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About Schmidt Outfitters
Schmidt Outfitters is a full service fly fishing and upland bird hunting outfitter with seven full-time guides to operate its guide service and award-winning fly fishing school. We are a privately owned operation in business since 1976.
We operate a full service fly fishing shop, known for its specialty flies and goods, that attracts folks from around the country. Customers visting our area to enjoy our incredible fishery can take advantage of our guide services and lodging facilities. Our lodging has gained a reputation of impeccable cleanliness and secluded outdoor atmosphere here in Wellston, MI.
In addition, we also operate a fly fishing travel service for anglers looking for adventure travel opportunities.
Ray and Angie Schmidt started Schmidt’s in 1976. The company began as a multi-faceted operation. Ray guided fly anglers and sold fly fishing products around the mid-western and eastern United States. Angie tied flies commercially for many fly shops as well as the Schmidt’s guide operation.
In the mid 1980’s Ray sold the sales side of the business to pursue full time guiding and outfitting. Business grew quite rapidly as Ray developed many of the fly fishing steelhead standards that are used today. The guide service gained national acclaim when Ray was named one of the top ten guides in the U.S. by Fly Rod and Reel magazine in 1989.
In 1995 Schmidt’s opened a full service fly shop and lodge to house the growing customer list. In 2000 the fly shop expanded its floor space and an additional lodge was constructed to accommodate the growing business.
In 2006 we added a new conference / education center for the use by our students and those attending special events hosted at our facilities.
Ray Schmidt / Founder
Ray Schmidt has spent his entire life in Northern Michigan and comes from a family with a long fly fishing history. As a young boy, Ray tied flies at the knee of his Uncle Clarence Roberts, a famous Grayling, Michigan fly tyer and conservation officer. Following family tradition, Ray has pioneered many of today's techniques and fly patterns and is an active conservationist, serving on several restoration committees and spearheading projects to enhance river habitat in Michigan.
Since Ray founded the company in 1976, guiding fly anglers has been a big part of his life. Today, Ray leads many groups to far off fishing destinations such as Belize, Argentina, Chile, British Columbia, Alaska and the American West. In the off season, he tours the country giving presentations and slide shows at various clubs and fly fishing shows.
Ray is an expert on casting and when The Federation of Fly Fishers started their Certified Casting Instructor program, Ray was selected to the advisory board.
Ray and his wife Angie have a son and daughter and four grandchildren.
Angie Schmidt / Backbone of Schmidt Outfitters
For Angie, having worked side by side with Ray for 37 years, running the fly shop and lodging while Ray guided seemed the natural thing to do. Angie managed the shop, lodging, and finances, and tied flies. The company grew and employees were hired. Angie's time in the shop slowly decreased. Now she spends most of her day at the computer taking care of the finances for the three entities of Schmidt Outfitters. This leaves her more time to spend with her children, grandchildren, and two cocker spaniels (featured below.)
Angie is a sun worshipper and enjoys the beaches of Lake Michigan with her grandchildren. She loves to spend an afternoon in the boat on the Big Manistee with Ray and the dogs. She enjoys traveling, reading, and playing pool. She is a fair weather fisherman but also loves a cold, still winter morning on the river. Angie has made eight trips to Belize enjoying the sun, reading by the pool, and developing friendships with clients and the people of Belize. Angie has fished the rivers in the area and the Big Wood, Little Wood, and Spring Creek in Ketchum and Sun Valley, Idaho.
Fly Shop Staff/Guide
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.
John also guides on the river to keep in touch with the new gear and conditions.
Jim Haeck / Shop Staff
Jim spent 32 years teaching and coaching in the Flint, MI area. He is a life member of both Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers.
He began working for Schmidt Outfitters in the fall of 2000, although he has been fishing with Ray Schmidt for about 30 years. Jim spends spring and fall in the fly shop answering the phone, giving fishing advice, and keeping the rest of the staff in line.
He has fished parts of the American West since 1969, and truly enjoys fishing the Madison River and various streams in Yellowstone National Park. Swinging soft hackle flies either on a single-handed rod or with a spey rod are his favorite ways of fly fishing.
When he is not fishing, he enjoys teaching kids to tie flies, build rods, and hone their casting. Jim has been a rod building instructor for the Brotherhood of the Junglecock for the last 13 years.
Amy MacEachern / Shop Staff
Amy is a full time staff member of Schmidt Outfitters, and has worked here for 5 years. She is head housekeeper, making sure our rooms are clean and fresh for our guests. In addition to housekeeping duties, Amy is our webmaster, a full time job in itself. Amy is quite simply the busiest person here.
Fairly new to fly fishing, Amy enjoys presenting dry flies to brown trout. Jim Haeck, fly shop guy, is teaching her to tie flies. The guides also spend time helping her perfect her cast.
Amy lives in Wellston with her dog, Gertie. She has lived in northern Michigan her entire life, but spent a few months in Germany as an exchange student when she was in high school. She's completed several years in college, including web based educational subjects. Her free time is spent hiking the Manistee River Trail and North Country Trail with her dog, as well as reading and sometimes fishing.
Looking for our Guide Staff? They have thier own page here > Michigan Fishing Guides