Mike's Story


In some form or another, I've been fishing on the New River for most of my life.  As a teenager in the mid-1970's, I spent many a summer vacation at a rustic cabin near Lone Ash, Va. which is located along the New River Trail.  Besides scores of smallmouth bass, we caught enough walleye and catfish to sustain us for days on end.

From 1982-1987, I attended Virginia Tech and often wade-fished the McCoy and Eggleston sections of the New River.  After graduating with a B.S in Marketing and an M.A. in English, I enrolled in Florida State University to earn a doctoral degree. While there, I developed a keen interest in saltwater fishing that remains to this day.  

After earning a Ph.D. in English, I returned to southwest Virginia in 1997 to begin teaching at a small college and the following year opened the first fishing guide service based on the upper New River (upstream of Claytor Lake). The business was known as Greasy Creek Outfitters, which later became a small fly shop. For a number of years, I taught a popular fly-fishing course at the college as well.


In 2002, I was commissioned by the University of Virginia Press to write a series of regional fishing guidebooks which culminated in my updating the Virginia Fishing Guide in 2012 (originally written by Virginia outdoor writing legend, Bob Gooch). My other books include: Fishing the New River Valley, An Angler’s Guide; Fishing the Roanoke Valley: An Angler’s Guide; Fishing Virginia’s Highlands: An Angler’s Guide; Fishing the Greenbrier Valley: An Angler’s Guide; and Fishing the Shenandoah Valley: An Angler’s Guide.


In 2007, I started New River Fly Fishing, which specializes in fly fishing for smallmouth bass on the New River and its tributaries as well as fly fishing instruction on two miles of privately stocked trout water. My biggest professional influence is by far Lefty Kreh, who came and fished with me on multiple occasions and whom I model my casting instruction after.  Every angler should read his book: My Life Was This Big.


As luck would have it, in 2008 I met Martin Bawden at a fly fishing show as he was launching Flymen Fishing Company.  Subsequently serving as Product and Brand Development Specialist for the company, I was instrumental in bringing to market many of its core products, and still serve as a consultant today.


Besides guiding at home in Virginia, my passion for fly fishing takes me all across the country and abroad. If you follow us on Instagram, you will frequently see posts from hosted trips to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

Of all the waters I have fished on, for me, nothing compares to the New River in Virginia. I hope that you will come fish with us and experience it for yourself!