Schmidt Outfitters - The Best in Fly FIshing

Introduction to Fly Fishing Course

Students learning how to cast at the school

Anglers just venturing into fly fishing can become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that is out there. Just wandering into a bookstore or performing a casual internet search may turn up thousands of materials and articles related to fly fishing. Our Introduction to Fly Fishing School is a three-day comprehensive seminar that condenses the most important skills needed to begin fly fishing.


Our instructors will describe fly fishing and the types of fly fishing most practiced. These include dry fly fishing, nymphing, and streamer fishing. A historical view of the sport is discussed as well.

Fly Fishing Gear & Tackle

We introduce students to rods, reels, fly lines, and associated tackle. Also discussed is matching the type of fishing to the type of gear that is required.

Basic Fly Casting

This is a primer for correctly casting a fly rod and line. Casting is the heart and soul of the sport and our students will leave our program with a very good understanding of the cast. Using the ‘clock’ description and other techniques, our instructors will demonstrate the proper ways to perform roll casts, false casts, back casts, etc.


Students will learn to tie dependable knots including the blood knot (aptly named), the clinch knot, the surgeon’s knot, etc. During the knot tying portion, students will tie their own leaders that they can use to fish with.

Aquatic Entomology

To be an effective fly angler, it is important to have a good understanding of the insects that fish feed on. Anglers need to know how to “match the hatch” to make a fly selection. We cover this aspect in a practical, fun way.

Reading the Water

Deciding where to look for fish when stream angling can be overwhelming until you know how to “read” the water. Our school will cover current seams, pools, riffles, and other characteristics that correspond to finding fish.


There are certain guidelines and considerations to be followed while on the water. Our instructors will go over the simple courtesies that are important for all anglers and water-sports enthusiasts to follow.

Our Introductory Fly Fishing course has a student to instructor ratio of 3:1. We keep a low ratio to ensure that each of our students gets the proper amount of personalized attention. All students will also receive our Fly Fishing School Manual that contains all of the basic information that is covered in our schools. Students are free to take the manuals home with them.

Top Ten Reasons to Attend

  1. Experience: We have been teaching men, women, and children the art of fly fishing since the late 1970s.
  2. Location: Our fly shop, lodges, and school facilities are located in the heart of the Manistee National Forest. We are just minutes from the Manistee River, the Little Manistee River, the Pine River, Bear Creek, the Pere Marquette River, and Lake Michigan. What a great “classroom”!
  3. Lodging: All students receive lodging as part of the tuition cost of the Introductory Fly Fishing School.
  4. Instructors: FFF-certified casting instructors
  5. School Facilities: Convenient onsite classroom and private casting pond.
  6. Home Waters: Learn and fish on the legendary Manistee River.
  7. Exceptional Value: Tuition of $600 includes meals, lodging, and course materials.
  8. Equipment: All equipment including rods, reels, and lines are available to students.
  9. Personalized Instruction: One instructor for every three students.
  10. Highest Rated: Field & Stream Magazine named us the top fly fishing school in America in 2005.

How to Enroll

Enrollment in Schmidt Outfitters School programs is easy. You can call us on the phone to reserve your course date at 231-848-4191. If you prefer you can email us at [email protected] or use our contact form.

School Schedule

5:30 PM
6:30 PM
7 PM
Technical Program (Introduction to fly fishing, gear and tackle)
8:00 AM
9:00 AM
Casting Clinic
12:00 PM
12:30 PM
Technical Program (knots, leaders, flies, and fly selection)
4:00 PM
River Float Trip (Nymphs, streamers, and dry fly instruction, water-reading course, steak dinner, evening fishing)
8:00 AM
9:00 AM
Fishing Trip
1:00 PM
Lunch and Final Presentations
2:00 PM
Schools Out