Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Notes from the Field: Andros Island Bonefish Club


From trip host Ryan Ratliff- MRO Fly Tying Manager and Guide: 

"We decided to grab out 8wt, 10wt, and spinning rods so we would be prepared for anything. Today the fish were off the flats mudding in deeper water so we hit one of Shaun's super secret backwaters. Wading back home is one of my favorite things to do...Wading for bonefish is just that much better! We found lots of fish tailing in skinny water and were hooking up left and right. Fishing around mangroves adds another challenge when the fish decide to run through them. We also let Shaun show us how it is done! We got it handed to us on a few, but were able to land plenty. Shaun took time not only to call out fish, but to fine tune our casts and explain fish behavior."


Shawn Leadon of the Andros Island Bonefish Club


"On the way in for the day we decided to fish a small creek. There were a few bonefish heading up on the rising tide, but they were not willing to chase a fly. Around the first bend we saw a large school of
baitfish bust the surface. Once we were a little closer we spotted the reason. A large Baracuda was chasing the bait. I grabbed the spinning rod and launched the Cuda tube and burned it back. The Cuda charged full speed and with only two cranks of line left I started to sweep the rod preparing to figure 8...I didn't know what else to do! Just as I turned the tube away from the boat the Cuda struck and begin to go crazy! Hard runs, tail walking, big jumping head shakes, and into the mangroves he went. I might not know much about saltwater fishing, but I know how to fight big fish. We were able to keep him from getting too deep into the mangroves and I fought him out. He ended up being one of my biggest fish ever and a memory that I will never forget!"



Ryan with a personal best!


Some action from day 2 at the Andros Island Bonefish Club:


Bob Matis


Curtis Henshaw


Jay Gross

From our good friend, great customer and trip participant Bob Matis:

"We had several good hookups in the backwater marshes with aggressive large bonefish. A few broke off, but we managed to bring in some nice fish. Another good day on the water, with fantastic scenery, weather, great guides, and helpful instruction on the art of fishing the flats of Andros Island.  Hospitality from MRO host and the AIBC staff and guides is wonderful. Food and drink is superb!"

And more from trip host Ryan Ratliff today:

"Bob and I (Ryan) were slated to head out with guide Danny today as Curtis and Jay were heading to the West side of the Island with Shaun. (All I can say about their trip is they have the tarpon bug. They will do a write up soon) The wind was still blowing hard out of the north and we also had cloud cover. Fishing was tough today. We had trouble seeing the fish before they saw us. Despite the tough conditions Danny was still able to get us on fish. We had to fish some more secluded backwater to keep out of the wind which was clouding the water. Danny knew exactly where to find fish. We fished flooded mangroves and had to "fight them dirty" as Danny laughter as I would not let them run hardly at all. We saw more tails today then noses, but still had a good day and landed fish."


More Cuda action today


Curtis Henshaw with the fish of the trip so far!


Stay tuned.....a few days left on the trip.......

Click Here for more about what we do at the Andros Island Bonefish Club

Fall 2017 and February 2018 dates TBA shortly!



Mad River Travel

Fly Fishing Trips designed to EXCEED your expectations since 1994.



Friday, February 17, 2017

Fishing Reports- 2/17/17


* 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 have some beautiful weather heading our way through the weekend and next week.  The forecast is for 60's next week this is going to feel like early April not the second half of February!  Lots of warm water fishing talk in the shop this week.  We are looking forward to seeing your pictures in the coming days.  The focus for warm water fishing will be the shallow ends of ponds with dark bottom composition.  Slow sinking streamers with large profiles will catch the attention of some of the largest bass of the season.  Also keep an eye on the local streams as the fish will start to become more "catchable".


Mad River

It is nice to see the flows level off compared to the fall when the stream seemed to just keep dropping.  With the predicted forecast look for clear water and stable levels.  We are on the edge of low flows, but this is a great time to take some notes and cover a lot of water.  Lots of fish have been being caught on the typical nymphing rigs.  Also the Little Black Stones are out and the fish have been keying in on them.  As for nymphing we like to use black or dark green Copper Johns, but a Prince Nymph, Double Stone, and Trophy Nymphs will get the job done.  A couple more overlooked nymphs that we use are the Steelhead Stone, Bears Stone and Holy Grail.  Make sure your usual nymphs remain in your rotation also.  The typical flies are Cranefly Larva, Guides Choice Hares Ear, Zud Bugs, and Zebra Midges.  Pull out your long Sage ESN or Redington Hydrogen and pic apart the water.  

If dries are your thing then make sure to have some dark dries with you.  Add some Stimulators, Butch Caddis, and Adams to your box.  Add some Loon Royal Gel and maybe a couple strokes of a black Copic marker and your ready to go.  

Streamer fishing will be tough with the clear conditions, but if you hit the stream at first light it does not hurt to strip a few flies close to cover.


Little Black Stoneflies have been out in good numbers! Have some #12-14 black nymphs for sure.



"Last Sunday caught a 18 inch brown on a big streamer and a couple little guys on the streamer on the mad!!! Streamer bite was on fire!"- Luke Tzagournis






Clearfork River



The upper river is dropping steadily.  We are still above normal for this time of the year, but clear.  If you are in the area the upper is your best bet.  

They have been stepping down the flows down in the Park, but we have not heard many reports of people doing well in that section.  With the forecast look for Smallies, Saugeye, and a few trout on streamers.  

Clousers, and Kelly Galloup style streamers are where we start.  If you are looking to nymph either stretch keep an eye out for Little Black Stones.  We like to use black or dark green Copper Johns, but a Prince Nymph, Double Stone, and Trophy Nymphs will get the job done.  A couple more overlooked nymphs that we use are the Steelhead Stone, Bears Stone and Holy Grail.  Make sure your usual nymphs remain in your rotation also.  The typical flies are Cranefly Larva, Guides Choice Hares Ear, Zud Bugs, and Zebra Midges.  Dead drifting a Conehead Muddler, Clouser, Autumn Splender or Trick-or-Treat is always another good choice below the dam.  Minnows get beat up in the hydraulics and outflows and the fish are waiting for them.  Pull out your long Sage ESN or Redington Hydrogen and pic apart the water.  


Clear Creek


Low and Clear would best describe the creek through the weekend.  Fish are well dispersed so covering the water is the best choice.  This is one of the quickest streams to warm in the state. Look for fish to be active as the night temps stay in the 50's as forecasted.  

Small nymphs and soft hackles always produce, but you will need to make long drifts and use small yarn indicators.  Keep an eye open for midges as this is the time to fish dries and have some fun.  Also the Little Black Stones are out.  Add some Stimulators, Butch Caddis, and Adams to your box.  Add some Loon Royal Gel and maybe a couple strokes of a black Copic marker and you're ready to go. 


Erie Steelhead

The report straight from one of our Steelhead Guides Josh McQueen."They are Everywhere." 

Fish are well distributed throughout the Alley and with the warm forecast they are looking to eat. Streams are in good shape for the most part with the Grand still high and the Vermilion on the low side.  If you are looking to book a trip this is the time to give us a call.  There are a few open slots, but there are calls pouring in inquiring openings.  

As for flies...EGGGGGS!  This is the time of year when you can really clean up by fishing double egg rigs.  We like to fish two different colored eggs until we find a pattern then doubling up on the same shade.  Look for the faster water that is waist deep.  Pull out your 10' 7wts and Air Lock Indicators and head out.  For those wanting to swing for steelhead you will need to focus on the lower rivers and the Grand.  The Grand is still high, but can swing good as long as you know the river well.  The Grand is tricky so only fish it at this level if you are well accustomed to these flows. With no precip in the near forecast, the Grand is going to be HOT!

Take a look at the steelhead fly pages and keep your fly box filled.  



"I picked up a new-to-me switch rod at the swap meet and headed to MRO to round it out with a reel, flies, etc. Fortunately, I was able to head up north yesterday and try it out. My casting definitely needs some work, but I don't think I've ever been happier to be wet and freezing cold. Big thanks to Ryan and Pat at the shop, as well as my buddy for the quick and dirty casting/swinging lesson."- Justin Dale



We are having one of the best winter seasons we have had in years.  So clear out those schedules and plan on heading up to the Alley!

Interested in a guide trip this coming Spring Season?

Our guides can provide most equipment and are available most any time.

Click HERE for information and pricing on an Erie Steelhead Trip.


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

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

614-451-0363

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Columbus Fishing Expo



February 10th- 12th, 2017

Bricker Building, Ohio Expo Center
171 E. 17th Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43211


Mad River Outfitters will of course be back at the show for a 3rd time and we have more than doubled our booth space!!

We will be representing brands like Scientific Anglers, Korkers Footwear, Patagonia, Scott Fly Rods and Smithfly. We'd like to thank those brands for helping us make the show bigger and better than ever for MRO!

The booth will also be staffed by an "all-star" cast this year. On hand will be Brian Flechsig, Jerry Darkes, Josh McQueen, Jeff Liskay, Ethan Smith and Donnie Knight. 

Most of our crew will be doing some presentations and of course Brian will be on the "Hawg Trough" each day as well on the "big stage".

Here is a link to the speaker schedule-


One of the big highlights this year is that we will have the Big Shoals Raft from Smithfly on display in the booth. This is a game changing boat that our guides are using and if you have never seen one in person, here's your chance. We'll also have the wildly popular SUP from Smithfly on display as well.


The new Smithfly Big Shoals Raft will be on display in the booth!

Some great deals to be had at the booth this year also. We hope to see you at the EXPO!




Mad River Outfitters
Ohio's Fly Fishing Professionals
Since 1994

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
614-451-0363


Friday, February 3, 2017

Fishing Reports 2/3/17


* 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.

* Find us at the "Greater Cincinnati Fly Fishing Show" on Saturday! Brian and Roger will be manning the booth and have a ton of great deals on Rods, Reels and a variety of other gear. If you are at the show, be sure to stop by the booth and shop around! 

Click Here for more details on the show!

* Also a reminder that next weekend is the "Columbus Fishing Expo" in the Bricker Building at the Ohio Expo Center. MRO will have a HUGE presence this year and will be showcasing Scientific Anglers, Korkers, Smithfly and more. Also on hand in the booth will be local angling celebrities like Jerry Darkes, Jeff Lisky, Donnie Knight, Josh McQueen, Ethan Smith and more. 

Of course, don't miss Brian Flechsig's presentations on the "Hawg Trough"-

2:00 p.m. Friday
Noon- Saturday
Noon- Sunday

(Nice to see the Fly Fishing Program get some decent time slots for a change)

Click Here for more details on the Expo!


* For the weekend look for typical winter conditions...below freezing night temps and hovering around freezing for the day time highs.  Looking at the flows around the state most streams are clear with a few on the low side.  There are been people fishing around and having success.  Also there have been a large bump in fly tying materials going out the door.  If the cold is not for you then it is a great time to fill your fly boxes or try tying some new patterns.  


Mad River

The Mad is currently very clear with stable conditions for the past week.  Nymphing has been the ticket as usual this time of the year.  The typical nymphs are our go to choices: Guide's Choice Hares Ear, Cranefly Larva, Trophy Nymphs, Copper Johns, Double Stones, Zud Bug, Phlamin Pheasants.  Do not overlook some of the non-typcials from your steelhead box also: Formally Known as Prince, Flashabou Caddis, Great Lakes Caddis, Psycho Prince, and Steelhead Candy.  These heavier nymphs will help get your rig down and we usually trail an unweighted nymph in a different color.  Trailing nymphs that are usually on our guide rigs are non beaded pheasant tails, Hares Ear, San Juan, Prince, Sunk Spinners, and Soft Hackles.  Pull out the 10' 3-5wts, Air Lock Indicators, a few shot, tippet rings, Stanleys Ice Off Paste and add your double nymph rig and head out.  

No sign of any winter stoneflies yet but surely time to start fishing the nymphs. A #12 or #14 Black Copper John works just fine and is all you need. Also time to start tying some Hendrickson Nymphs as they will begin to get active and be on the menu here starting in March.

There is some rain in the forecast for early next week.  This could fire up the Streamer bite. Shoot us a call if you need a mid winter streamer fix and we will keep you updated on conditions.  

Our buddy Cody Darling sent this report last week:

"Caught two brown trout while streamer fishing the mad on Saturday, after visiting the shop on Friday and talking to Andy and Ryan they helped me pick out streamers that would catch fish. The water had a slight tint and was perfect for streamer fishing. Thanks for the help!"- 
Cody Darling



Thanks Cody! Keep up the good work.


Clearfork River



There have not been too many reports from the Clear Fork way, but the conditions do look promising for the weekend.  The Upper Clear Fork is low with fish in typical wintering areas. Nymphs also are the ticket here.  The typical nymphs are our go to choices: Guide's Choice Hares Ear, Cranefly Larva, Trophy Nymphs, Copper Johns, Double Stones, Zud Bug, Phlamin Pheasants.  Do not overlook some of the non-typcials from your steelhead box also: Formally Known as Prince, Flashabou Caddis, Great Lakes Caddis, Psycho Prince, and Steelhead Candy.  These heavier nymphs will help get your rig down and we usually trail an unweighted nymph in a different color.  Trailing nymphs that are usually on our guide rigs are non beaded pheasant tails, Hares Ear, San Juan, Prince, Sunk Spinners, and Soft Hackles.  Pull out the 10' 3-5wts, Air Lock Indicators, a few shot, tippet rings, Stanleys Ice Off Paste and add your double nymph rig and head out.  

The water levels below the dam look good for some streamer fishing over the weekend.  Load your box with Kelly Galloup patterns in a good mix of colors and design.  You cannot go wrong with Dungeons, Barely Legals, Bottums Up, Cougars, and others.  Pull out the 6-8wts, sink tips, and stripping guards for some winter streamer excitement.  

A report from last week sent via e-mail:

"Hello MRO. I escaped to the outside for a few hours on the Upper Clearfork yesterday (1/29). I was well rewarded for dealing with cold and icy guides with a good fish, caught swinging a muddy buddy through the deep water."-  Sam Hojnacki


Clear Creek


Clear Creek is running very low and clear.  Fish can still be taken, but the water may start to slush up in the mornings as the night temps push below freezing.  

Mostly like on the Mad nymphing will be the most productive, but do not forget your midge box. With the stable water levels and Sun forecasted this weekend you might get a small window to catch fish on dry midges.  Tenkara rods are great anywhere, but shine on Clear Creek and in the winter.  



Erie Steelhead

The steelhead streams look great at the time of this report!  From the Vermilion to the PA boarder there are fish in and well dispersed.  The grand is still high so stay away unless you are swinging big flies on heavy tips and know the water very well.  Many people have been planning to make it up to the Alley this weekend.  Look for typical winter conditions and indicator fishing eggs and nymphs.  There is no need to get out at first light with the night time temps being below freezing.  The 10am-3pm window is the most productive.  There is some rain coming in early next week so check in with us for up to date conditions if we don't post

 We have a couple open spots in the guiding schedule so make sure you jump on those as they are filling fast!   

Interested in a guide trip this coming Spring Season?

Our guides can provide most equipment and are available most any time.

Click HERE for information and pricing on an Erie Steelhead Trip.


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

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

614-451-0363

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fishing Reports 1/20/17


* 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.


* This is starting to become a broken record for the weekend, but after our low water summer and fall we are not complaining!  The weather this week and into the weekend makes us think this is a March report not a mid-January report.  With that being said there are a few people messing around with shallow ponds and even catching Bluegills on poppers!  This will not last long, but makes for good stories and bragging rights on the first topwater fish of the year.  Get outside and take advantage of this weather while it is here. 


Mad River

Streamers Streamers Streamers!  We have some great conditions for fishing streamers this weekend.  The flows are high, but falling fast.  If you are wading then focus on the upper stretches.  On foot you will be looking at Sunday before levels are safe to wade.  Fishing streamers is our preferred method, but big buggy nymphs will get the job done too.  

Certain flies have been consistent from week to week this winter.  Patterns in the Nymph category include the Guide Choice Hare's Ear, Prince Nymph, Copper Johns, Jimmy Legs and don't overlook the San Juan.  The Conehead Mudler is used as a nymph here around the shop too.  And of course, as Brian always says around here: "Don't EVER fish the Mad River without Cranefly Larva in your fly box". 

As for streamers supply yourself with a good mix of colors and rotate through them as needed. Pick up any Galloup pattern that is big and articulated.  Dungeons, Barely Legals (take a look at the new Fish-Scull version), Bottoms Up, Cougars, Lil Swimmers, Game Changers and Totally Articulateds will produce.  Make sure to have your sink-tip lines and 6-8wts! 


Clearfork River



It is muddy and high on both ends...Things do not look good for next week either.  Take advantage of the good weather this weekend and maybe think about a quick trip north for steelhead Sunday afternoon.


Clear Creek


Clear Creek is very high and muddy.  This will last for quite some time looking at next week forecast.



Erie Steelhead

Look at hitting a smaller stream Sunday.  Everything is high right now and off color.  I you do not want to change your fishing plans keep an eye on the gauges.  As usual this time of the year the window is going to be small, but there are plenty of fish.  If you have a two-handed rod this weekend will be your time to swing.  

Looking into next week there is going to be a mix of conditions.  Lots of rain is in the forecast followed by snow.  We will keep you updated as things change.  Flies continue to be consistent: EGGS EGGS EGGS and a few buggers and Zonkers...not much more needs to be added...but if you like a little variety in your fly box have a good mix of nymphs.  Steelhead Stones, Bloody Mary, Sparkle Maggots, Guides Choice Hares Ear, and Steak N Eggs will set you on the right path.  Make sure you have a good mix of colors of eggs and dont forget the Trout Beads.  With the higher off-colored water the larger Globugs and Bead in bright colors are our go to flies.   

As for those wanting to swing up a fresh bright fish fill you box with A.I. Intruders, Dolly Llama, Flow Rider, Hare Leech, Skiddish Smolts will get the job done.  Load up your Skagit heads, MOW tips, and 12-15lb tippet.  We don't get the gift of this type of weather and conditions often so get out there and send us those Chrome pictures!

Here's a few from guide trips last Sunday before the water came up:


Our good friend and frequent guide client Quentin Baker- rumor has it he's joining Josh and Jerry in Alaska this Summer?


  And of course Ed Bailey with a nice one as well!

Interested in a guide trip this coming Spring Season?

Our guides can provide most equipment and are available most any time.

Click HERE for information and pricing on an Erie Steelhead Trip.


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

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

614-451-0363

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fly Fishing Film Tour- Tickets on Sale Now!


Thursday, March 9th 2017

Gateway Film Center
1550 N. High St.
Columbus, Ohio 43201

Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and show starts at 7:00

Tickets: $15.00 in the shop or online  (show will sell out so no plans to have at the venue)




* Bring some extra cash to buy Raffle tickets. Sure to be some great prizes to be had


Brought to you by:




Additional sponsors:

Central Ohio Fly Fishers


Madmen Chapter of Trout Unlimited


2017 Raffle Prizes

Raffle Tickets will be $5.00 each or 5 for $20.00. We will be accepting cash, credit cards or checks. You will be able to place tickets into a seperate container for each Gran Raffle Prize individually. General Raffle will be picked from the table as numbers are called.


* Grand Prizes
TBA Shortly

* Standard Raffle Prizes
TBA Shortly

We would like to thank the following for their generous donations:

Central Ohio Fly Fishers
Madmen Chapter of Trout Unlimited
more to come!

* Add your name or organization to this list? Donations surely accepted


Tickets will be $5.00 each or 5 for $20.00 and we will be able to accept Cash, Check or Credit Cards at the show.

Majority of the  proceeds go to benefit our friends at The Mayfly Project-




The Mayfly Project is a 501(c)(3) organization that uses fly fishing as a catalyst to mentor children in foster care. Our mission is to build relationships with children in foster care through fly fishing and introduce them to their local water ecosystems, with a hope that connecting them to a rewarding hobby will provide an opportunity for them to have fun, feel supported, and develop a meaningful connection with the outdoors.  The Mayfly Project's standard program is to mentor a foster child through five sessions we call "stages", just like the life cycle of a Mayfly.  Within these stages, the children learn line management, casting techniques, knot tying, etymology, river safety, mending tactics, hook setting, catch and release tactics and the value of conservation. At the end of the five stages the child is given his or her very own fly rod, reel, pack, fly box, flies, tippet, indicators, etc.  Each project is unique and may contain more or less stages, but the goal is to provide a well-round and safe fly fishing experience for children in foster care.



New this year! A portion of the proceeds will also benefit previous benefactors such as Reel Recovery, Project Healing Waters and Casting for Recovery. Depending on the support we get, up to $200.00 will go to each of these organizations. 



2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour
Thursday, March 9th

Mad River Outfitters
813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
614-451-0363