Fishing with April… {British Columbia Fly Fishing}

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of photographing the action of an upcoming TV show called “Shorelines” which will premier on WFN January 2015.

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I hadn’t yet met April, but have wanted to ever since I got into Fly Fishing. As most of you know… she’s quite the girl. Funny, kind, adventurous, passionate and loves fishing more than anyone I know… except for my husband.

When I got the call to ask if I wanted to come photograph for the show, it was an immediate “HELL YEAH!!”

I’d never been to BC.It’s more beautiful than I could have imagined. I am officially in love with Canada.

It was quite the week. Photographing her fishing was awesome & painful. Awesome because I was in some amazing places, photographing my fishing hero, and exploring with an amazing crew. Painful in the sense that I WANTED TO BE FISHING SO BAD! But I had to put my professional game face on… or so I thought…

While spending time with April, it was clear that we just “got” each other. She is hilarious, crazy, spontaneous, adventurous and not afraid to act silly. We laughed so hard I think I grew abs on that trip. Making new friends that truly get you is rare, but one of the greatest things you could ask for. April said I’m her “Sista from another mista” and I couldn’t agree more. I don’t have any sisters… grew up with 3 crazy brothers… but now I have a “Fly Sister”, and it’s pretty great.

Okay enough of the mushy friend love… I’m sure you all want to know what really went down on this trip and see some pics!

Here are my top 10 memories from our trip (not in any particular order):

10: Exploring the incredible scenery.

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9: Seeing some awesome fish fights.

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8. BEARS! We saw lots… it was neat.

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7. Working with the awesome crew of Vantage Point Media. These guys are the best, and SO much fun!

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6. Watching April cast. It’s a beautiful thing, and I watched and studied a lot… when I finally got the chance to fish, she helped me out and I am finally getting the hang of spey casting!

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5. Colby & Moky. These dogs are so special, and love adventure as much as their parents!

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4. Horse Head Memories. We had way too much fun with this freaking thing.

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3. Hanging with Gene & crew at the incredible “Bear Claw Lodge“. New bucket list item: Heliski and stay at this place!

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2. Learning the history behind it all. April has researched so much about steelhead and atlantic salmon. Where it all started, the pioneers behind it, tradition flies used, history, the way these fish live, move, where they come from, where they go… and much much more. It was amazing to get a tiny chunk of her knowledge and learn some history behind the amazing passion of chasing steelhead.

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April & Charles catch their first steelhead as a married couple! (Pic not taken on this trip… it was just too cute not to add)

   1. Fishing with April, Charles & Catherine. These are some of the nicest, funnest, adventurous, passionate people I have ever known, and it was a life highlight to be able to share these experiences with them.

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Matt got some awesome steelhead too! He was in heaven!

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My FIRST BC steelhead on the swing!!! An amazing feeling.

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This is what helplessly happens to your body after you catch a beautiful steelhead:

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Thank you April, Charles, Cat, VP Media, WFN, and everyone else involved in this awesome show.

Matt and I had the time of our lives and we better see you all again soon!!

Follow April on her journey here:

Instagram: @aprilvokey

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AprilVokey

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Q&A with Tracy Moore- Montana Fly Girl

I had a bunch of questions from you guys on my facebook page, messages and emails… so I am going to try and answer them all as best I can.

The following is only my opinion… and I still have a LOT to learn, so take it with a grain of salt. ;)Screen shot 2014-07-17 at 2.13.08 PM

My “go to” fly when I’m struggling with knowing what they are eating is usually a prince nymph. This all depends, of course on what waters you are fishing… but in Montana, seems like most fish will slurp this up on most occasions.

But on normal occasions… I just ask my hubby, Matt. He seems to always know what they are eating. I have a little bit of an advantage being married to an awesome guide!

 

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Chris- It would be great to make it out there someday and fish with ya for some of those beauties!! We’ll see! ;)

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Richard- Haha, I am not sure I am the best person to teach someone else how to fly fish as I am still not an expert… but I am up for trying anything! I would suggest signing up for a local fly fishing/casting class in your area. Call some local fly shops, they should be able to recommend some. As for my favorite fly… I am pretty obsessed with Hoppers. It’s my favorite season. Nothing like floating a big old hunky hopper on the surface and see a big trout slurp that baby up!

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Mike- For the Madison, I have only fished it a handfull of times, but if you are going to float, I suggest the upper stretch. It has gorgeous views and plenty of great fish. If you are wading or want some streamer action, I would go with the lower stretch. For the Gallatin, I’m not sure what stretch, but I can tell you even though it’s a smaller river, it has some massive trout in it! Nice deep banks great for streaming and I have pulled out some pretty large brownies out of there! It’s a really fun river. I would call a local fly shop in that area to find out more information (much better info than I could give you!)! :) Have a great time!!!

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Samuel- I love our Sage rods. (The one is probably my favorite right now). For reels, I love Hatch. Very smooth & well built. Fly line, RIO is the best. My hubby just did a blog post about it here, check it out for lots of great info!

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Monica- I have never used a hornberg… sorry you didn’t have luck with it out here! For the Big Horn river, I like using my Sage One 5 weight, with the 3 plus finatic Hatch reel. I love RIO line, it’s the best.

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Jeffrey- This is way too hard of a question!! I have so many more rivers to fish until I can answer this! Haha… for now, I would say I like the Big Horn the best. Probably because some of my favorite memories are on that river. I learned so much on that river, we are always there, it always produces great fish, and it always makes for a fun day! Outside of Montana, I loved fishing the Kanektok river. Sooooooo many salmon my arm hurt!!!!

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Thomas- Never read the book, but I do love the movie! It’s always inspiring to watch. Especially because we fish in some of the same spots the movie was filmed at! This scene is the BEST:

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David- Ha! Not sure!! It’s definitely becoming a more popular hobby/sport for many women now. The ladies are finally catching on and having a blast!

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Theresa- I started my photography business 5 years ago, and Matt fully supported that and helped any way he could. I just decided to go for it while I’m young and don’t have much to lose… and I’m so glad I did! As for Matt… he decided to become a Fly Fishing guide pretty recently, and it’s not his own business as he guides under other outfitters, but it was similar to my experience. Quit the job you hate, do what you love, and I believe you will be successful if you are truly passionate about what you do. Our next business venture together will be Rod & Reel Adventures. More coming on that soon. :)

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Samantha- Sometimes good fish pics are so tough to get!! Here are my top 3 suggestions in a nutshell on how to take better pictures while out on the river:

1. Camera Selection: I have taken my $5,000 professional set up out on the river, I have used my Canon G11 (A smaller digital camera), and just my plain old iPhone… and you know what? I found the best camera you can have on the river is whatever you have in your hand at the time! Of course, the fancy cameras can do some more fancy things… but that’s not what the average person has. And it is a pain in the ass to take along with you. I would shoot for a smaller waterproof digital camera (I hear the Panasonic Lumix is a great one).

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2. Lighting. Light is very important for a good picture. I would either find a shaded spot, or direct sunlight for fish pics. Steer clear of the sun hitting you from the side, that will cause awful shadows and make the detail of the fish harder to see.

3. Hand position. Hold the fish right under its neck (behind the fins) with one hand, and wrap your other hand tightly (but not too tight) around the tough spot right behind the tail. Hold it out towards the camera with a slight arm bend. Don’t straight arm it to make it look bigger… everyone knows. ;)

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Emily… you will look adorable in one of the Maji Love headbands! There are many ways to wear it. With your hair up in a smaller headband, hair down more hippie style, with a braid… and much more. Play around with it and see what your favorite style is! They are great on the river, keeps hair out of the way!

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August- the best time is NOW! :) I have a friend who is already teaching his 3 year old how to fly fish! Go into your local fly shop and ask what the best set up is for her and get her on the river!

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Wayne- Dry fly? Streamer? Nymphing? Too tough of a question unless I know more details. I love fishing during hopper season as I said before, but for nymphing, A good old prince nymph with a midge dragging is always a good set up for some rainbows!

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Anthony- Heck yes! When and where?! We love steelheads and haven’t got to fish them much… always down for a new adventure!

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Thanks, Tim!! Come back out and visit!

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I just did a post on this last week, check it out here to see what I need when I get out there!

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Jason- try the Stillwater, Yellowstone or take a little drive and hit up the Gallatin or the Madison! Ask local fly shops what their favorite wading stretches are and what they are hitting on, and have fun exploring!

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Steve- haha! Man… all my fly girl friends are taken! They get snatched up fast!! Someone should invent a dating site for fly fishing lovers…

Thanks for all the questions, you guys! Hope some of my answers helped! Like I said before… I am NO expert and these are just my opinions… so feel free to comment with your own suggestions or corrections in the comments!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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5 Things I Must Have With Me On The River.

I have many favorite things that I love having while fly fishing. But I’m going to make this list short and sweet and just go with 5 of my favs.

1. Redington Waders. I have the Sonic-Pro but I am not sure they still carry this model. I checked out the site, and these look pretty sweet too: http://www.redington.com/fly-fishing-waders/waders/womens/siren-wader-marilyn/

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2. Fishing Lanyard. I love having the tools I need around my neck. Makes things so much easier. Check out http://www.westernvisionslanyards.com/ and get one!

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3. Headband. I am almost always wearing a headband while fishing. I wear hats occasionally, but love the headbands I had made in Tanzania. They are comfy, keep my hair out of the way, and they help out the kiddos I love in Mafia Island! So it’s a win, win!

You can order them here: www.etsy.com/shop/majilove

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4. Red Bull. No explanation needed. It just makes me more awesome. And maybe more annoying, but at least I am having fun…

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5. Good Peeps. Fishing with an awesome crew, or a good friend always makes the day better. I am not a good solo-fisherwoman… I need socialization. So grab your crew and hit the water!!

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What do you have to have on the river? I’d love to hear your answers! Comment and let me know!! Have a great weekend!

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7 Reasons Fly Fishing Isn’t Boring. (Not just for Old Men!)

“But… isn’t that like… boring? A hobby for old men?”

This is a statement I constantly hear. To be honest, I used to think the same way.

When you think of fly fishing… you think of an old man wading in the shallow waters of a river, puffing on his cigar, with his white-faced yellow lab at his side.

Well folks, this idea of fly fishing couldn’t be more untrue. The sport has evolved, times have changed. Yes, of course there are still a lot of older gents out there on the river, but there are also all kinds of other people out there, too.

Every type of person, old and young, male and female, beginners and experts.

I always thought fly fishing was boring…

I was so wrong.

Here are the top 7 reasons why fly fishing isn’t boring:

1. ADVENTURE

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Most fly fishers are also adventure junkies. They love so much more than just the fishing part of this sport. It’s about the destination, the hiking, the memories, the conversations you have with the people you are with. Getting caught in a thunderstorm while having a 25 inch trout hooked on your line, sliding down a mudslide to get to an amazing untouched location, flying across the world in search of a fish you’ve only dreamed of seeing in real life. So. Many. Adventures.

2. SCENERY

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To go along with #1… all of these adventures will bring you to some of the most beautiful locations ever. I would have never visited half of the locations I have seen over the years if we didn’t go to fish there. Fly fishing takes you to some unforgettable places that will be etched in your mind forever. It forces you to explore this amazing planet, and venture out to see new things. Sometimes I get so focused on the fishing… I forget to take a break and appreciate my surroundings.

3. THE FISH

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When you first learn to fly fish, most likely, someone will let you use their rod, tie everything onto it themselves, not really explain much, and wish you good luck. Or they will hook a fish, then hand you the rod to reel it in. That takes a lot of the fun out of it. Once you learn what rod to use for what purpose, how to tie the fly on yourself, and casting it into a spot you think the fish are hanging out in… then you hook one… once you do that… it’s on. The game has changed. You will appreciate that fish so much more. The fight will mean more to you, the pride feels awesome, and you will get more and more hooked every time this happens.

Take the time to appreciate the beauty of each fish, and enjoy the fight it gives you, and treat that fish with respect by unhooking it, letting it breath, snapping a quick shot, then revive and release and watch it swim away with a big ‘ole smile on your face.

4. GOOFING OFF

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Fly fishing is perceived as a very serious sport. I won’t lie… a lot of people do take it too seriously. There are some we refer to as “the grumpies” on the river. The people who don’t respond when you say hello. The people who give you dirty looks when you have a fish and are screaming for joy. My advice? Ignore the grumpies. Fly fishing doesn’t have to be so serious. We goof off all the time on the boat, and in the water. Relax, have fun, and enjoy the silly moments. Like when your friend falls off the boat. (Dennis… Kerry…)

5. CAMPING

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A lot of our fly fishing trips include camping. These two go hand in hand so well. We have done 2 day camping trips, up to 3 week camping trips. Check out areas near you that have the option of floating, fishing, then camping. One of our favorites is the Smith River, we had a total blast last year and look forward to doing it again.

6. FRIENDSHIPS

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Some of our best friends we met through others in the fly fishing industry. When you share the same passion, it’s easy to bond and create a lasting friendship. We’ve gone on some really fun adventures with some incredible people, and I appreciate the friendships that I’ve made in this industry. Also, bonding more with friends I already have through the sport… when you are stuck on a boat together for hours… it’s a sure way to bond. :)

7. SURPRISES

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There are always surprises while fly fishing. Whether it’s getting stuck in a crazy storm, falling off the boat, seeing snakes, turtles, bears, or moose, getting lost, fishing in the dark because you thought the float was much shorter… and millions of other unforeseen events. These surprises always keep you on your toes and you’ll have a great story afterwards. So get ready for anything to happen… and just go with the flow.

See?

Fly fishing isn’t boring. It is what you make it.

Now, go get out there and have some adventures!!

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Smith River {Part 2} The Video Footage…

Matt just created a video recap of our trip to the Smith River. Enjoy a peek into our crazy adventure… sorry for the “F” bomb that Matt drops just moments after consuming the largest gin & tonic I have ever seen. (Thanks to Gary at Heaven on Earth for that…) Haha!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/67168011″>Smith River 2013 with Montana Matt and the Crew</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user4941051″>Tracy Moore</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Smith River Floating Trip {Matt’s Dirty Thirty Party}

We have been trying to get a permit to float the Smith River for a few years now, and we finally drew one this year! It was perfect, because we got to float on Matt’s birthday week to celebrate his 30th with some of our awesome friends!

Not sure if any of you have floated the Smith before, but if you ever get the chance- DO IT.

It’s a blast. We chose to float it in 4 days (but I believe you have an extra optional day). We fished, we consumed lots of beer, we hiked to an amazing pictograph cave, we laughed a ton, enjoyed nature and I half-loved having no service for 4 entire days. ;)

Our friends Tiffany & Lucas drove up from Colorado for the float, and we also had our good buds Richard & Josh too.

Coming home after 4 days in nature is bitter sweet. You don’t want to come back to real life… but you soon remember that real life has hot showers and soap. Real life also has fluffy pillows and soft mattresses. So it’s sad to come home, but it’s also awesome.

What floating/fishing/camping trips have you all done? What trips are on your bucket list?

Enjoy a few pics from the trip, there is more on my facebook page here: Montana Fly Girl FacebookImageImageImageImageImageTip for camping/floating food. Prep a ton of tinfoil meals and freeze them before you go. These breakfast burritos were the BEST. We made them beforehand (eggs, cheese, sausage, potatoes, peppers & onions) and we just threw them on coals in the morning and they were DELISH & so easy!ImageImageImageImageImage

Josh brought his pipe along… so we all enjoyed it.

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Some fun late night light painting!

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Rock climbing to the pictograph caves!

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Amazing trip with great friends, can’t wait to do it again!!

Face your Fears. {Stratosphere SkyJump- 855 Free Fall}

What are you afraid of?

Not finding your soul mate soon? Staying with a job you hate forever? Scared of Heights? Scared of Spiders?

Whatever you are scared of… it’s time to face it.

Jody Blume said, “Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

So… are you going to experience adventure… or are you going to limit yourself with fear?

Choose adventure. I promise you will never regret it.

Here is a quick video of myself jumping off the Stratosphere Hotel in Vegas a couple years ago. Yes… I jumped off the Stratosphere Hotel. I was in Vegas with my Studio Manager, Steph, and a couple of my best friends, Sara & Leann. We were there for a photography convention called WPPI and at the last minute, before we had to catch our flight, we decided to face our fears and jump. It was incredible. I was so scared… but when I was at the bottom looking up, I felt stronger… braver. I encourage you all to face your fears, and do something crazy.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Happy Thursday, you brave kids!

::xoxo:: – Tracy

Interview with Jennifer de Graaf {Canadian Hottie who can Outfish the Boys}

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Jennifer and I got connected through facebook. I am not sure the first time I came across this awesome girl… but I think it may have been on the Trout Porn page where her alias “Grasshopper” would post some sweet fish pics (along with the whole TP crew).

I automatically loved this girl- she loves fly fishing, she is an amazing photographer, and she snowboards. I was like… I think I found my Canadian twin!! So needless to say I am bummed that we don’t live closer… but we are making plans to fish together soon when she visits Montana!

We had a skype date the other day, and this girl is hilarious. She was cracking me up the whole time. I loved hearing her stories, her passion for the outdoors & her love of photography.

Hope you enjoy her interview! Keep track of all her adventures with contact info at the bottom!

Name: Jennifer de Graaf

Nickname(s): Jenny, Jenn, Grasshopper

Where are you from? Grew up on an acreage outside of Lethbridge, Alberta – Canada

Where do you reside currently? Fernie, British Columbia – Canada

What makes you happy? Any outdoor adventure! My pets! My boyfriend!

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why? David Susuki – I respect everything he does to protect the earth we take from. I could talk to him for DAYS! I wish I had his strength/ambition to take less and to give more…

If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? I would pay off my debt, build my photography business so it was very successful, I would get involved with conservation projects in Canada, I would do everything I could to reduce SUFFERING of any person or creature. These are the things I am passionate about.

How did you get into fishing? A past boyfriend of mine in 2008 taught me!

Favorite fish to chase? Why? Bull Trout! They fight hard and the places a Bull Trout hunt will take you are likely to be breathtaking!

Favorite place you’ve ever fished? lol Wouldntyouliketoknow River :)

Dream fishing location? Kamchatka – NOT just because of the fishing though. The history and the landscape of that place fascinate me! I want to hike, snowboard and fish there!!

Favorite fishing partner? My Boyfriend Ian!

What do you do when you aren’t fishing? I hike, snowboard, snowshoe, snowmobile, cliff jump, photography, work at my day job, walk my dog, hang with family and friends :)

Best memory while fishing? Oooooo well I have a couple but I will share this one: Before me and my boyfriend were dating and we were just getting to know each other I invited him to go fishing… I had a broken arm at the time from crashing into a tree at the ski hill, I had a cast. I was maybe two or three weeks into the healing process. Well I hooked a fish on the first couple casts – A pike actually, out of a river that had a great red and green coloration and was HUGE. Hehe I caught a significantly bigger fish than him that day and I think he fell in love ;P – Also my arm hurt real bad and took a lot longer to heal.

Craziest fishing related story? Well there are way too many but I will tell you one memory: One time I went out fishing in Fernie BC (BY MYSELF)…I was having a blast but really alert and maybe a bit scared of the bears. If you know anything about Fernie you know there are a ton of black and grizzly bears!! SO I was really watching out for them and I had my bear spray with me just in case. Well I was walking along the river (Quite small maybe two or three meters wide) and all of a sudden I see something big on the bank across from me!! AHHH I was so scared…It wasn’t a bear though it was a male moose! He was super frisky pounding his hoofs on the ground and swinging his head back and forth and then….He proceeded to get in the water and cross literally RIGHT beside me…I was so scared and enthralled. so I dropped my rod and slowly started backing up and at the same time trying to fumble with my camera to get a pic(didn’t get one). I realized that there wasn’t any where for me to go so I watched him(Heart racing!) cross right in front of me and go into the forest behind me. I sat there and thought “Time to go home or keep going” I stood there for a while…. Decided to keep fishing! So I threw a San Waun worm right in the pool were the moose had just crossed and on the first cast I caught a nice 14″ cutty…. So awesome!

You wouldn’t leave for a fishing trip without your: Camera

Favorite quote? ‘Be good to the fish and the fish will be good to you.’ – The old men around here like to say that a lot. I believe it though and I do everything I can to handle fish properly, clean up garbage and NEVER leave fly line on river! Also I always report a poacher!!

Favorite Rod: Redington 6wt

Favorite Boots: I love my Redingtons!

Do you tie your own flies? Tying flies is overrated. It takes me like three hours to tie a fly and it really doesn’t save you any money. I have caught fish with my own tied flies and that IS a cool feeling, but I am freakin busy man. I just don’t got time for that!! So I will always buy flies and once in a blue moon I will tie a few.

What do you want to improve about your fishing? My patience level – I get so grumpy when I am not catching fish that it takes away from the rest of the experience like the beautiful place I am in or the company I am with! And pretty much everything else…I am no pro that is for sure I have only been fishing since 2008 and I have a long way to go!

What are your biggest strengths when it comes to fishing? My cast. I think I have pretty damn good cast.

What advice do you have for other ladies breaking out into the fly fishing world? Be patient with yourself! Give it a good honest try for a month or two! Watch videos, read articles, take lessons. 

Do you feel any disadvantage being a woman in the fly fishing world? Just pure strength. Men are stronger period. I have a hard time crossing some of the really big rivers so I am thankful that my boyfriend lets me hold on to his arm when we cross!! Other than that nope!

Anything else you want to share? If you don’t like fishing I am totally cool with that! That is one less person on the river!! ;P

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Head over to her facebook page and say hello!

Jennifer’s Facebook Page

Jennifer’s Photography Website

Thanks for letting me interview you, Jennifer!! Can’t wait to fish with you!!

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A great day on the river with my Dad, after wayyyyy too long of a break.

“They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas.”  - Anonymous

One of the best days on the river was when my Dad came to visit us out here in Montana from Colorado. He hadn’t ever been fly fishing with us. He hadn’t picked up a fly rod in decades. He talked about his love for it back in the day. I could see his eyes light up with joy just imagining the happy memories of his younger days. Life is hard, it’s not always full of good memories. So those times we get lost in happy moments, are so precious.

So I said, “Time to make new happy memories Dad!” and off to the Big Horn River we went…

It was an amazing day. He was right back in the swing of things and after a quick casting lesson with Matt, he was on his way. He caught some great fish, and like most days, lost some great fish too. Matt said he knows where I get my feisty attitude from. He also seemed to pick up on where I picked up my temper from. When my dad lost that beautiful, humungo trout… he may have said some naughty words. It all made sense to Matt. ;) Thanks Dad for making me laugh all day.

That day was so special to me, and I know it was really special to my Dad. I love how I can share this with him and enjoy it as much as he does.

Nothing like a good day on the river with the people you love.

My Dad holding me, September 16th, 1986.

Born & Raised in Southern California… I don’t think he would have guessed in a million years that little lady would grow up to love fly fishing. ;)

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PS- in that last pic, no… that is not slobber being transfered from the fish to me. EW. It’s my glowing hair in the background! I do not actually kiss my fish… I just pretend. ;)

“It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.” – John Sinor

I want to add on to that quote. My dad did take me shopping, as well as play barbies with me all the time after he got done with a long day of work. Now, we go fishing together. And that is something I can add to the list of all-time memories to the Daddy-daughter list.

Big Giveaway!!! C&F Design Fly Box, Flies, Simms Hat & The Longest Silence Book!

Happy Thursday everyone!!

I felt like being a giver today… so I put together a sweet little bundle that will make you smile when you win it. :)

It’s pretty easy. Go like my facebook page, comment on this blog post, and then share this contest with your friends on facebook so they have a shot too!

Winner will be announced April 1st. Then maybe I’ll pretend you didn’t win and say “April Fools!” ;)

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Your Fishing quote for the day:

Fisherman’s Prayer

Lord help me to catch

a fish so large

that even I in the tell of it

never need to lie…

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