A Woman's Practical Guide to Flyfishing
You Won't Want to Cut These Classes
One way to learn the basics (or hone your existing skills) is by attending flyfishing schools or classes taught for and/or by women. You might find it less intimidating to be taught by a woman rather than a man.
One popular option in North America is the weekend workshop offered by the organization "Becoming an Outdoors Woman". The workshop getaway is a great opportunity for a girlfriends' retreat-you can learn a number of skills, have fun, and relax in a nonthreatening environment. Check its site for information on locations and classes.
Several states have flyfishing classes/schools tailored to women-your State Department of Fish and Game can usually tell you if they sponsor women's programs. If you're planning a trip to Alaska, try booking a stay at the woman-owned and operated lodge, Women's Flyfishing. Jackson, Wyoming, is home to Fly Fishing Adventures; check their site for more on schools, trips, and locations.
Another option is the well-known Wulff School of Fly Fishing, run by one of the sport's most famous anglers, Joan Wulff. Women receive top-notch flyfishing instruction here. And, if you are an Orvis fan, head to Evergreen, Colorado-Blue Quill Angler has the only Orvis women's flyfishing school in the country.
But if having female instruction and/or all-female classes is not a priority for you, you'll have no trouble at all hooking up with a local fly shop or flyfishing schools for instruction. Wherever you choose to take your instruction or whomever you choose to take it from, you'll likely be introduced to the same basic primer of information. Your course will probably cover equipment needs, sizes and styles of equipment, casting and mending mechanics, and beginning entomology. By the time you are through, you'll better understand why certain flies are used in certain conditions, how to cast and present the fly, how to land a fish, and how to practice catch and release fishing.
Hit the Books: Fly Fishing Books for and by Women
At long last, more and more books are available pertaining to the sport of flyfishing specifically targeting women, especially since women's participation in the sport has blossomed. If you haven't already checked out these books, then now is the time to catch up on some well-respected reading.
For a history of women in the sport, starting with 15th century nun Dame Juliana Berners to present day lady anglers, read the tribute Reel Women, by Lyla Foggia. Foggia includes references for organizations, schools, books, and more. Joan Wulff has several books worth reading (see previous page); another good choice is her video Dynamics of Fly Casting.
Read what women have to say about flyfishing waters across the country in A Woman's No Nonsense Guide to Fly Fishing Favorite Waters by Yvonne Graham. For a book full of facts and illustrations, you'll want to check out Cathy Beck's Fly-Fishing Handbook (see previous page). If you are ready for the art of tying your own flies, look into Fran Betters' Fly Fishing-Fly Tying and Pattern Guide by Francis Betters (it might be tough to find, but it's worth it) and Fly Tying by Helen Shaw.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication