Welcome to Z Fly Fishing!
Who is Z Fly Fishing?
ZFF is a specialty guide service in Western Michigan, but even more specifically ZFF is me, Captain Matt "Z" Zudweg. My home river is West Michigan's Muskegon River, one of the greatest tailwater fisheries in the country! About a half hour drive north of Grand Rapids, the Muskegon is in essence, a giant spring creek with clear water, huge gravel bars and a very diverse insect and fish population.
Who is Matt "Z"?
Born in 1971, I have been a fishing addict since I was 8 years old. I love God, my wife, our three children and of course... fly fishing. I truly enjoy teaching the sport I am passionate about to anyone interested in learning (young or old). I am very kid friendly, meaning I don't drink, smoke or swear but I am also not offended if you do. I have been guiding since 2003 and still truly enjoy it. When I am guiding you, I don't fish... You have my full attention and I will work very hard to see that you have a great experience in my boat. You may have also noticed that one of my pages is labeled "outreach". For some time now I have been feeling led to begin a fly fishing based ministry for men. I have a desire to see that men are serving God and leading their wife and children by example. Over time, I expect to begin a sort of "destination" type trip where men can build lasting friendships centered around Christ. You can read more about me and my personal testimony at http://boneyardflygear.com/aboutus.html
Specialty guide service?
That's right, after guiding for the past 10 years, several years full time, I have developed a certain "way" I like to do things. You see, the most important thing to look for in a fishing guide is their preferred "way" of fishing, and mine has become very specific. If you're interested in fishing (or learning to fish) the same "way" that I do then you've probably found the right guide for you. If not, there are many good guides out there that you can choose from... I can even help you find the right one if it's not me.
My preferred "way"?
I certainly mean no disrespect to any other style of fishing, as I have gone through nearly every style of fishing in my life before finding the style I am most passionate about. That style is specific for each species of fish I (we) pursue so I will list them separately.
The Muskegon, or "Mighty Mo" as it is sometimes called boasts large numbers of rainbow trout and fewer (but even more prized) brown trout. A typical day in my boat trout fishing consists of swinging wet flies using a two handed "switch" rod (or a single hand rod if you wish). I do prefer switch rods though, as they are much more efficient and effective at casting distance with little effort. If you are new to switch or spey rods, I can usually get a beginner casting well within 30 minutes or so. Wet flies are fun and easy to fish and a typical day results in lots of action! The greatest part of swinging wet flies in my opinion is the take (or strike). When swinging a wet fly, the line is tight and the angler is directly connected to the fish the instant the fish bites!
Smallies have been a passion of mine since childhood. In my opinion, they are one of the greatest freshwater sporting fish in the world. They are big eaters and super strong fighters! Poppers are my favorite way to catch bass! There are very few freshwater surface takes that are as explosive as a smallmouth bass on a popper! For many years, I tied poppers commercially and as a result I figured out what makes a good popper, a great popper. If you love big bass on the surface then you're my kind of angler! Typical conditions for good popper fishing on the Muskegon occur from mid July through early September.
I have a passion for West Coast Style Swung Fly Steelhead fishing using a Spey Rod (13' to 15' 2-handed rod), and since around 2009 have only offered this style of Steelhead fishing during the fall months (mid Oct.-mid Dec.). Swinging streamers and wet flies for Steelhead (in my opinion) is the most fun and amazing way to catch a Steelhead, period! Although certainly not the most effective way to get a bite, just one Steelhead on a swung fly is well worth the effort. These trips generally book very early due to the high demand for this style of fishing so please book early.
I also offer swung fly trips in the spring, but once the snow melts and rains come the water generally rises too high for this style to be effective… when this happens we turn to switch rods (11' 2-handed rod), these rods are also cast with both hands, but are light enough to use one hand for mending line. We fish these with a strike indicator/egg/nymph rig to allow the flies to get deep/slow enough in the high water. There are certain times the water is so high/fast in the spring that we must resort to chuck-n-duck style fishing… this is generally a last resort, but a very effective one.
Recap on the best times
Trout - early May through early July.
I realize that times are tighter than usual, so I frequently offer special deals on trips. To receive these special offers please send me an email with "special deals" as the subject line. If you want to learn fly fishing or improve your current skills, I don't want a tight budget to get in your way.
Usual rates are as follows:
Places to stay
There are numerous places to stay during your visit to the Howard City/Newaygo area including economical hotels, rental cottages, b&b's and beautiful lodges right on the river. Let me know what you would like and I will give you my recommendations.
I supply all necessary rods, reels, flies, etc. and you just need a valid MI all species fishing lisence. I use the finest equipment by great companies like Mystic, Echo, Orvis, Simms and Scientific Anglers. Waders are NOT necessary as we primarily fish from the boat.
I currently use an 18 ft. Stealthcraft power drift boat. It is super safe, roomy, stable and very comfortable to fish from. I have a 25 hp outboard which allows us to cover water if necessary.
Can we keep fish?
I am very conservation minded and therefore practice catch, photograph and release fishing. The fish you release is a gift for someone else to catch, as it was for you.
For many years I have been an official guide for Feenstra Guide Service and will continue to be in that role, if you normally book me through me through FGS please continue to do so. -Thanks! I am a certied USCG Captain, insured and trained in First Aid.
How to book a trip
If you are ready to book a trip, please call (or text) me at 231.206.7660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if the date you want is available. Once we agree on a date, I require a non-refundable deposit of $100. The balance is due at the end of your trip. I gladly except cash, credit card, check or Paypal. If I need to cancel your trip due to weather, I will refund your deposit, unless we can reschedule your day (my preference).
Make a custom payment below - simply enter the amount on the paypal page that follows and click "update":
Click the link below to read a recent article by Matt Zudweg on MichiganTroutStreams.com
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All images copyright Matt Zudweg LLC 1997-2014
Mailing address: Matt Zudweg LLC
18943 Tall Timbers
Howard City, MI 49329
Web Development by Eric Schweigert
Matt Zudweg is a licensed & insured Fly Fishing Guide on Michigan's
Muskegon River specializing in trophy resident brown and rainbow trout.
Fish from a Hyde drift boat with top of the line equipment by Scott
Flyrods, Ross Reels and Orvis. Beginners will learn more from one guided
trip than years on your own. Salmon and Steelhead trips also available.