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The Midwest Fly Fishing Schools

The Midwest Fly Fishing school is a group of seasoned instructors who bring you hundreds of years of combined experience in teaching fly fishing. These instructors have been brought together by the folks at Mad River Outfitters, one of the largest and most recognized names in the Fly Fishing Industry.


After years of helping frustrated beginners and misled intermediate anglers, head instructors Brian Flechsig, Josh Trammell, Jerry Darkes and Katie Johnstone have put together a series of schools, classes and seminars designed to take the mystery out of learning to fly fish.

Meet the Instructors


The Midwest Fly Fishing Schools has hand picked it's legendary line-up of fly fishing teachers

Brian Flechsig

Brian is the founder and President of Mad River Outfitters and co-founder of the Midwest Fly Fishing Schools. He has been teaching and guiding in this business since 1989 and considers himself an educator 1st and foremost. He has developed a series of classes and clinics designed to take the mystery out of learning how to fly fish. His simple and straight-forward methods have helped thousands of anglers over the years find their way to better angling. He has been featured in numerous instructional DVDs, authored several books and can be found teaching on the internet via his Blog, YouTube and Podcast projects.

Josh Trammell
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Josh was born and raised in Northeast Ohio and caught the fishing bug early in life as he watched a neighbor fly fishing their backyard pond. At the age of 10 he started exploring all things fishing that Ohio had to offer. From there he has gone on to chase steelhead and warmwater species across the southern shores of Lake Erie and beyond, always looking for that next opportunity.

Josh has also spent his last six summers guiding in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska for Naknek River Camp, where he also enjoys pursuing fish on two handed rods in his downtime. While not on the water, Josh can often be found hovered over a vice somewhere whipping up all sorts of fishy flies. Josh enjoys sharing his passion with others and hopes they can catch the bug as bad as he’s got it!

Jerry Darkes

Jerry is certainly one of the most well known names in the Midwestern fly fishing arena. With over 40 years of experience, he has been teaching and educating the whole way. He is a published author, sought after speaker, well-know guide, veteran educator and has also been a sales rep in the industry for more than 20 years.


Jerry has also worked closely with Mad River Outfitters for many years and we are thrilled to have him as a lead instructor here at the Midwest Fly Fishing Schools.


Katie Johnstone

While on a trip in Alaska, Katie got a taste of fly fishing for the first time. From then on, she was hooked. With a heart for the outdoors and staying active, you can often find Katie spreading her love for the sport of fly fishing with her friends, fishing from her SmithFly and chasing smallies when in Ohio.

Co-Founder of Ohio Women on the Fly, she has a passion for bringing women in Ohio's fly fishing community together and inspiring more women to get on the water.

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Ryan Ratliff

Ryan brings with him over 20 years experience in fly fishing and fly tying. He is an absolute professional in everything he does whether it be his job, his fishing or being a father and a husband. You will feel this when you work with him.

Ryan will be heading up the Fly Tying classes, clinics and "retreats" for the Midwest Fly Fishing schools and we couldn't be more thrilled to have him aboard!

Experience more


We're proud to offer a variety of fly fishing educational services

Special Programs
We offer a variety of special events, programs and guest teachers from across the fly fishing industry
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Fly Casting
Improve your fly casting with our basic and advanced fly casting courses
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Private Lessons
Learn the sport of fly fishing in a
1-on-1 atmosphere with one of our instructors
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Fly Tying Classes
Jump into the rewarding hobby of tying your own fishing flies in one of our fly tying classes
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