My 5 "Must Haves" For Fly Fishing

I have gotten a lot of questions recently regarding what my "must haves" are for fly fishing. I have put together a quick little list of my personal favorite items to have on hand for a day on the river. So as not to insult your common sense, I am not including the basics, such as gear, on this list (read: rod, reel, line, etc...) Instead, these are just some extra things that I always have with me while fishing.

1. Sunscreen. I burn easily. Plus, wrinkles and sun damage are not cool, so I try my best to avoid them. I always make sure to use sunscreen. ESPECIALLY on my hands!!

2. Hat Or Buff. I like wearing a hat because my eyes are super sensitive to bright light, so it helps keep the sun out of my eyes. But, sometimes when a hat just isn't workin' for me, I'll throw on a buff as a headband. Check out my current favorite brand: www.hoorag.com

3. Snacks. I always carry a protein bar, dried mangos, or some other quick snack with me. Because I am ALWAYS hungry. 

4. Camera. Whether it's my fancy shmancy Canon or my trusty iPhone, (because let's be honest, who wants to lug a big camera around all of the time) I make sure to always have a camera handy. Not just for the grip 'n' grins, mind you. I have seen so many incredible things while on the river. Wildlife, breathtaking sunsets, my husband's gorgeous cast...I've learned the hard way to NEVER be without a camera. 

5. A Good Attitude. Because any time spent fly fishing is a good time, even if you don't catch a damn thing. And EVEN if all you catch are a few measly Whitefish. ;)


When You Kill It On a Dry Fly

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If you've been fly fishing for long, and particularly if you have been using primarily dry flies like me, you are surely aware of the fact that some times the bite is on and sometimes it is not. When it is not, you trek up the river for hours, casting and switching out flies to no avail. It is disheartening. It is tempting to simply throw on a nymph or a streamer...anything to improve your odds of catching something.

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Not catching anything can put you in a bad mood faster than snagging a bush on the opposite side of the shore can.

But, when the bite is on - well, there is no better way to describe it than to say that it is magical. The sense of euphoria that engulfs you when you land one giant trout after another on a dry fly is something that you wont get anywhere else. It means not only that the fish are eager and hungry, but that you are giving them exactly what they want. You're doing it right.

I recently just absolutely killed it on the Ruby river in Montana. It was unlike any other day of fishing that I have ever had. I could do no wrong. The moment my fly hit the water's surface, it was gobbled up by one monster after another. Killing it on a dry fly is not only fun and exhilarating, but it's also reason to feel pretty darn good about yourself. Because catching a trout on a dry fly is arguably tougher than any other method of fly fishing. It is fly fishing in its purist form, and when you catch over a dozen in a matter of a few hours on one? Well you can consider yourself the proud owner of some major bragging rights, my friend.

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Why I Fly Fish

"With My Silken Line and delicate hook, I wander in a myriad of ripples And find freedom."

Emperor Li Yu, 6th Century

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I get a wide array of responses when people find out that I am a fly fisherwoman. I have had other women tell me that I am an inspiration. I have been told that I motivate other women to get outside, try new things, and seek out adventure. On the other hand, I have been told that I am weird for getting into fly fishing. A lot of women don't get the appeal of the sport, or of the great outdoors at all for that matter. To them, my behavior is deviant; strange even.

I can't really explain why fly fishing has captured me the way that it has. At best, I can try to put into words what draws me to it and what thrills me about it. It has something to do with the art and the science of it; of being outdoors in some of the most beautiful places that are inaccessible to those who are not willing to get their feet wet. It is the feel of a rod, swaying gracefully with every forward and backward motion of my forearm, and the elegant curve of line arching overhead. It's something about how it requires me to read the various movements of the river, and how it forces me to think like a fish, targeting it with a precise and calculated deception. It has to do with the feel of the river flowing against my legs and the cool chill of the water, emanating through my waders. It's the firm, slick rocks under foot that I must carefully maneuver over in my deliberate trek upstream. It's the way my muscles ache and my palms burn at the end of a long day on the river. And of course...it is the sudden tightening of the line that comes simultaneously with the shattering eruption of a trout breaking the surface from somewhere deep below and grabbing hold of that fly that I placed ever-so intentionally overhead for him.

Fly fishing is a muscle burning, life changing, soul rejuvenating, gut wrenching, exhilarating, freedom finding, beautiful sport. I'm hooked.