[Updated 6th January 2014]
As some of you may have noticed, there’s been a small explosion of lady fly fishers on the scene recently – particularly in the North West of North America. In a sport that is dominated by men with beards, it’s hardly surprising that fly fishing girls have proven popular, but this is being compounded by modern technology – with thousands of fishing fanatics now posting photos not only of big fish, but also of their favourite female fishers, on sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, GooglePlus and Tumblr.
This can only be good for the sport and it’s great to see that fly fishing is finally appealing to the fairer sex. To save you hunting around, here’s a list and some of the best photographs we could find of the more prominent fly fishing ladies. If you know of any more, or if you’re a fly fishing girl yourself and want to be added to our list, drop us a line and we’ll make sure it’s done.
Owner of Fly Gal Ventures, fishing guide, writer, instructor, ambassador for several fishing and clothing brands and conservationist, April Vokey is probably the best known lady fly fishers. When you look at the pictures, you can see why – not only is she easy on the eye, she also knows how to catch some monster steelhead. Scan through any fishing page on your favourite social media site and it won’t be long before you find a picture of April. You can join April’s 30,000+ Facebook fans here or read her blog.
April Vokey Videos
From Abbotsford in Canada, Adrienne Comeau loves the waters of British Columbia. When she’s not out in the wilderness, Adrienne teaches fly fishing courses and seminars, she sometimes guides and she maintains a fishing blog.
“I think that to truly appreciate fishing, you have to love the whole experience, and I do.” Adrienne Comeau
Anette is from Smithers, British Columbia, where she works as a R.N. She loves fly fishing, particularly for steelhead.
About Annie, another fisherwoman, Leslie Ajari, wrote: “Fishing with a woman is a different experience than fishing with a man. There is no pretence, no sense of competition, just an easy-going sense of camaraderie. One of the things I love about Annie is her independent spirit. Like myself, she often times fishes and travels on her own. She has been doing it for longer than I have and offers me a ton of great advice. It is rare to meet someone who understands the immense happiness and serenity derived from driving to wild and beautiful places by ones’ self.” (see Leslie’s Galgonefishing blog.)
Bryanna Zimmerman hails from the Tacoma area of Washington. A fishing blogger and keen fly fisher, she loves spending time on the river and, like the other girls featured here, has a particular taste for steelhead fishing. Bryanna founded the website Steelheadgirls.com, supporting the argument that these fishing girls are truly embracing the digital age and making it work for them.
Caitlin is another keen fly fisher from Canada and member of the Calgary Women Fly Fishers.
Camille is a woman who loves to travel the world, catch fish, share experiences and teach others about the life of fly fishing. She keeps a blog and a Facebook page all about her fishing adventures. She also runs Western Alaska Sport Fishing with her partner, Dave, where guests can fly in to western Alaska’s Bristol Bay region and catch rainbow trout, dolly varden/char, grayling and five kinds of salmon on the beautiful Nushagak River.
Catherine is a 19 year old steelhead junkie from British Columbia. She works for Fly Gal Ventures and the Michael and Young Fly Shop in BC, Canada. As these pictures show, she’s no slouch with the steelhead!
Dawn grew up near the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, where she used to catching rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout. In the summertime, she and her family would head north and fish in Alaska and British Columbia. Now, with her husband Brian, Dawn can often be found chasing steelhead around the Pacific Northwest.
As well as being a fly fisher, Diane has been a professional watercolour artist for over 20 years. Born in Montreal and living on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, she was voted the Trout Unlimited Canada 2009 Artist of the Year. See her website here.
Hannah Belford has been a steelhead and trout guide in northern BC since the 90s. Her parents started the Damdochax River Lodge in 1977, and in 2000 she and her mother took over ownership. Specialising in steelhead and trout, Hannah has fished all over the continent, chasing steelhead throughout BC, Washington, Oregon and even catching the only known strain of Atlantic Steelhead in the Santa Cruz River, Argentina.
Jennifer de Graaf
Jennifer de Graaf grew up on an acreage outside of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada before moving to Fernie. As well as steelhead, she loves catching the hard-fighting bull trout. When not fishing, Jennifer works as a photographer. See her Facebook page here.
Growing up in Longview, Washington, Jennifer Mitchell found herself born into a family of avid steelhead fishers. With her husband Jack, she is now co-owner of The Evening Hatch Guide Service & Fly Shop, Yakima, Washington. She guides steelhead trips on the Klickitat River and you can regularly find her instructing others in speycasting with the double-handed rod.
Born in Calgary, Alberta, Kara has spent most of her adult life managing heli-ski lodges in winter and fishing lodges in summer. She’s a steelhead fanatic.
Having earned a reputation as a top steelhead guide at Alaska Sportsman’s Bear Trail LodgeKate Taylor has travelled all over the world, fly fishing for all manner of species.
Kati started fishing around the age of five, catching largemouth bass and then redfish near her home in South Carolina. After landing a summer job at a fishing lodge in Bristol Bay, Alaska, there was no turning back and it wasn’t long before she was dividing her time between working in the marketing department at Sage fly rods, and pursuing steelhead throughout BC.
Mia Sheppard started fishing as a child in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and went on to work in various positrons in the fishing industry – working for the US Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and even working aboard commercial fishing boats in Alaska. In 2003 Mia and her husband, Marty, bought Little Creek Outfitters, a successful fly-fishing guide service in Oregon, for which Mia now works as steelhead guide, spey casting instructor and all-round outdoors woman and conservationist.
Patti Beasley is a hunter, fisher and the boss of Reel Women:Reel Men – a fishing club she originally started in an effort to meet other women anglers in and around Indianapolis. Every January she runs an annual one-day fly-fishing exhibition and show, called Indiana on the Fly, while the rest of her free time is spent tying flies, hunting, fishing and supporting Casting for Recovery – a national nonprofit that uses fly fishing to assist breast cancers survivors.
Having spent a childhood enjoying the outdoors with her father, Paula Shearer has been an avid fly fisher since her early teens. She now lives in Calgary, Alberta from where, in summer months, she regularly fishes for trout in the Bow river or nearby streams and mountain lakes. In winter and spring, when time permits, she crossed to BC, where she loves pursuing wild steelhead.
Paula has appeared numerous times on television, as host and co host of ‘Fly Nation’ and featured in the TV series ‘In The Loop’. She is a published photographer and writer, has represented fly fishing brands Hatch Outdoors and G.Loomis Rods, and works as a guide on the Bow River and Southern Alberta mountain streams. Way to go Paula – thanks for sending us the pics!
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Rachel Andras is a casting instructor and recognised expert in fishing travel. Having cut her teeth at Glenn Tinnin’s Compleat Flyfisher and The Fly Shop she went on to work at Fly Water Travel before setting up her own business, Andras Outfitters, where she now represents some of the world’s best guides, lodges and fishing destinations.
Tracy Moore is a photographer with a fishing problem. Sometimes she can’t believe it herself but she is absolutely “obsessed with fishing”. In her own words: “That feeling you get the moment you realize there is a steelhead attached to your line is one of the coolest feelings on the planet.” We hear you Tracy!
Whitney Gould is a specialist in two-handed fly fishing, an instructor and spey casting world champion. She has represented a number of tackle manufacturers, including CF Burkheimer rods. You can see Whitney’s guiding schedule on her website or watch this video of her discussing spey casting – it’s a nice insight into her personality:
More fly fishing girls
Here are some more girls that we haven’t been able to identify. If you recognise someone or this is you, drop us a line and we’ll add the correct info.
Women fishers of old
Women have, of course, been fishing for centuries. This picture, for example, taken by Curtis Asahel on 1st August, 1907, shows Eleanor Chittenden, daughter of Brigadier General Hiram Chittenden, holding a steelhead caught on the Elwha River.
And who could forget Miss G W Ballantine’s 64lb Atlantic salmon, caught on fly on 22nd October 1922 from Scotland’s River Tay. At the time of writing in 2014, this is still the largest ever recorded rod-and-line caught Atlantic salmon.
All we can say is… you go girls!