Brian Flechsig, founder of Mad River Outfitters, takes us back to square one today as we break down the steps to getting started in fly fishing. We find out the 6 basic things that you need to understand as a beginner and why the leader is one of the most important parts of your gear.

We dig into their YouTube channel that’s about to hit 200k subscribers with over 500 videos published, how they make it educational and entertaining, and why they don’t want to specifically promote any brands.

Brian also shares about his 30 years of friendship with Kelly Galloup and some of the fly-fishing folks we know.


Click below and listen to the Podcast about Mad River Outfitters with Brian Flechsig:

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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Mad River Outfitters Show Notes with Brian Flechsig 

08:00 – When Brian was in college, he was immersed in playing music and fly fishing. He played the Mandolin and studied jazz guitar. He eventually quit college to work at a music store and then later worked at a fly shop in Cincinnati, Ohio where he became a guide and a shop manager.

09:50 – Brian hosted his first trip in the Fall of 1990 at the Pere Marquette River. His guides were Charlie Weaver, Walt Grau, and Kelly Galloup.

11:30 – In December 1994, Brian opened Mad River Outfitters in Columbus, Ohio

12:15 – Brian talks about Clyde Rolf who was a great friend and customer at Mad River fly shop. He invented the Nicorette Gum.

16:00 – He noted a YouTube video they created with Brad Befus, President of Scientific Anglers



31:55 – Brian and Kelly have been friends for 33 years now

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35:00 – Mad River Outfitters is about to hit 200k subscribers – subscribe here

40:00 – Brian shares some advice: Surround yourself with the right people

43:30 – They have a YouTube series, Getting Started in Fly Fishing where Episode 1 teaches the 6 basic things that you need to understand as a beginner:

  1. Understand a fly rod
  2. Understand a fly reel
  3. Understand the fly line system
  4. Have a few basic accessories (including a fly)
  5. Have some polarized sunglasses
  6. You need a body of water that has fish


50:00 – Brian talks about how they answer email questions from people

57:42 – Brian explains why the leader is one of the most important parts of your gear

1:02:30 – Fish early or fish late to avoid river traffic in Mad River

1:08:45 – The best question Brian had was: How do you know what you’re fishing for?

1:12:30 – They did a trip to Labrador for the trophy brook trout, New Orleans for redfish, tarpon and bonefishing in Florida, etc. One of the most exotic trips they did was in the Amazon jungle in Brazil for peacock bass.

1:15:25 – Sam Bush is Brian’s mandolin hero


You can find Mad River Outfitters on Instagram @madriveroutfitters

Website at

YouTube at Mad River Outfitters

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Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 167 – How to Dry Fly Fish with Kelly Galloup

Streamer fly fishing Tips with Kelly Galloup (WFS 052)


Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below



  1. I am a freshman in high school and am trying to make it on a Dall sheep hunt before I get out of high school. I have started training and I am wondering if you guys can help me out. thinking summer of 2023