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Experts On The Water. And In The Field.

2022 Guide and Rates:

Due to rising gas prices and other expenses, 2022 guide rates are subject to change. 

Peak Season  (June) Full Day ( Brown Drakes, Hex) $500 (One or two anglers)

Full Day Float – $475 (two anglers) $450 (one angler) includes lunch or dinner.

Half-Day Guide – $375 (one or two anglers)

Mouse Fishing – Half Day – $425

Full-Day Upland Bird Hunt –  $495 (One or two hunters)

A $100 Fee is Charged for trips canceling less than 5 days from scheduled float. Trips canceled within 24 hours are charged the full rate. 

Our team of licensed and experienced local guides has fished the many rivers and lakes of northern Michigan. And our upland hunting guides, along with their highly trained bird dogs, will provide you an unparalleled hunting experience in the north woods.

They know when the mayflies are going to dance on top of the water even before the mayflies do. And they know when the woodcock are migrating and where the grouse are hiding.

We offer both full and ½ day guided fly fishing trips from a traditional drift boat or a classic Au Sable longboat, comprehensive fly fishing schools and casting lessons – for anglers interested in learning how to successfully fly fish or for advanced fly fisherman looking to fine-tune their skills. Full and ½ day wade trips are also available.

In the fall, we offer full and ½ day upland hunting trips for grouse and woodcock.

Delicious shore and river lunches are available from simple handmade wraps to deluxe charcuterie boards with assorted cheeses, meats, fruits and veggies.

Dave McCool

Director

david@northbranchoutingclub.com

David is an avid sportsman with over 20 years of experience developing and operating outdoor programs, including private fishing and hunting expeditions.

David got his start in the marketing industry and after a few years, transitioned from the ad world to his real passion – the outdoor world – establishing and operating his own business, McCool Outdoor. David later became Director of Instruction for Orvis Michigan, the company’s tenth corporate fly-fishing school in the nation. At NBOC, David is responsible for overseeing operations, supervising guided tours and managing the fly shop. He is certified as a fly casting instructor by the International Federation of Fly Fishers and is active in land and cold-water resource protection efforts, having serving with the Grand Traverse Conservation District and on Trout Unlimited’s First Cast Program. David is also a distinguished upland guide with over 40 years of experience.

David is excited and committed to offering his vast knowledge and resources to every guest, ensuring that your experience at the NBOC is enjoyable and successful.

Jeff  “Bear” Andrews

Fly Fishing Guide

Michigan native Jeff “Bear” Andrews is a fly fishing aficionado, having caught his first trout on a fly rod at age 7 on Hunt Creek in Northern Michigan. Bear started tying his own flies while in high school and while attending Northern Michigan University studying Fisheries and Wildlife Management, he spent most of his spare time fishing surrounding streams of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  In 1977, he started his professional career in the fly-fishing industry opening his own business, Bear’s Fly Shop.  Shortly after opening, he began tying flies commercially and produced as many as 2,000 dozen per year. In the early 1990’s, Bear joined Umpqua Feather Merchants as a fly designer and he continues to contribute patterns to them today.

Bear has traveled throughout the United States and Europe demonstrating his tying skills at numerous Fly Fishing shows. For over 20 years, Bear penned a column for Michigan Out Of Doors magazine called “The Fly Box” sharing his tying knowledge and expertise to its readers.  Plus, he has produced five different fly-tying instructional videos.  As an angler Bear, has fished throughout the United States, Canada, Central America and Europe for various fresh and saltwater species. Leading groups to diverse destinations, including one of his favorite spots in Labrador has enabled him to set 3 IGFA world records for Brook Trout.

As a guide in Michigan, Bear targets trout, steelhead, smallmouth bass, salmon and carp.

John “Copper” Nagel

Fly Fishing & Bird Hunting Guide

John’s love of fly-fishing began at the age of nine when he was gifted his first fly rod and took to chasing panfish and bass while on family fishing trips to Canada. He would quickly graduate to trout in the limestone spring creeks of Pennsylvania and to steelhead in the Great Lakes tributaries. While an exchange student at UNC Asheville, he fished the mountain streams of North Carolina and tailwaters of Tennessee. In the summers, before graduating from Kent State University, John guided in Colorado and Alaska, honing his skills on western trout.

While those adventures were great experiences, John’s passion for the pursuit of trout and grouse eventually led him to settle in Northern Michigan with his English setter, Woodrow. John is particularly drawn to the Au Sable for its fabled hatches and legendary night fishing opportunities as well as its rich sporting history. John runs a classic 24-foot cedar Au Sable boat built by Billy Lowes as well as a drift boat.

This year will be John’s 10th season guiding and sixth year at North Branch Outing Club where he plans to continue the sporting traditions that have been a part of NBOC for the past 100 years.

Ethan Berger

Fly Fishing & Bird Hunting Guide

Born and raised in Michigan, Ethan was never far from a body of water where he could wet a line. After school, on weekends and during summer breaks you’d find Ethan exploring the woods and waters near his home.  He picked up a fly rod for the first time in his late teens.  Coming from a conventional tackle background, it was not an easy transition, but he quickly became obsessed with fly-fishing, eventually selling off all of his conventional gear and trading it for feathered hooks. As a kid, Ethan was also fortunate to have friends and family members that had bird dogs, introducing him to the world of bird hunting. Today, Ethan has two bird dogs in his family, a German Shorthaired Pointer and an English Setter.  In the fall and early winter, you will him walking behind his beloved dogs in search of grouse and woodcock.

Ethan started guiding 4 years ago, spending a summer in Alaska guiding on the Mulchatna River and its tributaries.  In Michigan, he focuses his guiding on the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers, either floating in a drift boat or an Au Sable River boat in search of Brown, Brook and Rainbow Trout.  As a guide, Ethan is first and foremost a teacher. “If you don’t walk away being able to say you’ve learned something, the guide has failed you, in my opinion.  Whether it’s a bird hunting trip or a fly fishing float, there is always something to learn, no matter how long you’ve been participating in the sport”.

In Ethan’s off time you’ll find him running his dogs, somewhere on the water fishing or riding his motorcycle.

Dale Gray

Bird Hunting Guide

Dale is an ardent upland bird hunter and guide. Growing up hunting the fields of Iowa in the Midwest, Dale has experience with most upland bird species from pheasant and quail to grouse and woodcock. Dale has spent the last 30 plus years chasing grouse and woodcock in northern Michigan. His hunting dog of choice has been German Shorthair Pointers, however, he is comfortable with his clients bringing their own hunting dogs, whether beginners or experienced.

As a hunting guide, Dale is very comfortable in the field or woods. He has been with The North Branch Outing Club for the past 11 years providing his knowledge and expertise in all aspects of hunting, guns and dogs. “Our goal here at NBOC is to provide a truly memorable experience in the grouse woods. The woods, fine dogs, fine guns, great conversations and opportunity are what make hunting here at NBOC so memorable.”

Dale is a member of the Ruffed Grouse Society, has been featured on such outdoor shows as the “Flush” and volunteers his time to judge field trials for the Ruff Grouse Society.

Dell Whitman

Gunsmith, Gun Fitter & Bird Hunting Guide

Dell grew up in southern Minnesota and during his youth spent a lot of time in northern Minnesota hunting and fishing. It was this magical time on the water and in the woods that would develop his passion for the outdoors and steer his career path. In 1998 Dell attended Pine Technical College, earning a degree in gunsmithing under the tutelage of the America Master gun maker, Bruce LePage. Upon graduation, the British gunmaker John Rigby & Co. in Paso Robles, California, hired Dell. At Rigby’s, he honed his gun-making skills working with American, Continental European and British gun makers in stocking action work, barrel making and stock building. Dell moved to Traverse City, Michigan in 2002 and became the in-house gunsmith for Fieldsport, doing stock alterations, custom work and gun repairs. After a couple of years, Dell moved to Lake Ann. Michigan and set up his own gun shop, specializing in gun fitting, stock making, stock alteration and restoration of fine shotguns.

Dell is an upland bird hunting enthusiast, focusing mainly on grouse and woodcock, while also pursuing western and southwestern upland birds. He trains his own bird dogs and owns both flushing and pointing dogs, including a French Brittany and a field-bred English Cocker Spaniel. Dell is an Orvis pro staff and a technical writer for Shooting Sportsman magazine. Dell enjoys camping, fishing, gardening, beekeeping and shooting 28 GA and 410 GA shotguns.

Kevin Gillespie

Consultant

Kevin is a true outdoorsman and 33 year veteran of the advertising and marketing industry. Kevin began his career at Doner in Detroit in 1988, where he created award-winning campaigns for B.F. Goodrich, IAMS Pet Food, British Petroleum, Greater Michigan Ford, Meijer, Chiquita, and Vernors. In 1994, Kevin left the city for the wilds of northern Michigan and joined The Century Group in Traverse City, developing creative for Chrysler/Jeep, Magellan GPS, Orvis, Motorola, and Daiwa Fishing Products. Since 2003, Kevin has served as principal and creative director for Greenlight Marketing, located in downtown Traverse City.

In his spare time, Kevin can be found fishing, hunting and trapping nearly anything that’s in season on his property near the Fence River, in Michigan’s upper peninsula.  Simply put, if Kevin didn’t have to come inside to eat, sleep and change his socks occasionally, he’d live outdoors. Kevin is a past national board member of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA).