I’ve been fishing the majority of my life. From a young age, I yearned to join my brother and dad on the river, so once I was old enough to safely wade solo, I did just that.
Since that young age and for years later, I always fished with either male family members or my boyfriend turned husband or other guy friends. It was rare I’d see another female on the water or even hear about other women who fished.
I never understood why my girlfriends in grade school didn’t share my passion for fishing. I loved spending days on the water fishing, watching my flies float by, checking out the bugs crawling and flying around and exploring whatever was near the river. Didn’t they know what they were missing out on?
In the last 10 years or so, that has drastically changed. I see women on the water, in fly shops, at fly fishing industry shows and, of course, on social media. To do my part and encourage more women into the sport, I helped out teaching women’s fly casting and fishing clinics throughout the years.
But it still took me by surprise when fishing our town run recently to come across two lady anglers. One I knew and one I hadn’t met yet but had heard about her intensity for the sport. They were fishing on opposite sides of the river, thanks to COVID restrictions, and picking up trash as they went as part of our TU chapter’s river cleanup event. We yelled back and forth for a bit and determined we should all fish together for the rest of the afternoon.
I was changing flies from a deep nymph rig to some dries since I saw a few stockers sipping near the surface, so they moseyed upstream to the next run. After I stuck it to a few on dries, I headed up that way to find another woman fishing with them. We fished for the rest of the afternoon together and have since gotten out for subsequent outings. I’ve been giddy ever since.
Four women all on the water together. What a refreshing site.
And there is great support from within the industry. Companies have started to show women in marketing materials. The film tours have occasional pieces telling women’s stories, and there are women’s fishing groups like our local Braided popping up around the country. United Women on the Fly links women in their area to other women anglers wanting to fish. And we can’t forget Orvis’s effort to get even representation of genders on the water through its 50/50 initiative.
With all of these efforts, I hope to run into more women on the water. I’m sure it sounds kind of silly to most of you men reading this, but it is important to see others like yourself doing something you yearn to or aspire to. Here’s to more women getting out to fish!