Fly Fishing: Women on the Water

by Jack T. Wilder

Few outdoor sports are achieving as much newfound interest across the country as fly fishing. And many of those new anglers just happen to be women who enjoy the sport just as much as men. Everyone loves the time spent outside surrounded by the sound of rushing water, hatching insects and maturing cicadas.

Fly fishing isn’t as expensive as skiing or mountain biking, but it has all the same big thrills. As a sport, it is one that the whole family can enjoy together. They can share in big catches and lost fish stories around the campfire. Y

50/50 Campaign

Jackie Kutzer who works at Orvis says the concept of “50/50 on the Water is an Orvis-led, industry-wide campaign to increase gender parity in fly fishing. The focus of this campaign is to make it easy for women to fly fish, celebrate women in conservation and to change perception by showcasing authentic imagery and stories of women fly fishing.” And what a job they have done.

Catherine Emery, a Virginia middle school teacher, fly fishing instructor and mother of two young boys who often tags her Instagram photos with #5050onthewater to show her support, agrees. She says there are more women out there casting a fly rod than ever before and credits the guides and teachers in the industry for leading the way.

“For a long time fly fishing was a good ol’ boys game,” Emery says. “But more and more women are showing up and being welcomed into the sport. Recently on the South River I met an older fella who taught me the correct way to tie a surgeon’s knot and shared his hand tied flies with me. I’m not sure that would have happened even five years ago.”

Orvis is out in front and leading the way. They created a specific team who are working to develop and expand fishing gear, apparel, trips, schools, programs, and storytelling aimed towards helping women who would like to start or continue their journey in fly fishing.

Behind them the rest of industry is rushing to keep up with new offerings for women in waders, boots and schools especially designed for discerning women. Now is the best time to get out there and give it a try.