Friday, September 30, 2016

Fishing Reports- 9/30/16

* Please remember to call us for more up-to-date or detailed information! These reports are not meant to be your one and only, daily source of information. They are typically general, even seasonal type reports and we currently don't have a set schedule as to when we update. Please, just because we don't update as often as we like, it doesn't mean that we don't care.

There are many different approaches you should take in order to get a good game plan for a trip or a day of fishing. Also remember that things change and these reports are what we know at the time of posting only. Keep in mind that we do express opinions and personal preferences from time-to-time which may be different from yours or what you may read elsewhere. Thanks for checking and don't forget to call us if you need any further information or a more up-to-date report. 614-451-0363

Thanks as always for reading our reports friends. As the weather gets more conducive we should be reporting more regularly....but we need your HELP!

Send any and all reports to admin@madriveroutfitters and we'll do our best to get them up.

* Special Congrats to our friend and customer Geoff Wiot. He was on the San Juan River trip this week with host Ryan Ratliff and landed this PIG!!! Pretty sure this is the largest trout we have seen on this trip in years. A great time was had by the group and we'll get a report and pics up here next week sometime. The dates for 2017 will be posted at that time also.


* Today an old friend stopped by the shop and shared something VERY special with us.

Barry Puskas caught this TROPHY back in June in a small farm pond near his home in South Western Ohio.

This fish measured exactly 25" and weighed in at 12.5 lbs. 

Congrats Barry! Not something we see every day here in Ohio....and nearly a state record. This is one that we will remember...and you surely will!!!

By the way, the fish is still in the pond and he hopes to catch it again and maybe BREAK the state record.

Warm water fishing throughout the state continues to be good to excellent. Many streams throughout the state may be muddied up a bit from the rains this week but nothing totally blown out at this point. That may change overnight though....we'll see. We'll try to get a handle on things tomorrow and post a quick update on what we hear sometime mid-day tomorrow.

We would expect though that the fantastic topwater bite that we have been experiencing may start to slow. No worries though they will still chase a big baitfish pattern. 

* Pike trips have remained strong and should continue to get better here.....although the guys are also starting to think about Musky also. Pat is looking to book some November and December trips if anyone interested in Esox. Give him a shout at the shop!

Emerick Corsi on a guide trip with Pat Kelly- his 1st Pike on the fly!

Josh has been out the past few days also and had this to say: ""Finally we get a cool-down that is bringing some sweet fishing"

Mad River

10/1/16 Update- The river stayed pretty stable last night and is now dropping. Report below stands and should be a good weekend of fishing. Let us know how you do!

A little relief....but not much. For sure though the cooler temps will help.

Even with all of the rain we have had this week, the Mad hasn't really budged that least as of this writing on Friday evening. Anglers out today saw a minor spike in flows and it did dirty up a bit with clarity around 12" or so. Still better than nothing though.

We'll surely know more tomorrow morning or early afternoon and try to let you know but as of right now, it's good to go for tomorrow and the weekend.

Most reports have the fishing picking up a bit the past week and almost all activity on nymphs. The dry fly fishing has been poor and not many bugs around other than some tiny BWO types and some small caddis. We've probably seen the best of the surface activity for the season. Streamer fishing has been virtually non-existant with the low flows but we did have some folks on the lower river today trying with the stained water. Hopefully we'll hear from them shortly.

Caddis larva and soft hackles have been good as well as larger nymphs like Big Nastys or Cranefly Larva.

Our good friend and customer Johnathan Burgoyne with a solid 18" brown caught today on a caddis larva!

All-in-all a better report here but we still need more rain!

Clearfork River

10/1/16 Update- The Upper is on the way back down and may start looking a little skinnier than expected. Still probably improved fishing but not quite the streamer water that we were hoping for. They have not yet opened up the dam. The lower hasn't budged and still remains very low and clear. Let us know how you do!

The Upper Clearfork did bump up a bit here the past few days and it will probably be the place to be this weekend for trout anglers. Should be enough, along with the cooler temps, to really get things going.

We would expect that nymphs would be the hot ticket although there might be enough water to start thinking about throwing some streamers around. Not many reports of dry flies or bugs for that matter but surely some small caddis and BWO types around, especially in the evenings. On overcast days, be sure to have some #18-20 Blue Winged Olives with you. CAN be important this time of year.

The lower stretch in the park really hasn't budged. They may open the dam this weekend though and once they do it could be game-on. We'll keep our eyes on it and try to let you know if they do. Depending on how much water they release, it could be good to great streamer water. Otherwise, same stuff as above.

Our friends from the Central Ohio Fly Fishers did have an outing last weekend on the CF and did OK. From the sound of things, they did better than to be expected although did claim that the water was super we know.

To learn more about this group, be sure to hop on their website HERE.

Clear Creek

10/1/16 Update- The creek has crested and is on the way down. Fishing should be good this weekend. Let us know how you do.

Clear Creek is on it's way up and not yet crested as we write.

This may be bad news for the weekend, but good news overall.

With some water finally in the creek, and Summer in our rear view mirror, it's finally time to start thinking about trout fishing down South again.

Hopefully we'll get some eyes on the situation here the next few days and let you know. If you get out, send us a note!

P.S.- Might be good streamer water on Sunday or so. Stay tuned!

Erie Steelhead

Finally, something to talk about!

The tribs have gotten some of this rain and a few of them are blown out right now. This is GREAT news. That means we'll be looking for steelhead starting next week!!!!

Probably not yet going to explode but this may be enough to get some fish to swim.

We have had some folks out at the mouths of the creeks stripping streamers and doing pretty well on bright chrome they are there....and ready.

It won't be long now and we'll start sharing some photos from customers and guide trips.

Interested in fishing with a guide this season? We can help.......CLICK HERE

In the meantime......A few spots have opened up on the Jeff Liskay "Spey/Switch" Weekend coming up on October 22nd and 23rd.

Click Here to register! (If it says Temporarily Out of Stock...the spots already sold)

Mad River Outfitters
Fly Shop, Guides, Schools and more!

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Customers ARE Friends!

Hello all at MRO.

I want to thank Pat Kelly again for all his help getting ready for my DIY musky fishing trip to Lake St. Clair this past week.  Pat was great in helping me with getting the correct materials and techniques for tying musky flies as well as a wealth of information on working the flies and general musky behavior and tendencies.  Oddly enough this musky hit a small clouser I had tied for bass.  I was definitely surprised but thrilled to catch my first musky ever let alone first on the fly.  We had a great trip filled with white bass, largemouth, pike, perch, smallmouth and the one landed musky. Had several others hit just not landed.

Once again, all the folks at MRO should be commended for their willingness to share knowledge and time put in helping those of us who love fly fishing. It is greatly appreciated.

Way to go Brian.  You have assembled a great team which I truly look forward to speaking with each time I am in the shop.

I consider everyone at MRO my friends.

Have a great fall.

Dan Dunkley

From all of us at MRO:

Thanks for the note and kind words Dan. 

Here at Mad River Outfitters, exceptional customer service is our #1 goal. Not good, not average, but exceptional. Period. 

Education is the cornerstone of our business as well and as you know, we are always willing to share and to help.

We don't just "sell stuff". We build relationships, and yes, friendships with our customers that are built to last. 

That's how we have been in business for 23 years and look forward to another 23!

See you soon!

Mad River Outfitters
Midwest Fly Fishing Schools

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mad River Float Trip- 9/21/16

As the guys mentioned in the Fishing Reports from the other day, I did get the AuSable boat out on the water yesterday with clients. Thought I'd give a quick update as I think they promised. There's good news...and there's bad.

I had the pleasure of guiding Kevin and Heather Harvey from South Africa. They are "Knifesmiths" and are in the states at some conventions and teaching some classes. They found MRO on the internet and hit us up for a guide trip while in the area. I'm glad they did. We had a wonderful day on the water! They learned ALOT about fishing smaller streams and were very appreciative of the experience......despite the poor fishing.

Master Blacksmith Heather Harvey from South Africa

We shared alot about each other's country, cultures and traditions etc. and I couldn't have asked for better company. It was truly an enjoyable day of "fishing" with some wonderful folks.

By far though, the coolest part of the day.....

Heather had seemed to be very interested in the birds of the area. She was asking about our Kingfishers. I told her we saw them often, but we hadn't seen one all day. At one point we heard one...and I told her so...but we didn't see it. Then it happened....

We were just below Millerstown Rd....and here he came. 

Flying straight up the river, in all his glory, was a majestic Bald Eagle. He was flying right up the river corridor at about 20' in the air or so. I saw him 1st, and for a moment could not believe my eyes. Once I was sure, I shouted "Bald Eagle!".....Kevin and Heather turned their attention from the river to the sky just in time to see him turn off to the West and fly off into the trees. He clearly showed our foreign visitors his beautiful white head and tail. Wow!

Of course it happened so quickly that we didn't get a photo. But you'd better believe I'll be back soon looking for him!!!

As I told made my season. Especially being able to share the symbol of America with my new friends from South PERSON! I'm so glad they got to see that.

Kevin Harvey from South Africa with fish on!

The only fish (trout) of the day!

And now the bad news....

I started guiding on the Mad River in 1989.....and although as I get older my memory is not as good as it used to be....I don't think that I have ever seen the Mad River so low. At least not that I can remember.

It's been this way pretty much all Summer. We started complaining in late May and it hasn't stopped!

The water is also warmer than it should be at this time of year. Of course, I forgot my thermometer yesterday, or lost it, but I can tell you that the water was "bathwater warm". It had to be pushing 70 degrees. Combine that with the low water and the "State of the Union" is not good right now.

On top of that, September 21st and I have never seen such a leaf problem. It seems that things are so dry that the leaves are drying up and falling...even before they have a chance to change colors! Not sure I have ever seen that.  Fishing was challenging to say the least due to the leaves alone! Usually something we don't talk about until mid-October or so!!!!

I don't mean to be an alarmist or anything. I'm not proclaiming that Global Warming is taking it's toll on the Mad River. I'm just telling you what I saw yesterday, and what we have been experiencing most of the Summer here. 

I had an On-River Seminar scheduled for this Sunday and I'm cancelling. All students have been notified as of this afternoon. I cannot ethically take folks money right now as the experience will simply not be what I want them to see. Even learning and practicing is tough with the low water. Factor in the leaves dropping and it's the right call. I hate to cancel....I love teaching these classes...and surely need the income...but I'd rather be honest.

As far as Kevin and Heather go. I knew that they were looking to get out and experience Ohio. Whether they caught a fish or not, (which we did thank god), I just knew that I could show them a great day....regardless. They learned ALOT and were very appreciative. They got better as the day progressed. We talked alot about their country and culture and about ours. It was truly an enjoyable day that I will remember for a long time. We absolutely proved that a good day of fishing means alot more than just catching.

One of my "tips" was a handmade Giraffe key chain type thing that Cristina says we'll put on the Christmas tree. I for sure will think of Kevin and Heather each Christmas at the least....and the Eagle!

Here's the note I got from them today via e-mail:

Hi Brian

Thank you for a truly wonderful day yesterday.  We enjoyed it thoroughly and can recommend your outfitters to anyone wanting a great experience.  Thank you for your great patience in teaching us and for complimenting us when we got it right.  Thanks too for organizing the bald eagle sighting and saving me from the quick sand!

We feel that the few small gifts didn't justify our gratitude for the effort you put into the day, but are hoping you will enjoy the Rooibos (Redbush) tea. 

Thank you for looking into the Michigan trip, we don't think our finances will allow it this trip, but we will certainly try to book it on our next visit to the area.

Best of luck with your campaign, if we were allowed to, we would vote for you.  We think you would make a great president!  You have great speaking and people skills and your priorities right.

If you have time to check out the website for Mavungana Fly Fishing in Dullstroom, South Africa, please google it.  This is the outfitter we told you about that does the local and international trips including tigers in the Okavango and Zambezi.

Kind regards

Heather and Kevin

Truth is.....I'd trade a million days like that for one day of tons of fish with an asshole!!!

I end with another note that they sent me. A Zulu saying that Kevin remembered and passed along to me this afternoon via e-mail:

"iLanga kipa hlanzi amanzini"- means "the sun is even sucking the fish out of the waters".

Thanks for reading and let's all pray for RAIN!

Brian Flechsig

Mad River Outfitters
Fly Shop, Guides, Trips, Education and MORE!

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fishing Reports- 9/20/16

* Please remember to call us for more up-to-date or detailed information! These reports are not meant to be your one and only, daily source of information. They are typically general, even seasonal type reports and we currently don't have a set schedule as to when we update. Please, just because we don't update as often as we like, it doesn't mean that we don't care.

There are many different approaches you should take in order to get a good game plan for a trip or a day of fishing. Also remember that things change and these reports are what we know at the time of posting only. Keep in mind that we do express opinions and personal preferences from time-to-time which may be different from yours or what you may read elsewhere. Thanks for checking and don't forget to call us if you need any further information or a more up-to-date report. 614-451-0363

Thanks as always for reading our reports friends. As the weather gets more conducive we should be reporting more regularly....but we need your HELP!

Send any and all reports to admin@madriveroutfitters and we'll do our best to get them up.

**We forgot the last go-round to give a "shout-out" to our good friend and great customer Eric Clapton. He caught a ginormous Atlantic Salmon in Iceland back in August. In fact, it was the biggest of the season there. Quite an accomplishment. Hope to see you in the shop again soon!

**Special Thanks also again to the Buckeye United Fly Fishers for having Brian down to the September meeting. Turns out his "Make Fly Fishing Great Again" Campaign speech was pretty well received and many have claimed that he earned their vote. He's looking forward to coming back and doing the Casting and Knots and Leaders Classes soon.


* The "green and brown" fish have been the hot ticket most of the Summer and that seems to continue. Warmwater fishing in the region has been...well....HOT! Even despite the low waters throughout, things have remained steady and strong. Many folks still out chasing smallmouth, as they should be with temps in the high 80's today. Lots of reports the past few weeks of folks doing very well on crayfish patterns and large, white streamers. The popper bite continues to be strong as well although that may slow up a bit as the temps cool.

* Our friends with the Buckeye United Fly Fishers are having their Little Miami River Cleanup on Sunday, October 2nd. They need some volunteers to help float down river and clean up trash, tires, or whatever else they can find. They have 8 canoes, so they have space for 16 people to help for this event. See their website HERE for more details or call Bryan Tudor at 513-827-5437.

* Pike fishing has remained steady throughout the Summer and should get only better as the Fall progresses. The Northeast part of the state has actually gotten and few pushes of water and kept things a bit fresher than the Central and Southern parts of the state. Pat and Josh actually had a few trips postponed due to high muddy water the past few weeks which is something we haven't had to do much of this Summer.

Superstar Ethan Hall with a recent Ohio Pike on the fly!

* Musky fishing should heat up a bit here and remain strong through the Winter. Pat should start doing some trips here shortly and we'll hopefully be sharing some pics soon. In the meantime, good friend and great customer Ryan Srbljan sent us this pic and note:

"Things are heating up as the temps and rain cool down... Tell people to call Josh & Pat and chase some toothy critters! They've got the feed bag on!

PS - This was on the 10wt stick I won at the legends banquet. Flips donation has been from Canada to the Caribbean and caught skis to poon. When's the next banquet?- Your friend,

* Our good friend Michael Palatas sent us these notes and pics here in the past few days....pretty much sums it up:

Early morning fishing in riffles and runs with articulated streamers has been ridiculously successful! The smallies are aggressive and range from 12-24". Lately, I've been reluctant to take pics due to the unfortunate loss of my previous phone after an amazing smallmouth got the last laugh after a few nice pics and a release that involved my leaving the zipper open on my phone pouch and said pouch taking on water. Truth be told I'd throw my phone into the river if it promised to bring me another one like that!

Anyway, the takes are aggressive and the fish have been downright violent on the fight.

This fella raced downstream toward a sharp rock so hard after the set I got the stripping line wrapped around my hand before I even knew what was happening!

Here we have one that, once I stopped his progress down stream, turned and shot right at me toward the bank, made a loop around me, went back into the main current and jumped like crazy!

Come mid morning I've had luck swapping to smaller streamers fished through similar areas. Generally a little less size 10-16" but fun's fun. Speaking of fun let's talk channel cats.

One of the joys of warm water fishing is the variety of options one has with respect to species. Channel cats, even more so than smallmouth, cannot resist a dark leech pattern. Find a good riffle or just moderately fast water that drops into a deep pool where the stream bed widens such that a slow eddy develops on the surface were the water releases at the beginning of the pool. Toss that leech up at the top of the riffle and let it get down close to the bottom. At the front of the riffle you have the option of catching smallmouth or smaller channel cats (my experience has been smallies on the edges and channel at the center).

Not an amazing fight but beautiful looking fish.

Once you get to the eddy get that fly up by the bank and slowly bring just across. The fish will be sitting deep so you want to make sure you get the fly down just above the bottom. Once I know I'm down I prefer a slow sweeping motion with the rod tip as it allows me to keep a good connection to the line and I feel the bottom structure better. Typically when they hit the fly they hook themselves. BAM!

A few final observations.

First, last year it was rain all summer long and while this year hasn't been without rain there has been significantly less of it. I mention this because it a very interesting and significant aspect of our sport. The tactics I've used this year for success relative to what worked last year: it's like fishing a different river. So that's awesome!

Second, not only is the faster water where you'll find a majority of active fish but it's also more forgiving to beginning anglers and way more fun to fish with a fly line. Fishing articulated streamers to the bank and Gallouping (jerk-stripping) them back to you is fun and effective but in the fast riffles I've had more control and success throwing well past 45 degrees up stream. I'll swim the fly with various size bellies in the line and subtle flicks of the rod tip. When I see something especially attractive I'll be sure to broadside the fly across it but have experienced a lot of success just using the swimming technique. If you're pulling the fly by flicking downstream and happen to miss the first few hits switching to an upstream flick usually takes care of the problem. I usually start with the down stream as it is easier on the wrist and more often than not successful. If you aren't seeing fish lengthen the leader 10" with piece of one size smaller tippet and see what happens. The fish aren't leader shy but the fly swims differently. The same tactics work for the smaller streamers as well but I find a floating line with a longer leader to be a better way to present the fly.

And in a nutshell that's the fun of it; letting your tackle do the work and making minor adjustments until you see success. A river is just an ever changing constant: tiny little mind games and variations upon a theme as broad and as long as your imagination and feet or oars will take you!

Thanks for being there to introduce me to the sport MRO and thanks for giving me a place to post my appreciation and progress!

- Michael Palatas

* Let's not forget everyone's favorite fish...the Largemouth Bass. Fishing has been good all over the state! We've had some folks going down to AEP and doing VERY well! Neighborhood ponds and farm ponds have all been producing well and the surface bite hasn't seemed to slow at all yet!

Here's a few from frequent contributor Joe Olivas-

Mad River

Not a ton of submitted reports the past few weeks. Seems that most, even die-hards are chasing warmwater fish. Probably the better choice.

Not much has changed since our last report. The river is ridiculously low and clear and fishing has been tough. Those that have been out have been catching a few fish very early or very late.

There have still been some of the Ephron mayflies hatching in the lower stretches of the river but most of the activity has seemed to be after dark. The White Millers are still around but seem to be tapering off. They will mostly be found in the upper parts of the river for the next week or two. A #14 Green Soft Hackle is all you need for this although we have had a few folks doing well in the evenings on the #12 Fat Head Moth pattern. Great idea to fish that with a Soft Hackle behind! Otherwise, best bet is small caddis in the evenings.

Brian is floating a couple from South Africa tomorrow. Despite the warnings of the low and clear water, they just want to see and fish the it's on. We should have a report and hopefully pics later in the week.

He is also doing one of his "On-River Seminars" at Birchbark Canoe Livery this Sunday. There are a few spots open if interested. You must be prepared to learn ALOT about trout fishing and the Mad River in particular. You can Click Here to sign-up.

A few notes on what our friends in the Madmen Chapter of TU have on their Calendar:

October 9th- Last Stream Monitoring and Trail Maintenance

October 15th- Mad River Cleanup

October 29th- Mad River Public Forum- Urbana Theater

For more information please see their Calendar HERE!

Let us know how you are doing our there! We are looking forward to writing some more promising reports.

Clearfork River

Same old story! Low, clear and warm water. Not many reports the past few weeks.

A few folks have been fishing the Upper Clearfork here the past few weeks but fishing has been slow. Really slow. Some fish caught in the evenings on Caddis dries and pupa but not much else. Too low for streamers!

The lower is pretty much a smallmouth fishery, and a decent one if you walk a ways. It will be until we get some water and cooler temps before we start chasing trout there again. Just too warm to stress the fish right now.

So...same report.....we need water!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clear Creek

Probably don't even need to tell you.....Clear Creek is super low and super clear. Same story....same report. Talked again to Ryan here in the shop and he says it's still too warm. Not a good idea to stress the fish with these warm temps we are experiencing.

Most folks in the area are heading down to the Hocking and doing pretty well on smallmouth. The surface bite continues to be good to excellent. If not, try big white streamers!

Hopefully we'll get some relief here and get back at it in late September/early October but we'll need some water before we do!!!

Erie Steelhead

Nothing really to report yet! Some anglers fishing the mouths and catching a few fish but we are still several rains and a big drop in temperature away from Steelhead season. As things begin to happen, rest assure that we'll let you know here.

In the meantime......1 spot open on the Sunday Class with Jeff Liskay which will be held on the Grand River-

Click Here to register! (If it says Temporarily Out of Stock...the spot already sold)

Mad River Outfitters
Fly Shop, Guides, Schools and more!

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214


Saturday, September 3, 2016

2-Day Intermediate Fly Fishing School

October 15th and 16th

at Sunnybrook Trout Club

These schools take over where our intro classes leave off. Take your skills to the next level! These 2-day intermediate fly fishing schools will be held at Sunnybrook Trout Club near Sandusky, Ohio. Centrally located for students from Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Dayton and Cincinnati! 

Day 1
* Intermediate Fly Fishing
* Gear for Specific Techniques
* Fly Casting Part I, II, III- Fly Cast Review
* Lunch (included)
* Knots and Leaders II
* Fly Casting Part IV- Advanced Casting Techniques and Video
* Fishing!!

Day 2
* Understanding Fish
* Advanced Entomology and Fly Selection
* Video Casting Review
* Lunch (included)
* Fly Casting Part V- More Advanced Casting Techniques
* Fly Fishing the Midest and Beyond
* Fishing!

Included: All equipment necessary, class information packet, lunch on both days, professional instruction, fishing

Not included: morning and evening meals, lodging if needed

Cost: $475.00 per student. Includes instruction, gear, info packet and outline, lunch & fishing.
Upon completetion of the course students will also receive a coupon packet good for significant discounts and special offers at Mad River Outfitters and/or should you decide to purchase some gear.

Pre-Requisites: Some experience and a basic understanding of the topics covered in our 1-Day and/or 2-Day Schools. This class is designed to take anglers from the beginner stage and introduce intermediate and advanced concepts and techniques.
Recomended Gear: None. We have you covered although at this stage you probably have some gear and you are welcome to bring it along.

* Fantastic fishing, lodging and dining available on these 2-day excursions. Lodging booked separately through Sunnybrook Trout Club. For more information please see A detailed information packet will be provided upon sign-up that should answer most questions on these arrangements.

Click Here to register for this School

Click Here for more information on the Midwest Fly Fishing Schools