Guide Spotlight – Kevin Morlock

I’m guessing over 18 years ago, I met Kevin Morlock the proprietor of Indigo Guides Service.  He was doing something that only a small percentage of guides do, he was DONATING a trip to the Federation of Fly Fishers.  I won the auction and later that fall we set a date for a salmon trip on the Pere Marquette River on the west side of Michigan.  I caught salmon and got my first salmon fishing tip – a 5 weight rod fly rod won’t last the first hook up on a King.

Before I get to far into this Spotlight, I highly recommend Kevin, he is the definition of a Professional Guide.  You can contact him at this link ->Indigo Guide Service.

first salmon with kevin morlock
so long ago i still had hair – first salmon with kevin morlock

I couldn’t even guess the number of days Kevin and I have spent in a boat together.  We’ve caught Salmon, Steelhead, Trout, Smallmouth Bass and tried for 3 days to hook into some monster carp on lake Michigan.  I can call Kevin a friend, I’ve broken bread with his wife and daughter.  He’s taught me so much, I think he can read my mind at this point.  He senses my frustration and still finds ways to improve my horrible cast.

interviewing kevin morlock
interviewing kevin morlock

So, what does Kevin guide for?

You could say he’s a professor of things that swim.  With +22 years as a full time Kevin has weathered the ups and downs of the fly fishing industry.  Although his preferred method is tossing flies, he’s setup up for almost any method of netting fish.  His home water is a mere minute or two from the Pere Marquette River  (PM) with wild steelhead and massive king salmon.

  • March to June he guides the PM and lower Manistee for trout and steelhead.  I caught my first steelhead with Kevin, I can still remember the thrill of hooking into that silver bullet.  That fish put me on a mission to hone my river fishing skills.  I still suffer cold spring rivers for a chance to touch some Michigan Chrome.  Kevin has an amazing collection of fly recipes, but one of my personal favorites is the Glow Nuke Egg – link to recipe.
  • June to August he can be found on the flats of Beaver Island on Lake Michigan’s crystal clear waters chasing monster carp.

Fly fishing for carp has exploded in the last 10 years and Kevin was in the forefront of chasing these wary adversaries.  Nicknamed “golden bones” carp are a tough fish to catch.  Smart and easily spooked carp require accurate well timed casts, much like saltwater fishing.? Prime weekends fishing with Kevin can meaning waiting a year.  Famous for a couple proven carp flies like Carp Breakfast – link to recipe and the Craw Bunny–  link to recipe.  Kevin’s depth of knowledge regarding these rubber lipped minnows is immense.

  • September to December has Kevin back on his home waters the PM and Manistee for salmon, trout and the occasional steelhead.  Broken tackle and long days with few breaks mark a good fall season.  This interview took place on a beautiful October day plying the lower PM swinging for steelhead.
  • January and Feburary has Kevin chasing BULL REDS and Black Drum in Houma, LA.  Cameron Mortenson did an amazing write up on his trip with Kevin.  You can read and see some amazing pictures here -> Scenes From The Lousiana March – Un

So, what is a typical trip with Kevin like?

Always prompt with gear ready and food available.  Fond memories are of the food Kevin treats his clients.  Warm sweet rolls hot off the grill with coffee for a mid-morning treat, grilled bbq chicken with fresh veggies or fresh brats with grilled onions and baked beans.  Dang my mouth is watering thinking about meals sitting in the boat as the water flows by.

Fly Fishing with Kevin Morlock
Fly Fishing with Kevin Morlock

All gear and terminal tackle is included on an outing with Kevin.  I often don’t bring any gear knowing I’ll be setup with the right rods and line for the type of fishing we’ll be doing.  All flies are include unlike many guides where an added fee is included.  An interesting thing Kevin told me that a typical steelhead outing using nymphs and other bottom bouncing flies can mean 25 rigs lost to logs and trees.  Kevin guides from a Stealth Craft drift boat which has been gaining popularity with guides for being so comfortable for clients.  Stealth Craft is a big, stable drift boat.  As a client you’ll be amazed at how roomy and comfortable they are, have no fear if your a little older and want a stable trip.

Some conversation tidbits with Kevin

When asked what his bucket list trip would be he initially said fishing for permit because folks said that’s what he should try.  I told him that was lame and asked what his bucket list trip would be and found out he would like to hike El Camino de Santiago.  Which is a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James in Spain.

trial to St James
trial to St James

Favorite season to guide – The Fall.  I’m with Kevin on this.  With an office chair in a drift boat gliding by Michigan’s amazing fall colors, I can’t think of a better place to be.

How do you know when you’ve had a good guiding trip  Return customers are a clients vote on whether the trip has been good.  Knowing that Kevin Morlock is a busy guide, because of all the returning clients is a vote of confidence.

Your favorite movie – “Forrest Gump”

A closing thought – from Kevin

“Let the fish happen, enjoy the company, the place and the moment.  Fly fishing is about the journey.”

Find Kevin Morlock at Indigo Guide Service and his blog Third Coast Fly.

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