is quickly fading away and the snow will be flying before we know it.  We’re going to take advantage of everyday possible…there is a lot to do, waterfowl, steelhead, and Kings…the Peré Marquette River system is offers it all.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 16

I’ve had the past couple of days off, and after spending the past three and a half months on water between Alaska and Michigan, it felt good, especially to sleep in.   With the lower river slowing down a bit (and I’m sure there are more fresh Kings coming in) “Doc” Gooding and his son in law Josh, both from AZ, swapped out my 20’ Go-devil for my drift boat and floated the “mid” section of the Peré Marquette River.  The cover photo above tells the story of the past couple of days, with the rains we’ve had, which also put more Kings on spawning gravel, some of which we had gotten into on the lower river just days prior.   Most Kings are starting to look a little of age as the males fight and chase each other off of spawning gravel, yet at times will aggressively take a fly.  If one has not fished “the redds”, it’s a sight to see, especially watching Kings jockeying and jousting for position.  Crockett has been fishing the Muskegon River as he has been seeing some of the same, though with not quite the fish numbers as a year ago, but still plenty of fish to make a day.  He did see a couple of Steelhead caught as the Muskegon waits to see a few more Steelhead to show up.  With the rains spiking up the river’s flow, more and more Steelhead should be showing up in the weeks to come, and we’ll wait for that time to come before we start gearing up for chrome.  In the mean time we’ll stay on the Kings through early next week, then the duck blind gets put on the boat.  A lot of fun is to be had the next six or so weeks, I hope you can get out and enjoy what’s left of the fall season.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 13

Fishing on the lower river continues to produce some nice Kings and today with Rich Gooding and son in law Josh, we even managed to put a Coho to the net.  Yesterday fishing with Dr. Steve Vincent (pictured above) was also good and turned some Kings that were as bright as August fish.  Crockett and Dan Card continue to fish the Muskegon River with plenty of Kings on gravel and a few more Steelhead showing up.  With the rains predicted over the next 48 hours, we should see more fresh Kings on gravel on the Peré Marquette River as well as set up nicely for our fall Steelhead run.  Lots of great things to do outdoors this fall get out and enjoy some of “Pure Michigan”.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 10 & 11

It’s the Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brock’s second time up here this fall and this week has been fishing better and more consistent than the last time they were here.  Mrs. Shirley Brock had the hot hand today as she sweet talked a lot of Kings out of submerged logs and debris, putting some very nice Kings to the net.  The lower “PM” continues to fish while the upper river is very spotty.  More to come tomorrow, get out and enjoy our beautiful weather, river, and the beautiful fall colors… it’s a great combination.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 9

The days have been much cooler as of late, the sun lower in the horizon, and the leaves that line the Peré Marquette River couldn’t be prettier, in fact today was down right gorgeous.  Steve Wareham from Springfield, IL, had his Catalyst Paper folks up for their final day of two days spent on the Peré Marquette River with us.  We would have one boat on the “Flies Only” stretch and I would have Steve and Mike on the lower river.  After spending the first day fishing gravel, Mike soon found out the difficult task at hand, landing a fresh, pre spawning king on the lower river wasn’t so easy, but so much fun, as we still have kings sky rocketing out of the air and heading for whatever submerged debris they can possibly get into to shred our ten pound leader lines.  But late in the afternoon, the law of averages swung Mike’s way and putting two nice Kings to the net made everything worth while.  While it looks like we are coming to the end of our salmon run, new fish continually show up in the lower river, just not in large numbers, more of a trickle effect.  With the bright sunny conditions and the now low waters of the upper river, finding fresh fish on gravel has not been easy as more and more fish finish their spawning cycle and die.  I feel the next good front we have that produces rain and a spike in water, we’ll have a new batch of fish ready to spawn and not many anglers out there to fish for them as October starts to wane.  The good news is that there will be a lot of undisturbed spawning activity going on, which means more natural reproduction, which means three, four, and five years from now, more fish.  In the mean time, yesterday, after a decent morning and getting off the river early, Crockett exchanged his drift boat for his jet sled and ventured to the Muskegon River to see its current conditions and when he called me he said, “I know where I am spending the rest of my salmon season!”  While the Muskegon was not completely stupid with fish, he saw quite a few redds with new fish on it, so tomorrow we’ll wait and see how it goes as he takes part of Steve Haywood’s group down there.  It’s all good and northern Michigan’s fall season is in full bloom.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 8

It was another beautiful morning, not too cold, not too warm, and the wind was blowing, moving just enough fresh fish for us to have a good day as Steve Wareham and company boarded our boats this morning.  Crockett fished Jeff Hill from Chicago and Mike from California.  I fished with Steve and his friend Chris from Florida.  Crockett and I each had a newbie that had never fished for Kings, let alone a river in Michigan and it wasn’t long after a few busted knuckles and tippets shredding from large Kings, they started bringing Kings to the net.  The river couldn’t be more stunning, with the sun low in the horizon and the colors of the leaves peaking, it creates a painting that couldn’t be duplicated on canvas, and every bend is another beautiful picture.  While the weather pattern has been nice, it doesn’t help us with fish on gravel, as the fish are thinning out and you never know where you’ll find a small batch of fresh fish that has just jumped on gravel.  The next weather front that comes in with a little rain should fix that.  In the mean time, we are finding just enough fish to make for a great day, and look forward to the days to come as we are on the downward slide of our 2014 Salmon season.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 7

This morning, things just felt right as Steve Haywood from Focus Business Solutions in Taylor, MI and his son Austin boarded my boat.  There was a slight, somewhat warm breeze, clear skies, and a few new Kings were on the move.  On our first run that we fished, it didn’t take us long to realize we had a few fish in front of us as Steve was the first to hook up with a king.  Soon after, from daylight until about 11 a.m. we hooked enough fish to keep us paying attention.  Despite October rolling towards mid month, these fish were plenty hot, jumped several times, and would take us to the submerged wood piles.  By noon, things would settle down and we moved to another favorite king run and the action started all over again, this time we would manage to put kings in the net.  While most of the male kings are starting to turn more of a copper color, and the females more olive, the fights they delivered were nothing less than powerful.  There are not quite as many fish as we had a couple of weeks ago, but then again, there were times in late September that we were in between runs and really had to work hard.  We didn’t have to work hard today.  Mean while further up river, Crockett didn’t exactly have it easy fishing gravel.  There is always that transition, when we wait for new fish to jump on gravel to replace the more spent fish that he was seeing today, and now we are in that transition period.  He had to pick his way down river as they would land a few fish that were a little less desirable and every now and then would find a fish or two that no doubt had just jumped on spawning gravel.  Add to the fact that there are still a lot of salmon fisherman lining the banks, he picked his way through it all and by days end, had a very good day.  I expect in the next few days the pressure will dwindle, there will be new fish on gravel, as well as more fish coming in on the lower river.  As we get into mid to late October, we’ll still have plenty of fish to see a fly with a lot less fishing pressure. 
Our waterfowl season is less than two weeks away and my Black Labrador senses it, as every morning now, she sets by my truck as if waiting to hear me say “kennel up”.    We have an exciting fall in the up coming weeks between waterfowl and steelhead, and to try and slow down the pace, I savor the moment of every day, enjoy the Kings we have left, knowing that Steelhead and watching my Black Labrador retrieve ducks are just around the corner.  The fall season just doesn’t last long enough.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 5

Father and son teams Dean and Davis Thompson and Mark and Anthony Smith from New Jersey were back on their annual Peré Marquette River King Salmon trip.  On day one, they fished up river, fishing to the many fish that were on gravel and had a great time, today DJ and I took them down river for a taste of the fresh that are still coming in.  Although we are not getting large pushes of fish since the big run on the 3rd of October, small pulses of fresh Kings continue to  work their way up stream, enough to give us a good day, add a few potential Coho and Steelhead working their way up, and any number of surprises can happen.  The weather has turned colder and leaves are turning and dropping quickly.  The river is running a few inches high with a slight tea color, giving us good conditions to fish in, and with new fish continually coming in, it should give us great fishing through the duration of our salmon season which will end for us, on the books, the 19th of October.  After that we change gears towards waterfowl and steelhead.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 4

Our “Indian Summer” conditions have turned to late fall like winds and rains and today it wouldn’t have surprised me if it has snowed. While the rains gave us a little break late morning/early afternoon, they continued through the evening hours as the Peré Marquette River continues to slowly rise.  All is not bad however as we continue to see a continuous push of fish on the lower river, including three fresh Coho that guide DJ and his customers Jon and Tony landed today along with several nice Kings in the Custer area.  Terry Ohlms from St. Louis, MO and Pat from IN also did well with me today on the lower river as we landed several female Kings, some loose and the majority tight in the skein.  Further up river Crockett indicated that the amount of almost spent fish on gravel had been replaced with fresh fish literally overnight, making fishing the gravel much more enjoyable.  While some complain about the weather, if this is what it takes to bring us our fish, we’ll certainly take it.  While fishing pressure is waning just a bit on mid to lower sections of the river, the “Flies Only” stretch in Baldwin, MI tends to get the most amount of boat and walk in traffic.  The fishing remains good to excellent and I don’t see it stopping for a while.  As late as things have been, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kings well into the first of November, when we’re fishing Steelhead.  If the cooler weather and higher water conditions prevail, we could see a good run of Steelhead sooner than later.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 3

Finally something worth writing about on the Peré Marquette River.  It finally happened, one of the largest pushes of fish we’ve had all season finally happened as did the weather that we were promised.  The rains came hard before daylight and didn’t stop until noon.  The warmest part of the day was at daylight as the temps steadily decreased and the winds steadily increased.  It was a perfect storm that kicked our Kings in the butt and triggered a major migration.  Sharing that large push with me was Mike “Daddio” Reynoso from St. Louis, MO who is no stranger to the Peré Marquette River.  He and his buddies were just up here fishing a couple of weeks ago, but this time he brought his son Seve, which would be his first time fishing Kings.  As we made our way up river in dawns early light, I was still unsure if the today would be the day after yesterday’s lack of new fish, but once I saw wakes going up the sand flats, I knew we would have a chance.  Once rods were strung and casted, it didn’t take long to feel our first fish, something we haven’t been accustomed to on the lower river for a while, as it could take an hour or so before any sign of live in the underwater world of king salmon.  The fish were hot and fast and by nearly noon, we hadn’t landed a fish, but rods were doubled over and Seve, being his first time he was getting schooled on how to land large fish on fly gear.  He was a quick study though as he managed to put our first King in the net.  He didn’t stop there, and before long he looked like the veteran that his father is.  Farther up river, Dan, Blake, and Crocket had found a fair number of fish on gravel.  Some of the older fish were replaced with fresh fish, and there were plenty to keep everyone busy.  The lower river had come up about two inches and staining nicely by mid afternoon, tomorrow I would expect it to come up a few inches more and hopefully the push continues.  There should be a lot of penned up Kings just waiting for a fight, and we’ll be out there matching up with them.  Hopefully the push continues!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


October 2

The past couple of days, there still have been no consistency on the lower river as we wait for new fish to show up. The past couple of days, Crockett was doing well around the Custer area as I stayed down below Scottville, until those fish exited and there were no replacements, so I migrated a little farther up river with Art and Vicky Eddy on October 1st, where we did extremely well, putting a dozen nice Kings to the net, only to be fooled again today where Steve Haywood (pictured above), his father Doug and I  only put one fish to the net,  putting about seven other fish on the line.  Crockett did a little better, but by noon, he was only one King to the boat with one other hook up.  However by day’s end, he had found a small pocket of Kings and managed to put four fish to the net out of a dozen hook ups. Farther up river, guides Dan Card and Blake Roller relied on gravel at the end of the day, as the pools they had done well on the day before, emptied out.  The past couple days has mimicked the way how most of September has played out.  We’re finding fish everyday, but it certainly has been a brain teaser.  There has been plenty of fish on gravel, but even that hasn’t been easy at times as the low water of the past few days have made them spooky and finding fresh fish that has just jumped on gravel more difficult, but we find them somewhere along the way.  With good rains coming and the rains of today, the river should rise a few inches.  The prediction is one and a half to two inches of rain, which should really bring the river up, hopefully six inches or so, which should give us a good push of fresh fish, and put those fish on gravel, that has just come in the past few days, which should give our October anglers excellent fishing conditions, not to mention a few Steelhead that are starting to show up.  We have a couple of great months ahead, get out and enjoy it before the snow starts flying.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 28

The beautiful “Indian Summer” continues in northern Michigan as the leaves are turning and autumn is almost in full bloom. The Peré Marquette River Kings are in all stages as we await more yet to come.  In the “Flies Only” stretch, the Kings seem to be  more condensed with new fish trickling in, fish on spawning gravel (some old some new), and dead fish line the banks that have already spawned and died.  With more fish in that area, also come the crowds as thirty to forty boats run that stretch daily.  Further down river, the fishing is sporadic at best with no consistency.  We can have stellar fishing one day and really work for them the next, but the fish are fresh from the lake, some chrome, but they all are hot and wild, making it worth the wait and effort to find them, as the Eddy’s found from Columbus, OH who fished with me today.  Art Eddy (pictured above) has been fishing the “Flies Only” stretch this past week and welcomed the change that the lower river had to offer and his wife Vicky just loves fishing out of the boat, and she always manages to produce fish for me. While we didn’t exactly tear them up, we had fun trying some different things that produced a couple of fish, then dredging flies in the pools, hooking enough fish to keep our concentration level up.  Crockett, who had the tough day yesterday, also did well today, fishing the same piece of water.  So we keep on fishing everyday, enjoying great weather, great company, and the fish that bring us all together.  There are plenty more Kings to come, and with a little weather, I expect my October anglers to do extremely well.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 26

We continue to be extremely busy so this will be short and sweet.  More and more fish continue to show up with reports of Peré Marquette Lake being full of Kings, as we await those fish to push up river.  Daily I am seeing Kings push up river; however the past couple of days has been to a minimal level, but new arrivals show up none the less.  More of our guides are having much better days than worse, that is not to say that on any given day, one of us are in low numbers for the day.  And on any given day no one really knows who is going to do better or worse.  Today, one of our guides had one of his toughest days in a stretch that just had very few fish in it, but as we all know that can change daily.  As long as new fish keep showing up, it looks better and better for our October anglers, and this could be a year that we’ll have a fair amount of Kings in the river clear into November… I’ve seen it before.  The good news is that all these late, late arrivals will go unfished, spawn, and the off spring could be many 5 years down the road.  I remain very optimistic and despite the lack of big numbers in the past two or three years, we are all having a very good time, especially with this Indian Summer as the days start to shorten and leaves start to change.  As long as we can continue to catch a few chrome fish like the one Robert Brock pictured above caught with me today, it’s all good!

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 23

A lot has happened in the past two days since the last posting, and the big front that gave us a lot of wind and rain yesterday had a lot to do with it.  It has been quite sometime since I’ve seen a decent push of fish and yesterday and today could be the light at the end of the tunnel.  With yesterday’s hard wind and rain, came fresh Kings, some likened to fish that we saw during the very first part of September, chrome, hot, and ill-tempered.  Yesterday’s dark, dreary, windy, rainy day, followed by the cooler winds in the afternoon, kept the fish on the move, but not before hanging out with us for a while, which made for some fantastic fishing for some of us.  Today was no different other than the fact with the bright, blue skied day, after a morning of new fish pushing through, we had fish that stopped in their tracks, right in front of us, and it kept us busy the entire day.  Further upstream it was a mix of fishing blowing through some of the pools that the guys were fishing.  As quickly as fish would enter the pool, they would migrate further up river, leaving a clean, uninhabited pool.  It was frustrating for the guide and customer as well as they watched the fish exit as quickly as they came in.  The “Flies Only” stretch on the Peré Marquette River has a lot of spawning fish on gravel and ‘some’ runs have fishable numbers of Kings in them, but it is also seeing thirty boats a day, so at times it’s getting a little congested.  So there is light at the end of the tunnel, as the Peré Marquette River is starting to bloom a little later than usual, but the Kings are coming, which could leave us with a salmon run that goes clear into the end of October, which could fare great for our mid to late October anglers.  We remain steady at hand with six guides going out daily, and now more of our guides are having great days, and the odd stretch or two, the guides are having a good day.  It shouldn’t be long when 100% of us are steady into fish, not working as hard as we’ve been.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 19

The guys come from all over, once a year to fish the Peré Marquette River, and to reunite with each other as well as reunite with me and our guides that have served them over the years.  They come from New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, and Missouri and they always have a good time and today was no different.  With seven guides on the water, the tables switched again as to what was hot and what was not adding to the inconsistency of our salmon run.  But it’s getting better as a few more Kings have been showing up in the river and reports of Peré Marquette Lake filling up with Kings, which means we are just a day or two away from a major push of Kings…they are coming.  Again the fish we are catching have been ranging from 16 to 22 pounds and fight with every once of their body, putting our anglers and their/our equipment to the test.  It may be a late season, but I still feel it will be a good one when we close the fall salmon season of 2014. 

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 18

A few more fish today for all of us, as each one of our guides landed and had on a little more than we’ve had the past week.  I fished below Scottville again with Dr. Robert Starr and his brother-in-law John Axelberg.  I witnessed more activity in the early morning hours by Kings, than I have in a while, with Kings boiling out in front of us while we were rigging rods.  It didn’t take long for Bob and John to hook up with fish, and with in the first hour, it was nice to have a fresh King in the net.  Rumor is out that Peré Marquette Lake had a lot of Kings rolling on the surface and fish were on the move near
“Twin Bridges” in Ludington.  We’ll see just how many in the next day or two and hope to report more numbers.  In the mean time, we are hooking low teens to high twenties on any given day with any given guide.  Today my guys hooked around a dozen nice fresh Kings and we landed two, with two others that should have been landed.  We continue to have all hands on deck spread out through the PM river system as we all await the new arrivals of our next push of Kings.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 17

Luke Vincer (pictured above) and guide Blake Roller surprised us all when they showed us a picture of this twenty one pound lake run Brown trout that they had caught in the Peré Marquette River a couple of days ago as he was part of the Shepperson group that comes up every year for their annual salmon outing with us.  The group and Blake also gave us a laugh on a heroic net job yesterday in which Blake, standing on a log in about 6 feet of water nets the fish, looses his balance, swims for about six to eight seconds and comes out with the King still in the net.  With the Kings not coming easy, every fish possible counts, and this King was no exception.  We hope to post the video soon as it was priceless.  The Kings continue to be somewhat thin as we still await a major push of Kings.  We are getting a small “trickle” effect of new Kings pushing up the river.  There is nothing consistent as everyday one or two of our guides have a great day while the others hit a minimum number of Kings only to turn around the next day and the guys that hadn’t done so well hits the high numbers.  So we continue to be spread out through the Peré Marquette River system fishing our favorite runs and let the day progress as it may.  We are all having fun, enjoying fall like weather as sun noticeably rides lower in the horizon.  While the fishing still remains on the slower side to our standards, we’re getting our guests into fish with lots of laughs along the way, having a great time, enjoying our days on the river with many more to come as autumn unfolds.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 15

Today was another tough day on the river for me as I headed below Scottville, looking for perhaps another push of fish that could be lingering downstream, below my normal fishing grounds.  While we hooked some nice fish below Scottville Bridge, we couldn’t get anything consistent as we would hook a fish or two in just about every run that we fished.  The good news is that most of my guides farther upstream did do better than they had the past few days. Brent Martin (pictured above), guided by Blake Roller was one of those anglers.  One of our guides actually had a normal day of salmon fishing on the Peré Marquette River, and two of my other guides were not far behind them.  Guides DJ and Crockett were on the lower river as well, and they reported seeing a few fish on the move, more so than what they have seen in the past few days.  The rumor mill is winding up with reports that we lost some of our mature fish in Lake Michigan this past spring, that some of our fish went to another river, etc., etc.  I am still optimistic that it will be a later run, especially since Lake Michigan, on average ran ten degrees colder than normal this summer.  Ten degrees doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a huge swing to our migrating Kings.  I’ve seen late runs before, some lingering well into late October, as I recall just a few years ago, I never put my drift boat in the water, fishing pre spawning Kings through the 20th of October on the lower river.  This year could be no different, and could be great fishing, especially for our mid October guests.  All of our guests so far have been appreciative of the hard work our guides are doing, understand that’s its fishing and not “catching”, and enjoy a fun day on the river, and by the end of the day, they’ve put there equipment to the test battling some nice Kings.  Tomorrow is a different day, and we’ll be hot on them again.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 14

Today was Jerry “Holly” Hollingsworth and Cliff Neuse (pictured above) 28th (twenty eighth) year fishing with me.  It’s hard to believe I was 23 years old when I had these guys in my boat for the first time; it was just a year or two later when Holly introduced me to duck hunting in some of the prime duck clubs of St. Louis, MO.  They have seen a small handful of tough days, and a lot of great days including the past couple of years, and we finally got a little tougher season dealt to us this go around.  While we all want to catch fish in large numbers, spending the day together, laughing about the years gone by, hooking a ten Kings that kicked our butts, and catching a couple of Kings made for a great day.  We genuinely had fun, and I’m just not saying that because we had a tough day fishing.  The fishing has been tough, to our standards, while we continue to fish hard as we average a dozen fish on a day, but it’s still a dozen large fish on the fly, fish in a small river that will challenge the most ardent, experienced fishermen and their gear.  Right now the Kings are winning (well, they always win most of the time), but our day is coming, sooner than later.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 13

All we can do is have fun as in the picture above; when that was the only fish we landed for the day, a four inch sculpin.  Jim Lagerbloom from Georgia and Ramzy Bathish from TX, were with me as we searched and searched for a decent school of Kings, which has been more and more difficult to find the past few days.  The large pushes of Kings that we had earlier this month have distributed themselves throughout the river system, in which some are starting to work gravel and spawn.  In the mean time, we keep searching the river, which took me below Scottville Bridge; the first time I’ve done that in a couple of years.  Other than seeing a different part of the river, it made no difference as the lack of new Kings showing up continue baffle us.  We’ve been averaging a dozen fish on a day and putting one or two in the net.  With six to seven guides on the water everyday, spread through out the river system, a couple of us seem to get into much heavier numbers, but the two guides that do well, that particular day, changes the next day. So everyday we put our waders on, hitting our beats, thinking that today will be the day, and one day it will happen.  We’ve had it very well the past few years in September.  This year, with Lake Michigan running on average ten degrees colder, it may take our Kings just a little longer to get here.  In the mean time we fish, we have fun, and we work for every King we get or hook into.  We look forward to the next day thinking it will be “the day”, and tomorrow just might be.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 11

We’ve been covering a lot of water on the Peré Marquette River lately as we try and find the Kings that have moved through the river system this past week or so.  The fishing has not been easy.  After the storm front moved through the area the past 24 hours, I was a surprised that we didn’t get a large push of Kings on the lower river.  In fact, for the most part the Kings on the lower river has migrated, no new fish have moved in, leaving us a few Kings distributed through each run and pool.  After running two different stretches of river today, guides Blake Roller and Crockett pulled out early and met up at M-37 Bridge in Baldwin, MI to float the entire “Flies Only” stretch of the PM, just to see if the fish we had, migrated that far, they had not.  The two had seen a handful of fish on gravel and very few fish in the pockets and runs, and even fewer fish on with the handful of anglers and boats they had encountered.
With the cloud cover and misty conditions, we could see things change overnight, so we’ll stick to our guns before we make any drastic changes, moving to other parts of the river.  Hope springs eternal, and fisherman are one of the most optimistic groups around, so tomorrow could be the day, stay tuned and find out.

Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 9

The past couple of days the Kings that ‘were’ on the lower river have migrated upstream with not many fish to replace them as if the migration has shut down for the moment with just enough fish on the bottom end to keep us their.  Meanwhile our other guides further upstream have had stellar days including one Steelhead that guide Blake Roller and his guys hooked into. 
While the lower river is at a stand still, with just enough fish to make a day, this could all change in a hurry as this next weather front approaches with predictions of up to two inches of rain.  If we get a spike in water level of six to ten inches, we could get our first major push of fish that will spread great fishable numbers of fish from top to bottom of the Peré Marquette River.
The size of the Kings this year has been good with fish ranging from 16 to 22 pounds.  Our biggest fish to date was today, as Peré Marquette Outfitter guides DJ and Crockett put (and landed) two of our guests into Kings that weighed twenty eight pounds. 
We’re off to a good start for the season, a season which could linger well into late October and if you’re not here to enjoy it, you could be missing another epic season like the ones we’ve enjoyed the past two years. 


Tight Lines!  David Roller


September 7

It was a busy Saturday on the Peré Marquette River as our 2014 Salmon season is starting to hit all gears.  With the amount of Kings still a little thin on the upper to mid sections on the Peré Marquette River, and everyone out fishing for them, it makes our lives a little tougher on the river trying to move around, but we manage.  Today we had another very big push of Kings on the lower river as more and more fish enter the system from Lake Michigan.  This morning the river was alive as the surface of the river was full of wakes as our Kings pushed water through the shallow sand flats as they migrate up river.  Some would stage in the deeper pools for a while then continue their journey.  It’s during that brief staging or resting period that we are able to take advantage of most of the time.  This morning the Kings were on the bite to just about anything that moved.  Within the first two casts this morning, Jerry Shremshock, stripping a larger egg/streamer pattern, hooked two Kings and within ten casts managed to put our first King to the net.  For the first two hours we were busy, really busy.  By 10 a.m. we had three Kings landed and had hooked a dozen Kings.  As the sun got higher and the day got brighter, the Kings slowed down their migration and then we had to work a little harder as more and more boats would drift by in search of Kings.  While I wasn’t in my prime location due to a lot of people up for the weekend, we decided to stick with pools that we had to finish out the day, we were all happy.
The nights are getting cooler as we have been dipping down into the lower 40’s at night.  As the water temps cool down a bit, more and more Kings are pushing forward and I would expect that in the next week more and more of the upper river should have more Kings staging in the deeper pools.  In the mean time, we’ve made some adjustments to give our guests some very good fishing.  Some days are better than others, but we’re enjoying great weather, great fish, and great company.

Tight Lines!

David Roller


September 5

I don’t have time to write much, but the words of the week have pretty much been the same, “too hot to handle”.  While we are putting a few or better yet a couple of fish to the net everyday, they have been nothing but tough.  A lot of these early Kings are not staging in Peré Marquette Lake as they push on through to the river awaiting their turn to take anyone to the wood shed that is willing to tangle with them.  Dr. Robert Starr and his fiancé, Dr. Kate was with me today and we had are share of drama with each and every King that we put in the net.  We are at “all hands on deck” starting tomorrow as our season is in full bore.  The run is starting, but we are no where near peak.  Some days are better than others as one day a run can be full of fish and the next day they move, forcing us to look, but each day more and more fish enter the system…it will be a good season!

Tight Lines!

David Roller


September 3

After one day off from coming home from Alaska, we hit the ground running on our home waters back here in Michigan as we start our fall salmon season.  Late August was a little on the slower side but as September launches in so did a pretty good push of Kings.  Yesterday I spent the day with Ken and Cathy (the Egg Lady) Zimmerman and their friend Mike.  While there were a nice handful of Kings on the end of the line, there was no question they were hot and fresh as we only managed to put one nice King to the net.  Today was no different as Neil Hirshberg and I hit the lower river.   The river had come up an additional three inches overnight, and with the little spike in water came a much bigger push of fish.  Most were chrome and some copper in color and there was no doubt they had not staged in Peré Marquette Lake, they came right from Lake Michigan and shot up the river, a much bigger push than the day before.  They were hot, tenacious, and sometimes down right vicious.  Size compares very much like the past two years, on the large size.    Water levels look great.  This summer (some say we have had no summer) was on the cool and wet side and with last springs flooding and heavy snows, Lake Michigan is also up over the past few years.
We’re off to a good start as we start leaning very quickly to “the Fall of 2014”.  It’s going to be exciting with so many things to do outdoors and a little over two months to do it in; I’m looking forward to it!

Tight Lines!

David


August 29
Week 4 & 5 Alaska

Too many pictures, too little space on this web site, and certainly too little time as we clean up gear, pack up, and put gear back in storage, as we end a very successful 2014 Alaskan season.  The past ten days we finished up with another 10 day excursion that beats a guy getting in and taking out, but the fishing was fantastic, which we certainly hope so as we planned on fish to eat for at least 6 days and due to the Silvers coming in nicely and more concentrated than the previous 10 day trip, we managed to eat fish 7 nights.  5 nights of the sweet meated Dollies, and two nights of Silver Salmon, including and thanks to our Chinese guests, fish head soup.  Bert Yen and Bing Fong, whom have been with us before in past years, joined us for the last 10 days, along with Mike Bell from Nashville, TN and Jim Downs, doing 20 days down his favorite creeks, knowing how grueling it can be getting in and getting out.  While I’m getting out of sequence here (time), Crocket and I were getting ready to pitch three Silver Salmon carcasses in the river, when Bert inquisitively and perhaps apprehensive to our response asked about the fish heads, seeing that fish they  were just caught.  He also mentioned how good “fish head” soup can be, and Bing Fong also couldn’t say enough good about it.  Being they were our guests, what the hell, fish head soup for appetizers.  Don’t knock it, because after it was all said and done, the plates and forks were passed around, broth was sipped, and the heads were almost picked clean, I must admit, I liked it.  Bert Yen said that next time, we would have the proper Chinese spices to go with, but no one complained with a touch of pepper, salt, and garlic powder added to make the broth, it smelled pretty darn good before it was time to serve.
Starting out the trip on the 18th of August, we made life a little easier getting in through the small creek, that led us to our destination, by building the rafts a little different.  Once in on the misty day, we turned Mike Bell and Jim Downs loose to start fishing to get us enough Dolly Varden/Arctic Char for dinner while the rest of us floated further down river to set up camp.  By the time we had camp set up and coffee on, the guys showed up with plenty of fish for dinner, our first of the 10 nights we would spend out in the Alaskan bush.  As the previous ten days, the Dollies were many and large, some exceeding 5 pounds, and it was obvious the Rainbows had been feeding heavy on eggs and salmon flesh as they were the fattest rainbows we’ve seen, the largest one caught by Bert Yen, coming in at 28 inches, and no doubt pushed the 8 to 9 pound range…Steelhead size.  There were many more Rainbows caught in the four and five pound range, and who knows how many in the 18 to 22 inch size. 
While the weather worked out a little for us on the first 5 days, it seemed to get a little nastier the last 5 days as its obvious the Alaskan fall season was setting in.  The willow leaves were changing quickly from pale yellows to brown, the sun was setting before 9:30 p.m. and it was still dark at 5:45 a.m. when I needed my head lamp to get the coffee going.  The mornings would be a cool 45 degrees, and add a little wind and mist and it felt colder and the warmer clothing was worn.  By afternoon however, one could shed a layer or two and enjoy a comfortable day of fishing.
Once we floated down to our second creek, the Silvers were more noticeable.  Jim Downs, Mike Bell, and I walked about a mile up river to fish for Dollies and Rainbows, when half way down, Jim hooked into a large fish, unsure what it may have been.  Jim had dropped back to re-fish the pool as Mike and I worked farther down river.  Jim yells at me knowing I was within hearing distance to assist him; our first Silver was soon landed.  As we started to notice the slow pool he was fishing, it was loaded with Silvers.  After a quick 5 or 6 Silvers landed, I went down a few bends to catch up with Mike to get him in on the action.  Before we finally put the Silvers down, we had hooked a solid twenty fish and put eight to ten to the net.  We knew our plans for the next day…more Silvers.  In the meantime, back at camp, Lil D and Bing Fong had caught a couple Silvers as well, and we had plenty of fish for an all you can eat fish fry, and this is when the fish head soup came into play.
After plenty of Silvers, and a couple of days left, we headed for our final creek, an area we could have easily spent three days.  The Silvers were plenty and the Rainbows in which we sight fished most of them were fat and sassy and eager to bite.  Bert, Bing, Crockett and Sharde’ hung in camp and caught plenty of Silvers, and kept a couple of large ones for dinner.  Mike, Jim and I ventured up river in pursue of more rainbows and it was almost heaven to say the least.  Small water no more than 10 feet wide in places, a nine foot, 5 or 6 weight rods, and the proper tackle and in places one could almost catch very nice Rainbows at will.  They hit hard and with reckless abandon.  In one small riffle, I had about 20 chums spawning, and in about a 20 foot stretch, I caught 8 nice Rainbows in about 10 casts.  One jumped high and landed on the grass on the opposite bank before flopping back into the creek.
As I was walking a  ridge to try and find Jim way up stream, I couldn’t help but notice a rainbow in a pool that would go at least 5 pounds.  I watched him mill back and forth eating eggs and at one time taking a bite out of a salmon carcass.  Being on a thirty foot high bank, I slid down just a bit and made a couple of casts from the ridge 20 feet above the river’s edge.  Twice the heavy winds caught my line, while trying to mend it, and right into a small, bush that ultimately I had to break off without spooking the large rainbow that was still wildly eating.  While rigging up my third rig, strike indicator and all, Jim come from the upstream side and jokingly said, “How’s the fishing up there”.  
“Perfect timing” I replied, “come down here and catch this fish.”
As the Rainbow made his rounds, hovering over about 15 feet of river bottom, both the rainbow and Jim’s cast were in the perfect spot, and so was I like standing in the grand stand of a stadium watching the whole thing take place.  Soon after, Jim’s line tightened up and a 5 pound Rainbow come jumping out of the water, as much as it’s distance cousin, a Steelhead in November.  It was an epic battle for Jim, and fun to watch for me.
The weather was nasty at times as the fall season rolls in, bringing the rafts in for the start of the trip, tough but we made it a little easier the second time around.  The day getting to and the “take out” can be grueling.  It’s 5 plus hours of floating with no fishing involved in the glacial fed, silty stained river.   Once at the “take out” the real work begins, getting everything to the top of the hill, then a solid 800 (eight hundred) yards across the tundra to a large lake where the float plane can pick us up.  The fishing however was priceless, a dream for die hard trout fisherman.  Where else can one catch forty plus fish a day, fish that will make a 6 wt. bend to the last graphite strand holding everything together, remote Alaska that’s where.  Being that it takes a half day to get in and a day to get out, we spent 10 night and eleven days in a wilderness, that very few people ever get to see and even fewer get to experience the kind of fishing we do.  In future years, if we ever did a 10 day venture on our creeks back to back, I would definitely take a day off in between and I’m looking at different options of taking out, but the bottom line, the fishing was epic to say the least if one is willing to do a little walking, and that we did, we had no problem sleeping at night.  The pictures seen above are just a small taste of what we experienced.  I could have involved a full page of pictures and would have still needed to cull some out to make room. I plan on putting many more pics on our “Facebook” page of Pere Marquette Outfitters, but that is a few days away, or it may even be this winter when “cabin fever” sets in.  We finish off the AK season in great success and AK 2015 is 10 months away.  In the words of the late, great Tom Silver…”book often, book early, hell just be booked!”

Tight Lines!  David Roller


August 17, Week 4...10 day Float Trip

It was another epic adventure enjoyed by another great foursome fishing with Pere Marquette Outfitters. Gary and Lloyd Modine, two brothers, one from Kansas and the other from Oklahoma, Jim Downs from Lansing, MI, and eighty year old Charlie Fudge from Polson, MT.  While I mention Charlie’s age, he’s tough as a mountain goat and jumps in and out of a raft easier than most.  He and Jim Downs have not missed a year in Alaska with us in the past ten and the Modine’s are no stranger fishing with us here in Alaska as well.
Some great things come with work, and this trip was no exception.  Getting in was no easy task.  With this year’s low water table, due to lack of rain and snow fall, a struggle getting our gear and rafts in is an understatement.  We knew that there were places where the creek leading into our destination as narrower than our rafts and we would have to drag them over small gravel bars, but we didn’t plan on having to drag them over several yards of gravel often.  The whole crew worked, pushing and tugging to the point of exhaustion, until we finally made it in.  While making camp and getting fishing gear ready, we were greeted by our first Alaskan Brown bear as he quickly snatched a 20 pound King.  We needed a few Dollies for dinner and it wasn’t long camp was made, fish were caught, and we had our first of six dinners of Dolly Varden, all in one day, our first day of work and a little evening fishing, with some of the most beautiful scenery surrounding us.  We had ten more days to go. 
We stayed on our first creek for four days, fishing the upper end the first two days which does get some “day trip” activity.   The only time we stopped fishing was when a bear peaked through the brush “close” by or ambled up the river looking for fish.  They had run of the river and they knew it and the bear viewing like the fishing was second to none.  Watching an Alaskan Brown bear stalk and catch fish is something they have done for thousands of year and witnessing such events first hand, several times over, was as wild as it gets.
We were going to spend a third day on the upper end, but as the float planes zeroed in on us, we decided to quickly exit.  After a mile downstream on day 3, we soon had the river/creek all to ourselves, found a great place to camp and caught a lot of beautiful fish in the two to five pound class, and again I reiterate the scenery.  It was second to none, and with large Dolly Varden/Arctic Char, and a few trophy Rainbows to boot, it was first class fishing.  Minimum twenty fish per angler and most topped well over forty fish per day…a trout fisherman’s dream!
As the days ran, we found ourselves on the next clear water stream, hoping to find a few Silver salmon.  When we first arrived, Gary Modine and Charlie Fudge landed a couple of trophy rainbows in the 4 to 5 pound class.  Later in the day, Gary, while fishing for Silvers, hooked into a 35 pounds King, fishing 10 pound test line, in the large river that the clear water stream fed.  Twenty minutes later, and about a ¼ mile downstream that the low water banks allowed us to walk, he landed it.  Later that day, he landed a nice Silver salmon that we enjoyed as part of our dinner; supplemented with more sea run Dollies… we ate well! 
Three days later, we would float a few hours to another no named stream, that Jim and I investigated last year, we deemed Rainbow Creek for a reason.  Upon entering it, the mouth was full of a school of fresh Chums that held a few fresh Silvers as well, and sight fishing for Rainbows was an understatement.  If this creek got fished three times a year, it would be a lot and the guys spent a full day on it, and it was, putting it plain and simple, fun stuff!  The stream was 6 to 10 feet wide, full of spawning Chums and Pinks, and we would walk slowly up the bank looking for rainbows setting among the Chums, eating eggs.  A small roll cast, and if the cast was anywhere near close, a 16 to 24 inch Rainbow would tear out of his feeding lane and eat the egg pattern with reckless abandon.  While most of us would hike up the stream at least a mile, Charlie Fudge, after catching about 20 Rainbows, would stay closer to camp, and he would eventually hook into a few Silvers after weeding through the hundreds of Chum that would push through.  Charlie even landed a trophy, five pound Rainbow, fishing within 50 feet of camp.  We would spend a full day at our little creek, but as quickly as our trip started, our work would once again begin as we floated some 5 hours to our take out where the work would again begin.  We would unload the rafts, pull them up a four foot bank, then all of our gear (and we have a lot) would have to go up a 75 foot, 45 degree (at least) brushy hill, then 800 yards (yes eight hundred yards) across the tundra, to a lake large enough to get a float plane in to pick us up.  It wasn’t easy!  We would get a “chain gang” started to get everything up the hill, then everyone, at their own pace would carry gear to what would be our last camp.  Everyone worked hard and for the exception of a couple of loads, we got most of the gear to camp by night fall.  As I come in with the last heavy load, Sharde’ and Lil’ D had our spaghetti dinner almost ready to serve.  Hungry and tired, we all ate like Kings and retired for the night, the trip was over as we waited for our float planes to arrive to take us back to King Salmon, AK, to the King Salmon Lodge.
It was a great trip with some 900 to 1,000 fish caught.  While we had rain every day, we were fortunate with the weather catching the breaks in the rain at the right time.  We were able to take down and put up camp dry every time.  The rain would tend to come in the morning; clear up nicely at times with sunshine, the winds would start to blow by evening pushing another front in.  A couple of nights it rained as hard as I’ve seen it rain in Alaska, and at times the large, wind thrown rain drops splattered on the rainflies of our tents, to a noise level that would keep a person up, but to us it was like soft music putting us to sleep.  We were all warm and dry, as our gear and tents did exactly as expected.  We are headed out again tomorrow with three guys coming in, and Jim Downs, who has to do this trip ‘at least’ twice.  Will there be more Silvers, will we find that 30 inch Rainbow trout, or the “largest Dolly” that Lil D ever saw, in which Charlie Fudge hooked up with and unfortunately broke off.  Stay tuned as we head out for our final ten day trip in Alaska.
Michigan News:  With a mild cool summer, to say the least, we’ve seemed to have plenty of rain and cooler temps as the our Kings our starting to show up on the Pere Marquette River, and Blake Roller is hot on them as he transitions from chasing brown trout to Kings, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised, that at the time of this posting, he’s already found a few nice schools of Kings.  September is coming upon us fast, and another season of the year of 2014 is quickly approaching!

Tight Lines!  David Roller



August 7, 2014  Week 3 Alaska

Not time to write much, but had a great time and an Alaskan first with us, as we had four beautiful women on this past trip, and as usual they did outstanding, with Dona Montgomery coming in with big fish of the week.  13 year old Ellie Montgomery always shows her fishing prowess and tenacity as she nev er gives up and will fish all day.  Dwight's cousin Jennifer, experienced her first time with us and will never look at a smallmouth bass the same as she looks forward to joinning the team next year.  Sharde', Lil D's fiance', joined the team as she works netting fish, cleaning fish, adn working in teh kitchen area.  All is well as we get ready for next week.  Stay tuned!

Tight Lines!  David Roller

July 30, Week 2 Alaska

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



The water temps were so cold today, that the ice on the shaft of my motor, accumulated while it was under water.  11/18/14Breaking ice to get back to the launch.  The river had frozen over for well over 100 feet since the morning when it was completely open.  11/18/14Looking downriver towards the launch as we finally get back to open water.  11/18/14Al Hemerling wthi a very nice Brown caught on an "Indy rig" on a very cold, windy, snowy day.  11/17/14On a cold blustery day with windchills fluctuating between negative 4 and 4 degrees, Al Hemmerling and his set of switch rods finds a few Steelhead.  11/17/14The snow started flying by  early afternoon and woudln't stop, but neither would Al Hemmerling.  11/17/14Snow squalls came frequently  today. 11/17/14.The Sage "4210 " series... a great reel for steelheading!Mitt Drew and Ben with a nice Steelhead on 11/13/14.Steelhead were on the bite today and after loosing our first four fish Tom Ewers finally put our first fish to the net.  11/11/14Another nice Steelhead by Todd Ewers on 11/11/14.As the cold front rolls in Todd Ewers from Columbus, OH lands his first Steelhead of the morning.  11/11/14With a 15 degree drop in temperature, snow, rain, and sleet, the guys kept at it putting Pere Marquette River steelhead to the net.  11/11/14After loosing a couple of nice Steelhead towards the end of the day, Tom Ewers stays connected with our last fish of the day.  11/11/14Todd Ewers with our first Steelhead on their two days of fishing with us on the Pere Marquette River.  11/10/14Todd Ewers with his first fall Steelhead.  11/10/14The  steelhead were not coming easy today but at the end of thd day we put five nice Steelhead to the net.  11/10/14Todd Ewers and his father Tom having a great day on the river.  11/10/14John Kirby from Cincinnati, OH as we finish our morning duck hunt and get ready to fish Steelhead in the afternoon.  11/9/14John Kirby with one out of three fish we had on in the first run.  11/9/14John Kirby enjoying another great day on the Pere Marquette River system.  11/9/14John with our largest Steelhead of the day.  11/8/14John Kirby said it best, " Pure Michigan!"  11/8/14Steelhead were on the bite and John Kirby remained dedicated to play despite the weather conditions.  11/8/14New males come in today.  11/8/14Erick Steck, switch rods, floating lines and indicator rigs.  11/7/14Bruce with his first Steelhead of the day on 11/7/14.These smaller Steelhead have the heart of lion in the way they fight.  11/7/14Bruce with the las fish to the net, but not the last fish on the end of our "switch" rods.  11/7/14Guided by Blake Roller, he adn his buddy had a pretty good day.  11/7/14Another great steelhead with the help of Pere Marquette Outfitters guide Blake Roller.  11/7/14One of six Steelhead with guide Blake Roller at the oars.  11/7/14Joy Gardner with her first Steelhead ever, she would catch an additional three more.  11/5/14Joy Gardner with her largest Steelhead of the day.  11/5/14Our last fish of the day, and Joy fought them all extremely well.  11/5/14Kurt Ieuter and his two sons, Austin (left) and Drew (right) creatng memories on the river that will last a life time.  11/5/14


November 18, 2014


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