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Fly Fishing Guides on Manistee River - Wellston Michigan

Schmidt Outfitters has seven full time fly fishing only guides and provides professional fly fishing guide services on many famous Michigan rivers and streams, including the Manistee River, Big Manistee, Little Manistee, Upper Manistee, Pine River, Pere Marquette river, Boardman, Au Sable and more. Since 1976.

Schmidt Outfitters is the choice for fly anglers looking to experience some of Michigan's finest fly fishing.

Michigan Fly Fishing Guides - Manistee River - Pine River

Ray Schmidt

Since Ray founded the company in 1976, guiding fly anglers has been a big part of his life. Ray and Angie have two children and four grandchildren. A life long resident of Northern Michigan, Ray tours the country in the off season doing educational presentations and slide shows for various fly fishing clubs and shows.

In Ray's fly fishing career, he has pioneered many of today's techniques and fly patterns. These days, Ray is busy running the business of Schmidt Outfitters and spends more time in the front of the guide boat instead of the middle (rowing).

Ray leads many groups to far-away fishing destinations:  Belize, Argentina, Chile, British Columbia, Alaska and the American West are but a few. Ray says, "I believe we have the best guide staff of any outfitter today. Our guys just do it best!"

Many anglers and guides forge relationships that last for their entire lives, sometimes the relationship is even passed from one generation to another. Why? Many believe that once the relationship is bonded, there is a special confidence that develops between the two. The angler is certain that “his" or "her" guide is simply the best and no other will do. A certain sense of familiarity exists in knowing what each other is thinking and the harmony is sometimes uncanny. This can be the way the guide moves or stops the boat, a special movement of the oars when the guide approaches a favorite spot, the increased anxiety when a “big one” is with-in range . The client just knows.

Guiding anglers is a proud profession and no one takes the job more seriously than the guide, wanting nothing more than his or her client to have enjoyed the day pursuing the fish of their dreams. At Schmidt’s we take our job as fishing guides very seriously, we want nothing more than your satisfaction.


Larry Raney

Larry is a guide, fly tyer, and casting instructor in our fly fishing schools. He specializes in spey casting and swinging wet flies.

Larry loves to chase steelhead, salmon, trout, and smallmouth. He is a long time angler in this region, and has a great deal of experience on our area's rivers and streams.

Larry also specializes in upland bird hunting and waterfowl. He spends December and January guiding in Stuttgart, Arkansas for waterfowl.

Chris Martin

Chris is a professional fly fishing guide, fly casting instructor, and fly tyer. He specializes in streamer fishing for trout and salmon.

The Pine River is one of his favorite haunts. He has guide experience in Montana. Chris has fished for tarpon, permit, and bone fish in Central America, as well as trout in South America's Patagonia region.

Cliff Buell

Cliff lives outside of Kaleva, Michigan with his wife Sarah and daughter Maraya.

Cliff has been a professional fly fishing guide since 1994, and an upland bird guide since he was a boy growing up in Iowa.

He guided in Colorado for seven years on the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork Rivers. He has an extensive knowledge of northern Michigan rivers and grouse coverts. Cliff has a passion for fishing dry flies and nymphing.

In the fall, he takes clients on Cast & Blast trips for steelhead, grouse, and woodcock with his German shorthair pointers. He is one of the school instructors as well, and enjoys teaching people of all ages--from 5 to 95!

John Gouker

John lives in Irons, Michigan with his wife Chas, his son Ajae, and two chocolate labs.

He is a lifetime angler and professional fishing guide.

Captain Bill Boynton

Bill's father introduced him to fly fishing as a young boy in Florida. He moved to northern Michigan in 1967. He started his guiding career in 1982 part-time while pursuing a career at Shell Oil. Bill came to Schmidt Outfitters in 1996 as a part-time guide for the migratory salmon and steelhead season.

He and his wife Marg live on the Big Manistee River. They have been spending the last couple of winters in Florida chasing red fish and sea trout.

Bill graduated from Sea School in Bayou La Batre, Alabama for his US Coast Guard License and has received training at the Marine Survival Training Center at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. The training included Offshore Survival. Bill is a Huron-Manistee National Forest Outfitter guide, Michigan DNR licensed, and a Michigan River Guides Association member. His captain's license has expanded his guiding to the US Coast Guard waters of the lower Big Manistee River, as well as other international waters. Bill is ready to fish carp on the TC bay or cast streamers for salmon in the fall.

He says, "There's just no greater thrill than watching a trophy fish be released to be caught again!"

Hugh Witham

Michigan resident of 35 years, Hugh Witham grew up fly fishing for smallmouth bass. Hugh took up guiding in 1996 at which time he decided to move to Interlochen where he now resides with wife Lisa and sons Patrick and Hunter.

Hugh is an FFF certified casting instructor, and brings knowledge of local rivers in his teachings. From all ages Hugh loves to see the look on the faces of beginners catching their first fish on fly rod and reel.

Brian Pitser

Brian Pitser lives with his wife Deanna and their two children Logan and Lily in the Traverse City area.

Brian is a full-time fly fishing guide and casting instructor.  This winter he also started a second career as a real estate agent with Homewaters Recreational Real Estate, specializing in river front and recreational properties.  Check out the website at Also, Brian completed US Coast Guard Training and classes for his Captain's License which will allow him to take clients on the lower parts of the rivers for migratory fish and boat guide Grand Traverse Bay for Carp and Smallmouth.

Brian enjoys all aspects of living in Northern Michigan from Upland Bird hunting, trout fishing, hiking, biking, winter sports and water sports.

He began working with Ray and Angie shortly after the shop opened in 1996, and has been with the organization in some shape or form ever since. He is glad to be a part of Schmidt Outfitters, chasing all types of fish with the fly with past clients, as well as introducing new anglers to this pursuit.

Call us today to enjoy Michigan's premier fly fishing outfitter's guide services. We have a fully stocked fly shop just a few minutes from the Manistee at Tippy Dam with a casting pond and lodging facilities as well.

Copyright 1996-2007 Schmidt Outfitters