Women on the Fly

A tribute to women who love fly-fishing

I find it important for me to highlight a few women who have inspired me in some way since I started fly-fishing. All of these women impact my outlook on fly-fishing, and are a big part of why I continue to fish and am constantly intrigued by new species that I have yet to touch. I have to give a big ‘thank you’ to each of you for being a positive influence in my life and sharing the same passion. After my husband initially introduced me to this male-dominated sport, I don’t think my feelings about it would have been the same if there were not other women who shared my love for fly-fishing, and that I could simply relate to in some way or another.

So, here it is ladies and gents’… Women who know a thing or two about pursuing fish with a fly rod, and are pretty amazing in their own unique ways at doing so.

(FYI- This is just the photos and summaries that I have received thus far, and will be adding a few more as they come in later on, so be sure to check this post again later for updates. Thanks for taking the time to email me, ladies!)


Pam Harris

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Pam since I first started steelhead fishing over on the Olympic Peninsula and in Idaho. She is like family to me, and I will forever appreciate the days spent with her out on the river in the cold and rainy climates that we endure with optimism. (Haha…Well, we try anyway.) We always have a warm trailer and delicious food to come back to thanks to her and our dear friend, Debbee Trent. (And, of course, our husbands who are equally as nuts as we are about steelhead, are there to share the experiences with us and “guide” us along the way- even if we are sometimes stubborn to take their advice.) Pam, you’re a true steelhead woman and friend, and I can’t wait to see you out on the O.P. this year!

Here is Pam with an Idaho trout:

Photo by Debbee Trent

What Pam had to say about this fish:
Well, ok not the biggest fish I’ve caught, but catching it was so much fun.  It was the last run of the day on the Salmon, the sun was setting and dinner was calling.  I went through my fly box and picked out something I had never used before since it was so late, I figured I had nothing to lose.  I put on what I called ‘the cheese puff’ (though I’m sure there is a ‘real name’ for the skater) and on the second cast this fish hit so hard I thought it was a monster.  I burst out laughing because I could not believe I caught a fish on a fly I didn’t even remember owning never mind ever using. The fish for its size was quite feisty and put up a great fight, but I landed it and luckily Debbee was there to take the photo.  I will always remember that run as the laughing run as Debbee and I still giggle every time we fish it.”

Whitney Gould

I met Whitney at the Sandy River Spey Clave a couple years ago, and I can’t tell you how impressed I was watching her spey cast. She has this incredibly graceful casting technique that looks effortless, and for someone who is still learning this art, I could have watched her for hours. She is also a total sweetheart, and I wish I could see her more often then merely at spey claves here and there! 

Here she is with a rainbow trout: 

Adrienne Comeau

I will never forget the first time I met Adrienne. I was just getting into spey-casting, and Andrew and I were at the Sandy River Spey Clave in May 2010. That’s where I saw this girl in a pink hooded sweatshirt casting clear across the river like it was nothing. After talking to her for 5 minutes, I was laughing and felt like this wasn’t the first time we had met. Needless to say, I am looking forward to seeing her again some day (hopefully soon!). 

She also has a tendency to swing up monster-sized steelhead like this one in B.C.:

Photo by Josh Nugent

In Adrienne’s words: “This was opening day, before the sun had fully risen, on the Thompson, 2012. First fish out of four that morning on long belly floating line and weighted fly, one of my best days of steelheading ever.”

Check out Adrienne’s blog at: http://femaleangle.blogspot.com/

Mia Sheppard

Mia and her husband, Marty, run a guiding business in Oregon called “Little Creek Outfitters”. http://www.oregonsteelhead.com/
I admire Mia for her ability to be a successful guide, casting instructor, mother and wife, and I find her smile simply contagious. The short time I got to spend with her at Poppy’s Clearwater Spey Clave a little over year ago was enough to discover that she is an awesome person to be around, as well as a phenomenal fisherwoman!

Here she is with her first rooster fish:

What Mia said about this fish: “It was our first trip to Baja to fish for Roosters, swimming in the warm ocean and soak up the sun. To catch one of these amazing fish you fish a 10 wt single hand. Because I’m a steelhead fisherman that uses seven wt spey rods 10 months and a 5 wt single hand the other two months of the year, I had no idea it would be such a challenge to cast a 10 wt. single hand. After my 5th day fishing chasing roosters and no fish to hand, I was humbled and realized, I suck at casting a single hand and better practice for the next trip to Baja. I did manage to land this Rooster the last day there and was stoked, these fish are powerful, fast and exciting! It’s an adrenalin rush!  I learned a good lesson. It pays off to practice casting, before going on a trip to catch a species you have never targeted before and get comfortable with the equipment you’ll be using. This will build your confidence as an angler and put a smile on your face.”


April Vokey

April was one of the first women I saw holding a wild steelhead in a photo, which I swear looked larger than she was, and I was in awe. I soon discovered that she had started a successful fly-fishing company called, “Fly Gal Ventures”, and also that she was coincidentally born and raised in the same part of B.C. as my mother. When I first chatted with her on the phone a couple years ago, while Andrew and I were still living in Idaho, we ended up talking for almost an hour. I think we may have discovered that we had more in common than just fly-fishing. Since then, she has become a friend, and I always look forward to seeing her and sharing stories from both on and off of the water.

Here is April with her first permit fish:

Photo by Ben Grady

What she said about this photo: “There are no words to describe one’s first permit.”

Check out April’s website and blog at: http://www.flygal.ca/

Paula Shearer

I have yet to meet Paula in person, but the times we have chatted via internet, have been a blast. I think there is something about women who love to fly-fish, that just creates a natural connection, and we definitely seem to share that. This Alberta, Canada native cracks me up, and she clearly knows how to fish! I look forward to meeting her some day through our mutual friends.

Here she is with a redfish:

Photo by Nick Pujic

Paula’s words to describe this fish: “This Redfish was caught off the coast of Florida close to the city of Jacksonville. We had taken our stand up paddle boards out to the flood tides to look for tailing redfish. After casting to one of the first redfish I had seen, I was hooked up and fighting this beautiful fish as it pulled me around the grass beds. A few minutes later her tail was in my hand for a couple quick photos. A truly unique experience!”

You can watch Paula and her experience with pursuing redfish on paddleboards at the IF4 film tour. http://www.flyfilmfest.com

Andrea Charlton

I have not had the pleasure of meeting Andrea personally, yet, but I was impressed with her steelhead prowess after seeing her swing flies and get into them on a Fly Max Film that she was featured on last year, along with fellow Canadian’s April Vokey and Dustin Kovacvich, which was filmed on the Skeena River.

You go girl!

Here is Andrea with a bright chrome steelhead from a coastal river in B.C.:

Photo by Adam Tavender
Hannah Belford
Hannah runs a lodge in B.C. called The Damdochax River Lodge and also has her own website http://www.flyfishergirl.com/. Nearly four years ago, when I first got into fly-fishing, she posted a photo of me with my first steelhead on her “Women on the Waters” page, and I was so inspired by all the other women she highlighted who shared this passion for fly-fishing. I will always be thankful to Miss Belford for making me feel like I was a part of something so fun and positive from the beginning. 
Here she is with a steelhead she caught in Argentina:

 Hannah’s thoughts about this fish experience: “I was fishing on the Santa Cruz river in Argentina. I went with friends Tim Romano and Roy Tanami on a photo shoot for Wild On The Fly magazine about 6 years ago. It was without a doubt the best fishing trip i have ever been on, and i very much hope to return one day. Hopefully soon!”

Kate Taylor

Kate, from Rogue Angels, is a fishing guide in Alaska for the Sportsman’s Bear Trail Lodge and is also one of the first women I saw holding a fish and a fly-rod when I was first getting started. I owe most of my blog inspiration to her and all the support she has given me over the past few years.

Here is a photo of Kate with a rooster fish in Mexico, along with her four-legged sidekick, Kayda. I absolutely adore this photo. It has also inspired my next blog post, which will feature fishing ladies and their dogs, because you simply can’t get much better than that!

In Kate’s words: “Fishing for roosters from the beach is one of the most challenging fisheries I’ve faced. Every fish, regardless of size, is a huge victory for the beach angler. Our lab, Kayda, loves it too and often comes swimming out into the water when we catch them!”

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