Michigan Spring Steelhead Fishing

Guided Spring Steelhead Fishing




(231) 590 3483

Manistee River / Pere marquette River / Muskegon River

Northern Michigan's Premiere Guided Fly Fishing and Light Tackle 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  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 experience a  trip of a lifetime! 



 Michigan Spring Steelhead Fishing





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 and where should I fish to increase my odds?



I have been a fly fishing guide in Michigan for over twenty 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 has built years of experience in fly fishing Michigan waters and around the world. Join me and explore the great fishery and experience all that Michigan rivers have to offer.

Now booking trips for the 2014 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





What Is The Cost?

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

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

Extra Person Rate: Extra person charge $100.00


Guided Fishing Special: A Guide trip for 1 or 2 people
Cost $275.00  Add $75.00 for extra angler.
6 Hrs (No Meal) 


 Michigan Fishing Reports, River Conditions, Maps, Guided Fly Fishing in Michigan for the following Species and Rivers:

  • 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.
  • AuSable River - Lake Huron guided spring steelhead fishing
  • Betsie River - Less traffic than most rivers!
  • Boardman River - Urban fishery, Traverse City, MI.
  • White River - Freestone river, great spring steelhead fishing!
  • Muskegon River  - Largest run in the state, and offers great fishing into May!

 Steelhead / Trout / Salmon / Bass / Carp

Michigan Guided Trout Fishing


Drift Boat & Jet Sled Trips

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




Do you know your knots?

Check out this icon for info on knots


   How to Rig For Steelhead



Destination Travel

Naknek River (SW Alaska Fishing)-

June - September

Alaska fishing package $2495 all inclusive. The fishing is as good as it gets! Millions of Sockeye salmon enter the Naknek River along with big King salmon to start the season. Trophy Rainbow trout that have stayed in the river after spawning crash salmon smolts returning to Bristol Bay , and fish into the 30" range are . Char, Grayling, Dolly Varden, Northern Pike, Chum Salmon, Pink Salmon, and Silver Salmon make for a great summer! Fall on the Naknek River is hands down some of the best fishing in the world for trophy rainbows!! Located in Katmi National Park and only an hour from the famous Brooks falls and yes bears!!

All Inclusive Fishing 7 Days Starting at $2495

Early & Late season discount available


This is an all-inclusive fully guided week of fishing in Bristol Bay, Alaska. We have some of the top guides in Alaska. One of them will take you to the best fishing that the Naknek and Katmai National Park has to offer. We also include a private riverfront cabin, all food in our comfortable dining room and transportation to and from the King Salmon airport. This package includes a visit to the World Famous Brooks Falls and River to sample the great rainbow fishing and the abundant brown bear photo opportunities.


San Padro Belize -

(Bonefish, Permit, Baby Tarpon, Reef Fishing & Diving)

January - May

 Have you dreamed of visiting paradise, but didn't think you could afford it? Come away with us to the Caribbean! Belize is the perfect location that offers uninterrupted relaxation on white sand beaches, unbeatable scenery, endless exploration, authentic Caribbean cuisine, and a rich, inviting culture, all at a pricethat won't break the travel budget!

In the Caribbean, you'll discover a new way of life that is very easygoing and stress free. Take time to enjoy a sive of a lifetime at Hol Chan Reef, dance to music at Fido's, or relax in a hammock with the soft sounds of the ocean at your feet. The fishing can just be desribed as awesome!! In this tropical paradise you can escape your busy life and live by Bobby McFerrin's motto: Don't worry,be happy!

All Inclusive 7 day Fishing package $1795

Non Fishing All Inclusive $995


Hard to find a better saltwater experience!

Flats fishing for bonefish & permit



Jon Kestner

5421 E. Main St.

South Boardman, MI 49680

Phone # (231) 518-0118

Cell # (231) 590-3483


© Copyright  2014    Jon's Guide Service



Open Spring Steelhead Dates 2014

April 27,29,30

May 1,3-4,6-10

Manistee River

Steelhead Fishing

Muskegon River

Steelhead Fishing


Michigan Spring Steelhead Season

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. This season we had good numbers in the Fall, a near record winter, and a cool late spring. Some of the best Steelhead action often take place before and after the main dates 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 should remain strong into the first couple weeks of May on most local rivers in 2014.



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 fish for spring Steelhead:

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.

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.

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.



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

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


Egg Fly

Hex Nymph

Stone Fly Nymph