Doing something that is different and unique from what everyone else is doing is not always easy. Carving out your own niche, especially in a copy cat industry like fly fishing, can be tough. Breaking away from the norm and creating an entirely new set of fly fishing opportunities for his clients is exactly what Kory Boozer from Boozer’s Guide Service (<–clicky clicky) is doing. When people think of fly fishing in Michigan, trout, salmon, and steelhead immediately come to mind. Likewise, floating down winding cedar lined rivers the size of a 2 lane road is the typical setting. Often overlooked are the unbelievable resources of Michigan’s larger waterways and the abundance of the Mitt’s warm water fish species.
Larger watersheds like the Kalamazoo, Grand, or St. Joe rivers can be intimidating and a daunting task to learn well enough to have success with a fly to most anglers. Spending countless days and hours on these rivers, Kory has earned a PhD in reading these larger waters, understanding where fish are, and how to best target them. He is able to show how special and beautiful these waterways are. Specializing in smallmouth, pike, and longnose gar excursions – Kory offers a unique opportunity for anyone looking for a new experience and to learn how to pursue these great but often overlooked native game fish.
A passionate teacher, Kory gets great joy out of sharing his vast experience and knowledge with fellow anglers. In addition to his prowess as a fly fishing educator, Kory is an innovative fly tier always and supremely talented photographer. Not only will you likely catch the biggest smallie or pike of your life, but you will end up with mantle place worthy photo as well.
What Rivers Do you Guide on Primarily?
Saint Joseph, Kalamazoo and Grand Rivers
What’s your favorite method of fishing to deploy when guiding?
Streamers and surface flies actively fished from a drifting boat. Fishing from an anchored boat is about as appealing to me as watching paint dry. I want to cover water and find active, hard-charging fish that want to kill a fly.
Species of fish that you guide for?
Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Longnose Gar
What’s your favorite thing about guiding?
I love getting folks into the sport and igniting a passion to enjoy and protect our wild and native natural resources. We largely live in a disposable society these days under the premise, if something breaks, you just buy another one or in our case, stock more fish. We should be more focused on enhancing our self-sustaining natural resources and better protecting what we have that can thrive here naturally. There really isn’t anything all that special about a fish raised in a raceway and put here by man. I make an honest effort not to dumb down my program, I do not believe in short cuts, I want my clients to learn to be great casters and how to work a fly properly. I take a lot of pride in my teaching abilities and truly enjoy doing it.
Favorite bank lunch to prepare for clients?
Good sandwiches, I don’t have time for a grilled shore lunch that takes an hour to prepare and eat, if you fish with me, you are here to fish, not hang out and eat…
If you could be in a band, which one would it be?
Primus… So we could play all the greatest fly fishing destinations around the globe!
Do you believe that Disney World is a people trap operated by a mouse?
Clowns and people in big animal costumes kind of freak me out, regardless of what operates Disney World, I want no part of it…
What do you believe makes a guided trip with you a unique experience?
Passion, hands down… I get more enjoyment out of teaching folks to fly fish and seeing them have a great time than I do fishing myself these days. In regards to the St. Joseph River, I was literally born & raised on the banks of this river, the sheer amount of time I have on this watershed is a huge advantage for me. Some folks go to sleep counting Sheep, I fall asleep rehearsing bottom structure and holding lies on the Joe…
What makes a good client?
Attitude! I want someone who is positive about learning and is appreciative of how much effort I put into each trip.
Have you ever pondered the fact that fish see people as aliens? We hover above their environment, in a ship and pull them from their dwellings into the sky?
Yes! This was an actual conversation a client and I had not all that long ago!
If your life was turned into a movie, who would play the part of you?
Liam Neeson! Great actor and he fly fishes!
What else would be helpful for people to know about you?
I am all about teaching folks new to the sport how to fly fish, it truly does not bother me if someone is a novice, in fact it can be a good thing as they typically do not have any bad habits to overcome. I encourage folks to bring their children as well, there are few things more rewarding to me than seeing kids enjoy the outdoors and watersheds I am so passionate about.
How does someone contact you to book a trip?
Michigan differs from most other states that have a trout oriented fishery, unlike the landlocked states of the Rocky Mountain west we are fortunate to have a migratory fishery available to us. Another often overlooked opportunity to enjoy the bountiful resources in our state is targeting warm water fish.
This year I plan to spend a considerable amount of time pursuing bass, pike, and pan fish in many of the lakes that are in my immediate geographical area. Instead of settling into the same routine of summer which is smallmouth bass fishing every weekend, I’m excited about learning something completely new and different.
I’ve made the statement several times over, that “if you put me in a lake, you might as well blindfold me because I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.” I said that to my wife not so long ago – and she surprised me with a guide that focuses solely on the lakes in our region.
Doing a fair bit of research between this guide and the internet, has more than peaked my interest this year – it has me really excited. I’m completely engulfed right now with gathering as much knowledge as possible to learn about how to fish these resources. Another exciting component is that while my normal trout/bass streamers will most likely work just fine, I have enjoyed seeking out new patterns to tie.
While I’ll always be a trout streamer and steelhead nympher first – finding a new way to further immerse myself in the sport isn’t a bad thing.