Schmidt Outfitters - The Best in Fly FIshing

Fly Fishing School - Michigan

Fly Fishing School

Fly fishing is not just our business—it’s our life. We are proud to have been ranked #1 by Field and Stream in 2006.  Schmidt Outfitters is the only midwest school with a dedicated classroom, casting pond, and lodging facilities. We are located near the Manistee and Pine Rivers in the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Michigan.

For many, fly fishing is not only a hobby, it's a passion. Anglers take their obsession all over the world, fishing flies for everything from bluegills to tarpon. With all the different types of fish to target, the different methods of presenting a fly, and the different climates to fish, fly fishing can seem very overwhelming. Schmidt Outfitters caters to anglers of all ages and experience levels. Between our knowledgeable, friendly staff, our clean and comfortable lodge, and our fully stocked fly shop, anglers will find everything they need to advance their fly fishing education.

Schmidt Outfitters offers diversified courses for every skill level. We have been teaching men, women, and children the art of fly fishing for over two decades. From a beginners’ course in trout fishing, to spey and advanced casting, to fly tying, we strive to offer a fun and engaging experience. Experienced and seasoned by years of on-the-water instruction as professional fly fishing guides, our school staff has the skill and versatility to teach students at all levels.

School facilitiesYou won’t find any hidden expenses in our programs. Our schools focus on teaching students, not selling gear. Schools at Schmidt Outfitters are all-inclusive: we include meals, lodging, and instruction. We provide all the equipment needed including rods, reels, and lines from a variety of manufacturers.

Instruction is a major part of our guide service, with everyone from beginners to advanced anglers finding benefit.  We offer a comprehensive beginner fly fishing school that focuses heavily on the basics of fly fishing including knot tying, basic casting techniques on our private pond, building leaders, equipment (rods, reels, lines), and of course, fishing. This school is perfect for those who may have only limited knowledge of fly fishing or for those who have never fished before.

For those who have a basic understanding of fly fishing, but want to learn more advanced techniques, our staff is perfectly suited. Whether it's advanced casting, spey, or switch rod techniques, nymphing, dry fly, streamer, or indicator fishing, our experienced guide staff teach it all. We offer personalized schools based upon the anglers' experience level, and keep our angler to guide ratio at 2:1 so that each participant gets as much one on one time as possible. Anglers walk away from our schools and guide trips with a knowledge base that will allow them to fish on their own immediately.

Here at Schmidt Outfitters, we have built extensive custom school facilities designed to maximize your experience at our fly fishing school. Review our lodging facilities, school location, and Manistee area attractions, meet our dedicated staff and Guides / Instructors, and come join us for a Pure Michigan experience in the heart of the Huron-Manistee National Forest. Contact us now to reserve your space.

Unlock the Secrets of Fly Fishing

Even the most seasoned and experienced anglers will never unlock all of the secrets of fly fishing. Trying to master the arts of fly selection, presentation, casting, and water-reading, as well as learning fish habits, insect hatches, selection and care of equipment can be very intimidating for novices and veteran anglers alike. We cover all of these subjects in a fun, patient way.

Fly Fishing School Courses


  • Professional Fly Tying School- per student includes lunch and materials
  • Special Programs- Usually $1,000 per student, prices vary with guest instructors. 
  • Youth Fly Fishing School- FREE with advanced registration. Our 2015 Youth School is scheduled for August 8. Call the fly shop to register your child or grandchild. The importance of teaching our youth to fly fish cannot be overstated.
  • Fly Tying Schools- $90.00 All day class (8hrs) includes lunch, materials and professional instructors. Maximum of 4 tiers per instructor, 8 students maximum.
  • Switch Rod School - $700 per student. Limited to 6 students. Includes meals, double-occupancy lodging, and instruction.
  • We offer individual lessons for fly casting including Spey casting. Our day rate is $395 for one or two students. Our hourly rate is $50 for one or two students.  Individual lessons can be arranged anytime, simply call for a reservation with one of our instructors.
  • Private Introduction to Fly Fishing Schools. $800 for one or two anglers. This school can be scheduled for any time during the summer. The cost includes two days of instruction with lunch, two nights lodging, and use of equipment.
  • Bob Clouser Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing School. (Video) The cost is $1,000 and includes one day of instruction with Bob, two guided fishing days, all meals, and three days lodging. Our 2015 school is scheduled on May 29, 30, 31. Call us today to make your reservation. 231-848-4191
  • Linda Heller of Clouser Fly Fishing and the Temple Fork Advisory Staff will be teaching her Women's Fly Fishing School here at Schmidt Outfitters on June 5, 6, and 7. This is available for anglers of all skill levels. One full day of instruction, two guided fishing days, all meals, and three days of lodging are included for $1,000. Call us today to make your reservation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are women welcome? Yes, approximately 40% of our students are women.

How does the double occupancy work with a mixed crowd? We team up couples, men and women. Our lodging facility accomodates a mixed crowd with private bedrooms for guests.

Are children welcome? Yes, we encourage parents and grandparents to enroll youth with them. We would suggest starting kids at about age 12 in fly fishing, earlier if the child is asking to do so.

Do you do private classes for groups or family? Yes, beside the schedule you see here we are always open for private programs.

Please excuse our website mess! We are currently working on an updated website to meet all of your fishing needs! Up to date fishing reports, online lodging reservations, online fly shop, and more! Soon when you click on the Schmidt website it will automatically redirect you to our fresh new D-Loop Website! Please visit us out on Facebook and Instagram for current news, reports, and of course good ol' grip and grins! Thanks for your support through our growing pains! Dave and Amy Barkman (231) 848- 4191