This past weekend, my fishing partner and I had a chance to fish the Muskegon River with Local Artist, Brother in Christ and Guide Matt Zudweg. A family man who loves his job and the people he meets, Matt is sure to make your experience enjoyable a day on the river and he is a great cook. My buddy John and I have been looking forward to this trip for a month and the time had finally come, after eating White Castles and a few wrong turns we arrive in Newyago, MI and overnight at the Riverside Resort a log cabin style lodge with a laid back country decor to match the unique owner Candy we had no idea what the next day would bring.
That next morning, 6:45am on the dot, we were greeted by Matt , he loaded up our rods and headed to the put -in. The Muskegon River is a wide western style river with a classic river, run pool set up. 60 miles to Lake Michigan, the Muskegon is home to some of the finest Michigan fishing all year round. Trout in the spring, Bass in the summer and Lake run Browns, Kings and Rainbows (Steelhead) in the fall and winter. Being a seasoned angler, I had no clue what it was like catch a Steelhead on a swung fly, let alone catch a Steelhead.
The sun barely came up that day, with a whopping 40 degrees in the air, it was sure going to be a long day. Not phased by the temperature, Matt began to set us up with a spey rod and rig designed for the Muskegon and swinging large flies. Due to the water level being low, we stuck to deeper pools that would carry fish and concentrated on working the pool throughly and efficient to have an opportunity to catch a Steelhead. Matt seemed to know exactly the point when the fish would strike, when it was best to leave your flies hang for a bit and exactly how the fish would take the fly. (WARNING: IF YOU HAVENT CAUGHT A STEELHEAD LET ALONE ON A SWUNG FLY , THIS IS A MUST.) Working our way down a few pools, I hear Matt say “Where are you Mr. Steelhead?” and a chuckle to follow. We work our way down the Mighty Muskegon and sit on a hole, and within 15 minutes, the fight was on. Matt must of made a phone call to Mr. Steelhead that morning.
Swinging a fly for Steelhead and catching my first Steelhead was an experience I will never forget. The classic take described by Matt, not to set the hook at first bite, and that you will know when the fish in hooked 100%. Makes me want to relieve that feeling again, along with having Matt’s Steak Sandwich and Grilled Pineapple Riverside. More in on Matt or my trip please feel free to visit the following links.