Michigan Guided Spring

Steelhead Fishing 2017



Spring Steelhead

Spring steelhead fishing 2017 in Michigan A late spring will bring Great opportunities for great steelhead & trout fishing  on the Manistee and Muskegon rivers into May.

Guided steelhead fishing allows the angler to fish the best fishing spots with the direction of a guide that is on the river everyday during the season.

Open Dates Call Today!


Winter / Early Spring Steelhead Special 

Manistee River

Nov 28 - March 10

5-6 hrs of fishing, all gear and flies provided, soft drinks, coffee, snacks

$275.00         1 or 2 anglers

*Add a 3rd angler for an extra $75.00*


Manistee River / Pere marquette River / Muskegon River

Northern Michigan's Premiere Guided Fly Fishing Service 

Located in South Boardman, Michigan and having remote locations in Baldwin, Michigan and Newaygo, Michigan gives us access to dozens of the Midwest's finest "Blue Ribbon Trout Streams." Many of these Blue Ribbon Trout Streams offer year round opportunities for the fly fishing angler. Fly fishing for salmon, trout, and steelhead on Michigan's famous tributaries , and smallmouth bass & carp on the flats of Grand Traverse Bay is what we do best. Jon's Guide Service is a full service, year round fly fishing guide service. Our Michigan fly fishing guide service offers instruction and guided fishing on Michigan's Manistee River, Pere Marquette River, Muskegon River & more such as the Betsie River and Platte river as well as the AuSable River! Jon's Guide Service provides fly fishing gear for trips and instruction on many of the major rivers in the State of Michigan, such as Winston, Sage, Simms, Cortland, Rio, SA. With a diverse set of guides located all over the state of Michigan, finding a guide for Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, or guided fly fishing on Michigan's Lake Huron and Michigan's Lake Michigan is not a problem, if booked in advance. Our fly fishing guide service and instruction are provided by FFF certified casting instructors, and guides who offer years of experience guiding Michigan rivers. Jon's Guide Service does everything it can to make your trip a fly fishing trip of a lifetime! 





 Michigan Spring Steelhead Fishing





Manistee River Guided Steelhead Fishing

Brethren, MI  

1).  Michigan spring run Steelhead.

2).   How we fish for Michigan Steelhead in the spring.

3).  What flies should I fish for spring Steelhead?

4).  When & Where to fish to increase my odds.



I have been a fishing guide in Michigan for over 30 years. Rivers such as the Pere Marquette, Manistee, AuSable and Betsie have been playgrounds and the office for many seasons.  FFF certified casting instructor, Orvis endorsed guide and school instructor, Head Guide of the largest outfitter east of the Rocky Mountains, and  fly shop owner have built years of experience in fishing & fly fishing Michigan waters and around the world. Join me and explore the great fishery and experience that Michigan rivers have to offer.

Guide / Owner Jon Kestner


Now booking trips for the 2015 - 2016 season 


How to Book A Guide Trip

Give a call or e-mail. We would be happy to talk to you about guide trip options, rivers options, fishing experience, and what experience your looking for in a guided fishing trip. Let us make your next trip one to remember for a lifetime!

Jon Kestner - Guide / Owner
5421 E. Main St.
South Boardman, MI 49680


 # (231) 590-3483



What Is The Cost?

Full Day: Cost $395.00  Guide trip for 1 or 2 people
                        8 Hrs (Meal Included - Gear Included) 


Half Day: Cost $295.00  Guide trip for 1 or 2 people
                        5 Hrs (No Meal - Gear Included)

Extra Person Rate: Extra person charge $100.00 

Winter Special: Cost $275.00  Guide trip for 1 or 2 people
                                       5 Hrs (No Meal - Gear Included) 



Michigan Fishing & River Reports:

River information


Water flow


Fishing Reports   

(Current local reports on water conditions and fishing) 

  • Manistee River -  Large tailwater river system offering Northern Michigan's largest run of Lake Michigan Steelhead.
  • Pere Marquette River - Famous midwest steelhead stream, freestone river offering great wading for spring steelhead.
  • Betsie River - Less traffic than most rivers!
  • Boardman River - walk-in trips, Urban fishery, Traverse City, MI.
  • White River - Freestone river, great spring steelhead fishing!
  • Muskegon River  - Largest run in the state, and offers great fishing well into May!

 Steelhead / Trout / Salmon / Bass / Carp

Peak Times to fish Michigan

- Upper Manistee River Early Trout Fishing

- May & June Drake hatches on the Upper Manistee, Pere Marquette, and Muskegon Rivers

- Grand Traverse Bay Smallmouth Fishing

- Carp on the Flats of Grand Traverse Bay

- June Hex & July Mouse Fishing

- September Salmon Fishing Manistee River

- Early Oct Fall Steelhead Manistee River

- Manistee, Pere Marquette & Muskegon Rivers fall & Winter Steelhead Fishing in Nov & Dec


Michigan Guided Fishing


Drift Boat & Jet Sled Trips

-Great Lunches
-Great Fish
-Great Fishing
-Great Experience




How to Rig for Steelhead

Drift Fishing / Float Fishing / Swinging Flies

Do you know your knots?

Check out this icon for info on knots



Great interviews with great fly fishermen!



Destination Travel

All Inclusive 7 day Fishing package $1795

Non Fishing All Inclusive $995



All Inclusive Fishing 7 Days Starting at $2495



Contact us for preferred group pricing!

Jon Kestner

5421 E. Main St.

South Boardman, MI 49680

 (231) 590-3483


© Copyright  2017   Jon's Guide Service



Michigan Guided

Steelhead Fishing

Over 25 years guiding Michigan Steelhead

 Steelhead Dates 2015

  • Manistee River
  • Betsie River
  • Pere marquette River
  • White River
  • Muskegon River
Taking bookings for fall steelhead season on the Manistee river.

Have a large group? Jon's Guide Service also books 7 other guides! 

Muskegon River

Steelhead Fishing

Newaygo, MI 

Pere Marquette River

Steelhead Fishing

Wahalla, MI

 Spring Steelhead

March, in the State of Michigan, starts the spring run of Steelhead. Steelhead enter local rivers from Lake Michigan and move up-stream to find the spawning grounds. The spring run provides the best number of Steelhead in the river system at any time during the year for anglers to fish. Fishing can pick up in the later portion of February if the fall Steelhead numbers were good and the weather is mild. Some of the best Steelhead action can take place before the main push of the spring run and very few people are on the river. The third week of March is what is known as the start of peak season (great fishing = good numbers of people).

The spring Steelhead run is a popular time to fish. Cabin fever has set in on most of us as anglers, and the urge to knock the dust off the rods and wet a line becomes strong. Weather can play a major role in fishing in the spring. Late winter cold fronts and strong spring warming trends play havoc on water temps. March is when fresh fish start to push into the rivers in good numbers, and by the start of April, strong numbers of fish are in the river systems and the run is in full swing. The spring run of steelhead stays strong into the first couple weeks of May on some local rivers.


How do we fish for Steelhead

There are many ways to fish for Steelhead and no better time to learn how than during the spring run. With good numbers of fish around, the odds of success are larger than any other time during the year. The techniques used vary on river conditions, the number of fish in the river, and the stage of the run, as well as the type of water we are fishing and the traffic on that water. Here are three ways that we fly fish for spring Steelhead:

Deep Water Nymphing

Commonly known as chuck-n-duck is one of the most popular ways to fish and is very productive. The use of a running or shooting line (small / level line) and isolated weight on the leader allows the angler to bounce flies along the river bottom to Steelhead. This technique is an easy method of fishing, easy to learn, and is very effective.

Floating Line / Indicator Fishing

This type of method has become more popular over the years. The casting ability of the angler, presentation, and ability to control the flyline all become factors. This technique is used often for fishing shallow runs and softer water. Fishing spring Steelhead with this method is a great way to improve knowledge of general nymphing skills.

Streamers and Sinking Lines  

This method is a mind set! Lower numbers of hook-ups, more work, and more skill is needed, but the rewards can be great! Streamer fishing during the spring can produce some great fish, improve casting skills, and give the angler a more intensive day. This type of fishing requires covering a great amount of water and lots of casts. Some of the best Trout of the season are landed during this time period using streamers.

Gear Fishing or Light Spin Tackle for Steelhead

The use of spinning gear can be very effective for steelhead. We offer guided fishing using the following techniques.

- Center pin Fishing

- Float Fishing

- Cast and retrieve

Flies for Spring Steelhead

Flies for spring Steelhead can be described in four catagories:

  • Eggs - Flies that look or imitate fish eggs.
  • Nymphs - Local aquatic insects. (Mayflies, Stone Flies, Caddis)
  • Streamers - Bait fish imitations, Salmon fry, Leeches.
  • Attractors - Bright flies, flashy, can be hot colored patterns of the above mentioned.

  • Salmon Fry Pattern

(See fly gallery for pics )

Brighter patterns and larger patterns during high water or low light can be effective. Fishing smaller patterns and matching the bio-mass of aquatic insects and natural eggs will work better during low water periods and in high sun. When fishing streamers, a rule of thumb is fish bright colors on sunny days and fish dark colors on cloudy days.


Where should I fish to have a good experience?

Fishing any popular river, you will find plenty of fellow anglers with the same cabin fever you have. Using a guide can help to get you on fish, but will most likely not get you away from all the traffic. Fishing low light conditions will increase an angler's odds during the spring run of Steelhead, fishing periods, such as early morning and towards dusk, will help your odds on busy rivers. Fishing pressure is something that comes with the sport, but how you move around traffic and the river you choose can make or break your day. Some of the best spring Steelhead fishing is in the areas mentioned below. Rivers have peak runs of fish at different times. Feel free to contact Jon's Guide Service for local info on rivers or contact your local fly shop.

  • Early Black Stone Nymph






Northern Michigan Fishing Info for Local Rivers

  • Lg Golden Stone


  • Egg Cluster Fly

  • Hex Nymph

  • Golden Stone Fly Nymph


  • Glow Bug 




  • Articulated Black Stone