Michael Williams studied Art Education at Michigan State University and has been teaching 6th-12th Grade Art and U.S. History for the past 15 years. Once he began his teaching career, his art projects included requests from friends and colleagues at school, project examples for students, and t-shirt designs for various clubs and organizations.
It wasn’t until one of his students recently asked him to help draw a Rapala that he really started to pursue art for himself again. “I found that I really had a great time with not only the process of creating these images, but also sharing my work with others, which was something I typically didn’t care to do. My classroom and kitchen table became littered with drawings of my favorite flies and lures, covered in Sharpies and watercolors.”
His love for fishing and art really started at about the same time in his life, “My great grandpa and mom fostered my love for drawing and my grandpa Jack introduced me to my love of fishing. I became obsessed with fishing at the age of 7 when I took a trip to a family cabin in Ontario, chasing Pink Salmon and Brook Trout.”
His love of fishing has since grown into a year-round pursuit of steelhead, kings and browns with a close-knit group of friends who have the same love of the river.
Williams has spent the past 26 years fishing the Big Two Hearted River, still with his 80-year-old grandpa in tow. Michael explains, “Being surrounded by the beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, enjoying my grandpa’s stories of the river and the fish, and appreciating the walls of a green 1960 GMC school bus that was our fish camp, will always feel like home.” Now living in Oscoda, Michigan for the past 10 years, he spends most of his time on the hallowed Au Sable River and the rivers of North-East Michigan.
“I would have never imagined that a few doodles for my personal enjoyment, would lead to the creation of stickers for anglers, and ultimately so many great conversations and opportunities. For this, I have to thank my friends and family, most importantly my wife and twin sons.”