Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

Double Haul Instruction-Rio Products

The double haul is a casting technique that can be challenging for many fly fisherman. Simon Gawesworth for Rio Products offers some excellent tips.

The double haul is a “pat your head while rubbing your stomach” kinda of cast but if you follow Simon’s suggestions you should be able to get the hang of it.

I agree with the set up recommends to learn the double haul, but you don’t have to wait until you have it. You can learn with a regular weight forward line. Simon’s suggestion will just make it easier.

If you want a casting lesson or Rio lines you can find both at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing.

Lilydeer Christmas Magic-2016

Four years ago my very clever wife made this very special Christmas gift.

the tiny Lilydeer

the tiny Lilydeer

It graces our home as a reminder of the magic that is Christmas.

We are also blessed with the magic of theses smiling faces

Where the magic happens

Here’s hoping this finds you safe, happy and in the company of those you love.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Happy Thanksgiving 2016


My two favorite bakers…

For the last few years I have been posting this Thanksgiving day quote from Theodore Roosevelt. I have yet to find one better on this day.

“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

Theodore Roosevelt, Thanksgiving, 1903

And never forget on this day and every day, paraphrasing Winston Churchill, we enjoy Thanksgiving because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. For them I am eternally thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Willie Bear

For ten years I have the honor and privilege to teach an outstanding group of women, the Michigan State University Fly Gals, how to fly fish. In the spaces between learning to fish we talk a lot about conservation and leadership. I am humbled, intimidated and awestruck but the women who participate in the Fly Gals program. They are intelligent, focused, confident and eager to learn. They have pushed or are pushing the knowledge envelope far beyond anything I ever cared to and I learn a great deal from each group. These are entertaining over achievers and that makes it fun, but I know they can smell bullshit a mile away so I have to be prepared to be challenged which is always good for instructors.

This May marked the tenth year we got together and there was a little extra celebration and a wonderful gift.

Willie the Tenkara Bear.

Willie came to me pretty much as you see here with a small addition.

Willi the tenkara bear on his first "Fishing Friday."

Willi Bear on his first “Fishing Friday.”

Willie was an instant hit and has already become an important traveling companion. Folks who stumble across this blog or are Facebook or Instagram connections know that for a time my Mossy Creek Fly Fishing hat was the subject of a travelogue.

Willie is the successor to the hat.

Let the adventures begin…


Click here for the Willie Bear Images Gallery.


The Confluence

The Confluence Book Cover

When my friend Bill Conway asked me to read and review a book he had coauthored along with our mutual friend Norm Richter and six other Dartmouth friends, David A. Van Wie, L. Philip Odence, Robert Chamberlin, Edwin Baldrige III, David Klinges I honored and delighted. They have collaborated to bring forth The Confluence, “A collection of essays, art and tall tales about fly-fishing and friendship in the Dartmouth College Grant.”

I can’t say enough good about the thoroughly entertaining collections of stories that make up The Confluence. Suffice it to say this is so much more than a collection of fishing stories. It is a revealing look at friends fishing that span nearly a quarter century. It even has a chapter on tenkara much to my delight.

Each chapter has its own unique point of view and gives the reader a charming glimpse of times afield thoroughly enjoyed. I’ll let you discover the gems and jewels contained in its pages and not spoil the fun. But it delivers something for the novice, the adventurous and the accomplished angler alike.

If you know in your soul that fishing with friends is one of the great joys of fishing and that the experience is enhanced by wild places, then don’t miss the chance to add this book to your library.

The Confluence is scheduled to be released May 3, 2016.

You can keep up with news of the book and the Boys of the Grant on Facebook.




Now and again things jump out as being just the right tool for the job. In this case it is keeping beer in bottles cold and safe.


Image courtesy of BottleKeeper.

Cousins Adam and Matt decided to solve a problem vexing beer drinkers; warm beer in unsafe containers.
Quoting from their website:

 “a golden light flashed above Cousin Matt’s head as if Zeus himself had sent a bolt of lightening from the heavens above; ‘what if we could leave the beer in the bottle and put the bottle in something that would keep it cold, like one of those stainless steel water bottles?’ and BAM!, BottleKeeper was born.”

The BottleKeeper has a neoprene sleeve (4 mm) inside a stainless steel container. Add a padded bottom and the bottle is protected from errant mishaps. The screw top, while not creating a vacuum, seals in the bottle keeping the beer fresher and in the bottle while open in transit.

While I enjoy my PBR’s in a can, the ability to keep a bottle of some of my favorite craft beers safe and cold has made me a fan.

Check out the BottleKeeper website. It has lots of entertaining info. The link should get you a 10% discount code on your first purchase.