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Riverdale outfitters

West Michigan guide service specializing in fly fishing and conventional tackle trips on the Grand, Pere Marquette, Rogue, and White Rivers. 

Whether you’re targeting a trophy steelhead, a 20-pound king salmon, or a once in a lifetime lake run brown trout, Riverdale Outfitters will do everything possible to make sure your fishing goals are met. 

With over 20-years fishing experience targeting the trout, steelhead, and salmon of Western Michigan, our expert guide Kam Zemites will do whatever it takes to make your day on the river an enjoyable one.  

Steelhead Salmon, Michigan, Fishing, Fish
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the fish

Steelhead: October through April

Great Lakes steelhead are some of the hardest fighting and acrobatic fish in North America, and Western Michigan is one of the best places to catch them. When steelhead are present in the rivers in good numbers and the water and weather conditions are right, it’s not uncommon to catch 20-30 of these chrome beauties in a day. Our steelhead average 25 to 28-inches, with some fish reaching the 36-inch range. 

Whatever your preferred technique: stripping streamers, indicator nymphing or beading, float fishing, centerpinning, or using conventional tackle Riverdale Outfitters can put you on the steelhead of a lifetime. 

King Salmon: September and October

Chinook (King) salmon are the largest migratory fish we target in Western Michigan. Kings are big, angry, and strong. They’ve been known to tire grown men out, pull people into the water, and make many scream with delight. 

Kings start to enter the area’s rivers in late August and by mid-September are plentiful in many of the tributaries we fish. 

Brown Trout: Year Round 

Brown trout were first introduced to the Pere Marquette River in 1884, and since that time they have flourished in the nutrient rich rivers and streams of Western Michigan. Earnest Hemming wrote about the trout in the legendary “holy waters” of the region for a reason, they are simply bigger in Michigan. The rivers we fish have produced several World Record holding brown trout, and no one familiar with the region’s water would be surprised if another record is broken soon. 

Besides the resident browns that live in Western Michigan tributaries year-round, we also fish for Lake Michigan run brown trout as well. These fish can be truly massive and sometimes look more like King Salmon than trout. During the fall these lake run fish come into the rivers to spawn and feed on salmon eggs and smolt. Catching a 10-pound brown trout is a fish of a lifetime for most, and something we’ve helped clients achieve numerous times. 

Rainbow Trout: Year-Round

Besides the migratory steelhead, we have a significant number of local rainbow trout that call the tributaries and lakes of the region home year-round. We target them using all manner of techniques including dry flies, streamers, nymphs, and conventional tackle. Often rainbows are a welcome accidental catch when we’re targeting salmon and steelhead. Their beauty, tendency to jump, and ferocious runs easily endear them to any angler lucky enough to tangle with them.  


Our rivers

grand river:

The Grand may be one of the most productive steelhead fisheries in the world. The Grand River annually sees huge fall, winter, and spring returns of native steelhead every year. The numbers of fish on this river can be outstanding. When the conditions are right, it’s not uncommon to have 20-30 fish days on the Grand. 

The Grand is often considered an urban steelhead fishery. Many anglers choose to fish on their lunch break in downtown Grand Rapids. However, Riverdale Outfitters prefers to focus our fishing on more scenic and less congested areas of the river. A variety of fishing tactics can be employed on the Grand River from plug fishing, spin casting, to even fly fishing. The Grand typically fishes best for steelhead from mid-October to early April. 

manistee river:

One of the best-known rivers in the Midwest, the Manistee is popular for a reason. It simply produces trip after trip, year after year. 

Salmon and steelhead are the target species here. Starting in September the Kings start moving through the river system, and we catch them primarily on crankbaits and spawn. However, stripping streamers and bouncing the bottom with flies also works great. 

In mid-October steelhead can be caught regularly, but the steelheading really gets good in mid-November here. 

Muskegon River: 

The Muskegon River is a world class fishery for numerous trout and salmon species. We fish from Newaygo all the way upstream to the Croton Dam. All of the species we fish for are present in this system steelhead, king salmon, giant brown trout, and chunky rainbows. The Muskegon is a large body of water, and techniques vary depending on target species and river location and conditions. One day you might be throwing streamers and the next rapalas might be the ticket. Be prepared for anything and be ready for some of the biggest salmonid fish in the Continental United States. 

perE marquette river:

The Pere Marquette River is always in the top 5 trout, salmon, and steelhead rivers in the Midwest. It was the first watershed in the United States to have German Brown Trout planted in it. These fish have since flourished in the environment and now naturally reproduce along with salmon and steelhead. The Pere Marquette is a popular river for fly anglers because of its smaller size for wading and casting. We fish this river both in a drift boat and on foot. The scenery is beautiful here and the fish are plentiful and wild. 

The White is a scenic northern Michigan river located about 45 minutes north of Grand Rapids Michigan. The White is home to resident brown and rainbow trout, and receives healthy runs of both salmon and steelhead. The White is smaller in size and is best accessed with a drift boat and by wading. The White river is another great river to target steelhead on the fly. The White is an excellent fishery from October to late April.

white river:

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your trip:

Every guide trip we do at Riverdale Outfitters is custom designed to provide the client with the best possible chances of success. We monitor the weather, barometric pressure, fishing reports, water conditions, and of course, migratory fish behavior to maximize the clients’ chances of connecting with numerous quality fish. 

You can bank on Riverdale Outfitters to do whatever is possible to ensure you have a fantastic day on the water. 

We recommend you bring the following: 

  • A valid Michigan Fishing License (required by law)

  • Polarized sunglasses 

  • Weather appropriate clothing 

  • Any special food or drink items you’d like

  • Insulated waterproof boots or waders

  • A camera to document your catch

Here’s what a typical float fishing trip looks like: 

  • September through mid-December we typically fish from 7 am to 3:00-3:30 pm

  • Mid-December through February we typically fish 9 am to 3:30

  • In March we usually fish 8 am to 3:00-3:30 

  • You’ll meet your guide at the designated boat launch with the boat and gear ready to go. No need for a shuttle with our Stealthcraft jetboat, we can travel the river at will 

  • We’ll fish as much and as hard as you’d like, the client sets the pace

  • 90% of our fishing is done from the boat, so you don’t have to worry about being an expert wader

  • We bring the flies, rods, reels, and any other tackle we might need

  • We provide a hot grilled lunch and drinking water on all our trips

  • We encourage our clients to protect the aquatic resource and practice catch-and-release angling with all of fish, but we do provide filleting services for those who would like to take fish home 

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Full day guide trip for 2 (6-8 hours, hot grilled lunch included): $400

Half day guide trip for 2 (3-6 hours): $250

$100 deposit is required at the time of book to hold the date.