Mi - Manistee - 001

Mi - Manistee - 001

Not-a-pe-ka-gon // “Heads on sticks” 

Now known as the Pierre Marquette River. From ancient Indian battles (where yes, heads were placed on stakes as a warning), to black robe missionaries, Voyageurs, Logging Tycoons, Chicago gangsters and now world class fly fishing… this river has many layers both literally and figuratively.

Manistee National Forest in March is quite the test in preparedness. This past fishing trip, we did not see any skulls, but we were met with snow, sunshine, and then rain! When not dealing with unpredictable elements, we were either catching fish, or enjoying the comforts of fireside chats, hot tubs, and expertly crafted meals by Chef Jared. For the crew, it was refreshing to break the norms of our day to day hustle. Seeking a refresh, and renewal from the daily grind.  

After all. Fishing trips are made for this type of reflection. This trip in particular held special meaning for me, that I was


happy to share with the crew.  This region of Michigan is home to five generations of Stong’s, my mother’s side of the family. They are outdoorsman, strawberry farmers, engineers and naval officers. As a child, many of my Uncles and particularly my Grandpa Jack, would sweep me away to these magical forests to fish, trap and try an impart the finer parts of what it means to be a “Michigan man” to this low-lander Ohioan. :)

These types of experiences, become more than fishing. I often ask, “What do you need a reset from” - Perhaps you are in a season of goal setting, renewal, celebration?

The lodge offered the perfect vantage of nature to seek personal reflection. It overlooked the river and offered the perfect amenities to relax off the water. All of us on the trip where entrepreneurs, so in the evenings it was great to chat business, family, and future plans for all of our ventures. It was a built in think-tank... and with the help of a little whiskey, conversations and ideas were flowing.

To be certain, This is no ordinary fishing trip. Sure we caught fish, but most importantly, folks enjoyed the SPACE. Space in nature to rest, reflect, have fun! On the river, our guides Alex and Walt, pointed us to fish, and prepared hot meals on the water. We got to do a mix of fly fishing styles that were tuned for this specific stream. In between catches of steelhead, were very feisty brown trout. Great trip all around. 

We all used the time, in this special place. To reflect on what we all knew internally needs to happen next. We let the quiet of nature, yet busyiness of fly fishing activate our thoughts and helped keep our heads straight as we emerged back into civilization ;)

Next time you are out on the water, I encourage you to take some time, Circle one or two items from below. What is consuming your mind right now? Draw pictures. Jot some notes down. Take the time of “active-rest” to create the space for clarity.

  • Faith.
  • Family.
  • Business.
  • Wellness. 

Cheers and tight lines.



What folks thought:

“I went on the Steelhead trip in Michigan in March 2024. The Pere Marquette is a beautiful river, and that alone made the trip worth it. The lodge at Barothy, fishing guide, fish we caught, dinners made by the chef, hot tub, bourbon, conversation, and Steffen swag were icing on the cake. I’d jump at the chance to do another adventure curated by Andy and the Steffen team. A+ job. Worth every penny and then some.”

Austin L. Church, CMO and author

 “What a trip! Unforgettable memories have flooded my mind. Loved every moment, from catching the largest trout i've ever landed, to even when I closed my eyes amidst the pouring rain, wishing that upon opening them, I'd be greeted by sunshine and yet another leaping trout. Yet, reality remained unchanged—a relentless downpour, winds whipping, with three companions huddled in the boat hoping for Chunky Soup! Truly 1st Class from the wilderness to the food to the fish. It was for sure the refresh my soul needed”

Brett Langolf, CEO, CXG / Cinematic Storytelling


“Thanks Andy and the Steffen crew. It was a first-class trip and in my top adventure trips. The environment, the food, the business and life conversations, and learning to fly fish! I can’t wait for next year”

Rob Rosati, Founder Instant Signs & Collector of rare antiquities 



Reading next

Eye of the Cicada… Unlocking the Secrets of Cicada Fly Fishing: A Review of 'Cicada Madness' by Dave Zielinski

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