Finding Places To Go Fly Fishing
When you start fly fishing you'll need to know how to locate places to fish. If you've been fishing with a spinning or a bait rod, you'll already know some of the popular places in your area. But, if you're like most people, you'll probably want to know how to locate spots where you can avoid the crowds and have more space to cast a fly.
Everyone wants to go fishing in places where they're going to catch fish. That's why you'll often find crowds wherever the salmon are running, where the stripers are migrating, or on opening day on the lakes or rivers in your area. You'll probably also want to be part of that, but, like most fly fishers, you'll also want to find some solitude.
There are lots of ways to get information on good places to fish. The first one is usually the state Department of Fish & Wildlife (or an agency with a similar title) in your state. Since they manage the fisheries of the state, they'll have the most complete information. Give a call to the regional office of that agency in your area and you'll find that they usually have lots of maps, brochures, pamphlets, etc., that tell you about good fishing places in the area. They'll also have personnel available to give you directions, answer your questions, and, often, even be able to tell you things like what time of the day or the year to fish, what flies they recommend you use, and more.
Novice fly fishers often join a local fly fishing club in order to be able to go along with experienced fly anglers on the clubs outings. That's a great way to learn about various fisheries, flies, etc. with others who know them well. It's like having some mentors who'll help you see how they catch fish in a certain river or lake.
Clubs also have speakers at their monthly meetings that discuss specific fishing locations and how to fish them. Usually they'll have photos, slides, and "props" for their talk that are very helpful, and they'll usually be available after the program to answer questions.
There are several ways to locate fly fishing clubs in your area. For a listing of fly fishing clubs for women go to my web site www.womensflyfishing.net/clubs.htm to see if there is a club in your area. In addition to the women's clubs two national fly fishing organizations have local chapters/clubs all around the country and in every state. The organizations are Trout Unlimited http://www.tu.org and The Federation of Fly Fishers http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4357 . These links will help you locate clubs in your area. Don't be hesitant to attend a club meeting. All of them are quite welcoming to women. Find a friend to go along with you to a meeting or two if that helps you feel more comfortable. I think you'll find that many women attend these meetings. Go introduce yourself to them and see if they might take you fishing.
Fly fishing shops or sporting goods stores are another source of information about fishing locations, flies to use, when to fish, etc. I know that it is often intimidating for women to go into these stores by themselves because they are oriented to male customers. I think you might be pleasantly surprised, though, if you give it a try. Go in with some specific questions to help get the conversation started. Ask about a certain lake near you, or ask about a river that you've heard other people talking about and you'll get some pretty specific information. Of course, fly fishing shops are usually going to have more information about flies, fly lines, etc. than a sporting goods store, but if you don't have a fly shop in your area, try the sporting goods store.
Another way to find places to go fly fishing is to use the Internet. Just type in the name of a river or lake near you and you'll probably be amazed at what pops up. There will be names of lodges, camps, fishing guides, fishing shops and much more. It is a lot of fun to just call some of them up and say that you are a novice fly fisher and see what service they can offer you. When you are on the internet, you'll find that there are lots and lots of books that will also help you find good fishing spots near where you live. Two wonderful series of fly fishing books cover a lot of areas of the country. They are http://www.nononsenseguides.com and http://www.wildadvpress.com/store/ Otherwise, just type in the name of your state along with the words fly fishing or fly fishing books and see what happens.
I know that lots of women are hesitant to just strike out on their own to go fly fishing-at least until they feel more confident and experienced. Usually, women just starting out will round-up a friend to learn with them so they'll have someone to go fishing with. If that isn't possible for you, then I'd suggest that you make your first few trips with an experienced woman fly fishing guide. Every state has information available on all of their licensed fishing guides, including their women guides. Often you can check the list right on the state fish and game web site, or, you can get the list by calling the department. Although it does not contain the name of every woman who is a fly fishing guide, a list of some women guides is also at www.intlwomenflyfishers.org/. (Don't go out with a guide who is not licensed by your state unless licensing is not required.)
If, for some reason, you can't locate a woman guide, then I suggest that you begin by calling some of the fly shops or fly fishing guide services listed on the internet for your area and ask if they have a woman guide that you can book a fishing day with. Be sure to let them know that you are just starting out in fly fishing, and that you want a guide who will help you work on your casting, your fly selection, your skills in playing and landing fish, etc. If they don't have any women guides, keep calling around and you'll probably find one.
Building a storehouse of knowledge about good fishing locations takes time. I think that half the fun of fly fishing is exploring new places or going to different locations to pursue a fish species that you haven't caught yet. There's a world of possibilities out there just waiting for you. Even Alaska, where I live and fish, and guide women and couples on great fly fishing trips. I'd love to help you get started too.