The shop technically got its start in 1976 as the rod finishing facility for Minnesota’s own, 3M Scientific Angler. The rod-building era was short lived, and in 1978 the shop's name was changed to Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop when Dick Johnson sold the shop to Bob Mitchell. Bob made two decisions from the start; the first to get out of the rod building business and the second was to become the place for fly fishing education in the area. Under Bob and Jean’s care, the shop nurtured a sense of community. It quickly became a gathering place where folks could spend a few hours on Saturdays talking, sipping coffee and making new friends. In 1994, Bob and Jean retired and moved to Montana, selling the shop to Michael Alwin.
When Mike purchased the shop, he not only moved it up out of the basement, but he settled it into its new home right on Lake Elmo’s main street. He increased the class offerings and stayed loyal to the store’s original intent- offering first-rate tools, materials, equipment and clothing. Mike’s passion for the sport, as well as his love of story telling have been a major factor in the store’s continued success and the main reason Bob’s dream is alive and well today.
In 2013, 18 years after buying the shop from Bob Mitchell so he could move to Montana, Mike and his wife Deb sold the shop to another Bob, this one from Montana. Robert Hawkins left the blue ribbon waters so many dream of to come to Minnesota and add his piece to the BMFS story. He plans to carry on the shop’s long-standing tradition of quality products and service. It's his goal to weave his knowledge and experience together to create the shop’s next chapter. In June of 2016, the shop moved to it's current location in St. Paul.