Testimonials

“We kinda don’t want the secret to go too broad…but if you’ve found Will’s site, and reading this…just go!
(Plus, we’re happy to see Will grow his business with his exceptional guide skills). Our float of 8 miles or so of the Kankakee River was gorgeous, with a sublime Midwestern feel, as the water swings through cornfields into tall sedimentary cliff formations. Massive Bald Eagle sighting was a bit of a revelation. That such a wide expanse of nature preserve river is so easily accessible to Chicago, will most assuredly surprise you. Montana, ShoM-ontana…The overall fishing experience was better than you can imagine. There are a LOT of Smallmouth bass in this fishery…and swapping between big poppers and larger steamers, paid off handsomely…for some better than others….We’ll be back!”
 -Mark Osmond and Spencer Kaehler


If you are an avid, experienced fly angler or a complete beginner do yourself a favor and take a trip down the Kankakee with Captain Will. I came in for a trip with my oldest son (13) from Virginia and booked a trip a trip on a whim. I couldn’t have been happier with the experience. I was both completely thrilled with the beauty of the river and the wonderful time on the boat with Will. He is experienced, patient, and fun. Your time on the water will always be subject to the mood of the fish, but even on days like ours where the smallmouth make you work for the reward, if they are biting he will find them. I look forward to future trips out with him.
-Leo G.


"Its energizing to fish with a guide who displays genuine passion and knowledge about a venerable river like the Kankakee. Will, a consummate professional, exemplifies the best attributes you seek in a guide. I really enjoyed my day on the river with him."
- Jeff, Chicago IL





"A fantastic experience learning and having fun in a beautiful place thanks to Will's expert guidance. The guide Will combines local knowledge (born and raised in Kankakee) with world class fly fishing experience (from Montana to the Catskills) to unlock the untold fly fishing potential of the Kankakee River. In a single afternoon I improved my casting to where I finally 'got it'(!), learned lots about reading the river, techniques for working different flies, and strip and set for hooking  fish. Will provides a first class experience with excellent equipment (beauty of a boat), professionalism, and good humor. And the forest-lined riverscape and big sky are a welcome change of scene from the city. Highly recommended for beginning and experienced anglers looking for an easy day trip out of Chicago."
-Ryan Mellske, Washington, D.C.

"Will is the best! Will took me on my first fly-fishing trip. Though I was terrible and easily frustrated in my lack of abilities, Will could not have been more patient with me. It is evident that he has a passion for the sport and teaching others. Will always seems so proud of his clients with every fish caught. I'm looking forward to going out again!"
- Tracy, Chicago, IL


"I have had a fly rod in my hands for fifty years, including trips around the globe. I traveled 3 hours from Indy and had a World Class day floating on a scenic river, in a Boulder BW drift boat with an expert guide. Capt Will has a first class operation, incredible knowledge of smallmouth and a first class fishery as his personal office. He knew every inch of the river, even where we would see Mr beaver and his tail slap. More importantly he put me on to some great smallies and really knows these fish and how to break the code !! I'll be back in the spring and more before I head off to some far off, hyped up location. Thanks Will"
Mike O, Carmel, Indiana

"This was one of my first experiences fly fishing, and I couldn't have been more happy with how my trip with Big River Fly went. Captain Will was patient and very helpful in showing me the ropes. He was an amazing guide, very skilled and knowledgeable. I was amazed with how well he knew the river and all the good spots to cast. He kept us fed and hydrated the entire time, which only made the trip more enjoyable.
Everything from the Will's boat to the 18'' bass I caught, to the beautiful Kankakee river was top notch! If you're looking for a great fly fishing experience look no further than Big River Fly Fishing."
Taylor, Chicago,IL

"After having waded near bridges on the Kankakee for a few years, floating it with Will was a revelation. The river felt like another world — gorgeous and peaceful, except for the shouts of "Fish on!" and the splashes of chunky smallmouth bass leaping out of the water. Will was a great teacher to me and my son, dialed in to exactly what the fish were doing at every point. He's also a great companion for a day on the river."
- Steve Kloehn, Chicago, IL





"Will is awesome. I've known and fished with him for years... when he introduced me to the Kankakee river I was amazed that such a phenomenal fishery existed so close to Chicago. You will be hard pressed to find a fisherman or a guide who knows the Kankakee better than Will, he grew up fishing it, has logged the hours exploring, and I swear he knows where each fish lives. Expect to learn a ton and have a great time on the water."
- Graham Smith, Glen Ellyn, IL




"Will, is a knowledgeable and patient guide. Whether you're new to fly fishing or an experienced angler. He grew up on the Kankakee river and knows the river in incredible detail. He's helped me become an overall better fly fisherman from casting to fly tying."
- Brian Kreider, Chicago, IL










"A family wedding brought me to Chicago from the Cleveland area in late June. I figured prior to the Saturday wedding I would try to book a trip on the Kankakee River with Captain Will. Well, the Kankakee was at or near flood stage the day of the charter so Will suggested an alternate location in the Mazonia Fish and Wildlife Area. These are man made lakes, remnants of old strip mine operations left before land reclamation was the norm. Very deep and with crystal clear water. Although the fishing was a little slow, the weather was great and we managed to bring a fair number of small to medium bass and some nice bluegill to the boat. We saw and cast to very good bass but they weren't having any of that on this particular day. The lakes are surrounded by dense phragmite reeds and casting to the weed edges is analogous to banging mangrove edges in the Florida Keys. This is how we got into most of the bass and we could hear fish splashing back in the reeds where casting was impossible. The fish are definitely there. Will has a very nicely appointed drift boat that is very stable and makes a great casting platform. His gear is top-notch, Sage rods and Lamson reels and he brought more flies than I could lose in a week. Inspite of the slow fishing, I could not have asked for a more relaxing day on the water. Will is excellent company in the boat, knowledgeable about the area and the lakes, worked hard to get me a few fish and rowed me around for a good 9 hours. Frankly, my casting shoulder gave out before we left the water. Just what I needed to get my head right before making the trek into the city for a giant wedding. Family will bring me back to Chicago a couple times a year in the future and I definitely plan to try for another float trip on the Kankakee when water conditions are better.
Thank you, Will."
-Jim Jenkins, Willowick, OH


"Will possesses a deep knowledge of the Kankakee River, its geology and its history, and more importantly, a deep knowledge of where to find the smallmouth.
We appreciated the fact that Will individualized his on-the-water instruction to accommodate our different fly fishing skill levels and experience.
A float trip down the Kankakee provided a wonderful respite from the noise, the traffic, and the hectic pace of the city and it is only an hour's drive from Chicago."
- Robert and Lisa, Oak Park, IL