Fly Fishing as a Female, Yes You Can and It Does Not Have To Be Alone (Unless You Want)

  • Visit the PA Fish and Boat Commission website. The P.F.B.C., for short, is the agency in charge of fishing and boating in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Therefore, they are the authority on where to go, when to go, and how you may go about it. All 50 states have some form of wildlife agency focused on fisheries management; the PA Fish & Boat is Pennsylvania’s authority.
  • Look for free workshops and classes, P.F.B.C. offers free courses, mostly virtual but some are in-person. In Western PA look for a Womens Outdoor Workshop where you can dabble in just about any outdoor activity with professional volunteer instructors. Chapman Dam State Park, in the Allegheny National Forest area, hosts such a work shop.
  • Consider joining a womens-focused fishing organization such as United Women on the Fly, Sisters on the Fly, or if you have been affected by cancer, Casting for Recovery
  • Consider joining a fishing/angling focused non-profit group or volunteer organization. Such as, Trout Unlimited, Native Fish Coalition, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, or PA Steelhead Association
  • Hire a guide
  • Hire a casting coach; Fly Fishers International is a recognized fly casting certification organization
  • Ask a friend to teach you
  • Visit a fly shop, if the folks in the shop seem to stink immediately look elsewhere until you find a shop that you mesh with
  • Purchase fly fishing books
  • Visit the Orvis learning center website (free)
  • Go to guide school (not free and is not any guarantee of income or job security)
  • Get on the water and figure it out, questions will form as you experience more (best method ever)

All pictures below are in chronological order. From the beginning years toward more recent ones. I caught all fish pictured on public waters. I will never post a trout club fish and fail to identify it as a cared for (fed) fish. I enjoy fishing with friends and have visited private fishing clubs, but I have never belonged to one and I have always grown up using public lands. I love catching native fish in their home ranges—wild fish are beautiful, and usually, are found in beautiful places. I pursue most of my fish on America’s public lands.

My initial spark of interest with fly fishing came forth in 2014. I was in Lancaster, England and there was a fly shop in town. I walked in and out just as quickly because I was overwhelmed with the hyper-specifics of fly fishing in England. I wanted to learn about the gear prior to going back into the shop. I never went back during the semester. I picked up a fly rod about a year later back in Pennsylvania. From there, as a big do-it-myself gal, I learned from friends, books, and time on the water actively fishing and sucking. I own a small library of fly fishing and fishing books. By 2019 I was actively joining organizations of interest such as PA Steelhead Association and Trout Unlimited. In 2020, the world temporarily shut down and all organized social events with it. In 2021, I began practicing and learning the skills necessary to pass a certified casting instructor course from Fly Fishers International. That same year I began volunteering with PA Fish & Boat Commission as an instructor. I help with their Women’s Introduction to Fly Fishing for Steelhead as well as the Introduction to Steelhead Fishing. Both courses are free for participants and offer a wealth of information. Occasionally, there is an on the water component of these courses which I also help with. In August 2022, I began completing the necessary steps to start a fly fishing guide business. Please reach out to me with any questions!

Figuring out how to manage my line, the slack, and the tiny fly! Circa 2015.
A creek chub!
Tiger Trout caught while chasing Steelhead in an Erie County stream. Tiger Trout are not stocked in Northwestern, PA by any sportsman’s clubs that advertise & the Commonwealth does not rear nor stock Tiger Trout. This was an anomaly! December 2020.
Atlantic Tarpon caught on a Cockroach Fly, 12 weight fly rod, guided by Russ Kleppinger. January 2022.

Each November PA Fish & Boat Commission offers an on-the-water introduction to fly fishing for Steelhead class. I volunteer as an instructor and have enjoyed doing so since 2021. This in-the-field fishing component is actually the second part of the course—the first part is a one and a half hour virtual course covering everything you will on the water. Beginning with rod and reel, the virtual class breaks down how to rig with leader and tippet, how to properly drift an indicator rig, how to read the water, reading USGS water gauges, and so much more. Below are some photos from the last couple of falls. If you would like to volunteer your time or donate a door prize for participants please reach out.

November 2021. Hen Steelhead caught on a Rainbow Trout Gamechanger. Safely released. Her first fly caught Lake Erie Steelhead Trout!
Door prize winner from one of the 4 days of the Womens Introduction to Fly Fishing for Steelhead course in Erie, PA in 2022. This participant is seen showing off a fully loaded Lively Legz fly box! Thank you to the fellas at Lively Legz for the door prize donation.

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