Evart charter fisherman enjoying his work

EVART — Steve Emery has lived in the Evart area for almost 30 years and loves the hunting and fishing opportunities.

That love has translated into a fishing guide business.

He was born in Charlevoix and his family moved to Indiana. Emery was married when he was 19 and later decided to move back to Michigan and started working at Pineview Homes in Evart. He worked there for more than 26 years.

As his family grew, Emery continued his career in child care and eventually became a counselor. He decided to change careers and three years ago got connected with a friend who was delivering mini-barns for the Amish.

“He was expanding his business and wanted to know if I wanted to come drive for him,” Emery said. “I normally started in April and run through the summer and we’re getting ready to close up shop.”

When that happens, Emery puts on his fishing guide outfit.

“My main focus as a guide for fishing is steelhead, winter steelhead,” Emery said “It’s perfect for that. When the weather goes bad, and we’re done hauling I get on the boat and run it all winter.”

Emery runs Full of Hope Charters and has had it since 2004.

“I started on my own,” he said. “I love fishing. At the time it started as a hobby. I didn’t need to make money. I didn’t push it hard. I didn’t do a lot of trips early on.”

He went through the learning process as he eventually chartered through the fall and winter.

“I start a couple of days a week the middle of August and run through the end of September. I’ll fish the lower stretch of the river for the most part for the early salmon,” he said. “Once they get on their beds, I’m usually done with salmon.”

Lake Manistee and the Big Manistee river areas are favorite spots.

“When the steelhead come in the fall...I don’t start steelheading until December,” Emery said. “I launch at Tippy Dam and go down. I run all the way though the end of March and early part of April.”

Emery usually prefers fishing with a bobber.

He has a base of around 50 clients.

“I try to run at least two or three trips a week through the winter and I’ll average around 30 trips,” he said. “I really don’t care to do a lot more than that.”

Most of his clients live within Michigan. He gets most of them through personal reference.

“We had a really good year last year guiding for steelhead and I’m hoping this year will be the same,” he said.

Emery calls the smallmouth fisheries in the Muskegon River “amazing,” He likes smallmouth fishing on his personal time and doesn’t guide for it.

Emery also does some hunting, especially for the bow season. He’s impressed with the local deer population.“I’m excited with the antler restrictions,” he said. “Give it a couple of years and this area will see bigger bucks being harvested.”