Hayward, Wisconsin River Guides

Acme River Rides was conceived slowly and methodically throughout a roughly 25 year process that began in 1997. Larry Mann and Wendy Williamson, Acme River Rides’ owners began exploring the moving water resources of Northern Wisconsin after years of guiding fly fishermen in Colorado. The June, 1997 death of Wendy’s dad became the catalyst for Wendy’s return to her roots and to her home in Hayward. She is a 4th generation native of Hayward. For Larry, moving to Hayward proved to be an introduction to the luxurious bounty of seemingly endless public natural resources.

Within one and a half hours of Hayward, Wisconsin, there are more than 1,500 lakes encompassing more than 200,000 acres of water, more than 1,600 miles of trout streams and more than 500 miles of floatable warm water fishing rivers. For Larry and Wendy, guiding fly fishermen was the clear and obvious extension of their Colorado life—different water, different fish, but still fly fishing. Guiding and teaching fly fishermen evolved into the creation of Hayward Fly Fishing Company in 2004. Ensuing years found Larry and Wendy introducing Northern Wisconsin to fly fishermen from all parts of the country.

As the business grew, group trips designed specifically for Veterans were added to the mix and became part of standard Summer activity. While fly fishing remained the focus of all the trips, it became more and more obvious that the MAIN takeaway from the trips was simply experiencing the beauty and tranquility of the rivers. Fly rods would routinely be set aside and guests would just sit down and allow their surroundings to just “soak in”–birds, wildlife, flowers, river sounds, lack of houses and civilized noises amidst the gentle rocking of the comfortable drift boats. The rivers became, as they always have been, healers for any ailments, perceived or not perceived. The stressful COVID years of 2020 and 2021 provided silver linings to otherwise dark clouds. People were (and are) looking for stress relief and a safe connection or re-connection to the natural world. In early 2021, one of the guides from Hayward Fly Fishing Company purchased the business, which allowed Larry and Wendy to step away from guiding fly fishermen and form Acme River Rides.

Their passion for floating the rivers continues, now with no agenda other than letting the rivers do the magic—no fishing, no licenses, no pressure, no paddling, no work. Whether your objective is bird watching, Fall leaf viewing, flora and fauna pursuits or simply enjoying a boat ride, have a seat in our comfortable, safe, and stable drift boats and join us as we float down some of the most scenic rivers in the country.