Grand Rapids Location
Grand Rapids Fly Shop Staff
Erich Gross - [email protected]
Justin Wegner - [email protected]
I grew up in Michigan and have been enthralled with fishing for as long as I can remember. Summers spent at our family cabin on the Little Manistee River fostered my love for flowing water, trout, and anadromous fish. My Grandpa first introduced me to fly fishing in my early teens, and I never looked back.
Swinging flies for steelhead is by far my favorite type of fishing, but I am also an avid trout fisherman and I love chasing hatches in the summer and streamer fishing in the spring and fall.
My passion for fly fishing and the outdoors inspired my field of study at GVSU. I got my bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management, and I am currently finishing a master’s degree in Biology. My master's research focused on Brook Trout movement and habitat use.
I fish all over West and Northern Michigan, there are so many incredible opportunities in this state, and so many rivers to fish I could never choose one.
I began fishing as a toddler in Pennsylvania where I grew up. As a teenager, my grandfather purchased me my first fly rod as a gift, and I haven’t been able to put it down since. As I got older, I continually found myself wondering what was going on in the streams and rivers around me. This drove me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, and a graduate degree in aquatic resources from GVSU here in West Michigan. As a student, I was lucky enough to study salmon in Alaska, and spend countless hours throughout Michigan studying streams, bugs, and all things trouty.
I’ll fish for just about anything that will eat the fly at the end of my line, but trout are definitely my greatest passion. I’ve grown very fond of European style nymphing techniques, and I live for summer nights chasing big browns sipping big bugs in the dark. Something about not knowing what will end up on my line while I’m nymphing or fishing at night makes it fun for me.
If I had to choose one river to fish for a day, it would be a coin flip between the Pere Marquette and the Upper Manistee. Both rivers are extremely unique and present so many challenges.
I love talking fishing and seeing the joy that others get when they catch fish. I hope to see you in the shop or on the river! Chances are, my retriever Cortland will be with me, Just be careful she doesn’t lick you to death!
From my days of catching carp and smallmouth in various waters surrounding the Flint, MI area with my father, freshwater angling has always been a huge part of my life. It wasn’t until I moved to Grand Rapids in the spring of 2010 that I realized how incredibly fascinating trout fishing really was.
We are extremely lucky to have a large number of cold water rivers, streams, and tributaries within close proximity to Grand Rapids. But I think what makes West Michigan so exciting to many anglers is the friendly, tight-knit community that exists on the stream and inside the fly shop.
Throughout the year I can be found fishing rivers like the Muskegon, Manistee, Au Sable and Pere Marquette. Not to mention any and every small creek and tributary that looks “fishy”. I love to explore and employ new methods, tactics, bugs, etc, to each and every moment I spend on the stream.
The best advice I could give to a new angler is to always keep an open mind - those who are willing to slow down, make mistakes, listen and be patient will learn the fastest.
I started out fly fishing at the age of 13. I grew up learning how to fish on the East Side of Michigan on Paint Creek and the Clinton River for steelhead, trout and anything else that would bite a fly. I was fortunate to have some great mentors who brought me into this wild addiction of fly fishing. I was lucky enough to move to West Michigan after completing my BSN in Nursing at Michigan State University. If I am not working at the hospital you can find me in the shop or on a river.
I have fished all over the country primarily for trout and steelhead. I thoroughly enjoy fishing for all species of fish on a fly rod. If I had to pick my favorite way to fish it would have to be swinging flies for steelhead. There is nothing like a grab on a swung fly! It is by far the most rewarding and exciting way to fish, and there are endless opportunities to accomplish this in our great state.
My favorite river to fish is the Muskegon in my Stealthcraft ATB. I also love to spend time on the Grand, Rogue, Pere Marquette, Manistee or AuSable.