Your name or any nicknames you have?
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
I currently live in Denver, CO. I will be fishing mostly in the Colorado area but I recently took a trip to Scotland where I was able to go do some casting in one of the beautiful Lochs in the Pentlands.
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
One of my favorite fishing spots is heart lake in Rollinsville. When I’m not fishing on Boulder creek I like to take the rod up to the lake. A pretty decent 4-mile hike, takes you up to a large clearing where you can continue on to go to winter park. The lake is great and doesn’t have too much action. You can find fish rising all day there and catch some gorgeous cutthroats.
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I have been fly fishing for the last 3 years now!
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
Some of my closest friends from College were fly fishing maniacs, all they talked about was fly fishing when they weren’t playing Soccer. I grew up in Wisconsin where I was consistently on the water with my grandfather reel fishing on Lake Winnebago, but I had never really understood the attachment to the fly rod. When I moved out to Colorado, I was lucky that my close guy friends also made the trip down to become fly fishing guides or professional soccer players. My first introduction to fly fishing came from wanting to hang out with my buddies and you would only be able to catch them when they were on the river. Being the competitive person that I am, I wanted to get to the point where I could fish along side them. I started learning with my good friend Jordan Burt, who taught me that fly fishing isn’t about being the best, it’s about learning patience, it’s about connecting with the water, and understanding how to cast the perfect line in just the right spot. After I caught my first rainbow trout, you could say I was “hooked”. Now I find myself trying to go out as much as I can as a way to not only escape from city living, but to learn more and more about my technique.
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
At first, fly fishing was a way for me to connect with my friends who loved it so much. I wanted to be able to spend quality time with them and this was an outlet. From the time I started learning to cast to the time I caught my first miniature trout, I was “hooked”. I finally understood why my friends enjoyed getting out on the water and fly fishing so much.
Fly fishing isn’t just about the act of fishing, fly fishing is so much more. It is about reconnecting with not only yourself but the natural elements. You start to begin to notice the flow of the water where ever you go, or the bugs flying around that have just hatched for the morning. You truly begin to reconnect to nature and all that it provides. I find myself getting lost along the rivers looking for the best pools as I bike past them. I find refuge in sitting along the river, slowly picking through my fly box, searching for the “one”. I forget about everything from my day or the week as I slowly begin to tie my line, constantly learning how to tie the right knot. Fly fishing makes your forget about your worries because concentration on the water is a must. It makes you pay attention to the task at hand as every movement is essential. From my first cast to my last , I never seem to lose the fascination as the fly floats down waiting for a trout to choose that one as it’s meal.
Fly fishing allows me to take deep breaths and remember that life doesn’t always have to be so fast-paced, that every now and then we can take a step back and value the slowness, the patience, the long days on the water.
If you own and use a Rod Vault, what do you like about you Rod Vault?
I currently do not use a Rod Vault, but I have that on my Christmas list!!
As a woman guide/angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
The great thing about fly fishing as a woman, is that when I am on the water, I’m not seen for my gender, but more along the lines of being an angler. My recent trip to Scotland was a testimony to that. I was out on the water for the day in my small rowboat and as I started making my way in, I noticed all of the older gentleman beginning to untie their rowboats from the docks to start their evening of casting after a long day of work. As we tied up our boat to the dock, a fellow angler called out to me ” Any joy?”, I looked at him puzzled and he just repeated “Catch any joy?” and I realize, it isn’t about who is casting, but about the joy that we get from it. I really valued that question, and although I didn’t catch any joy that day, I did enjoy my time out on the water.
Has the fact you’re a female ever been an issue with a client or other angler (such as them hitting on you or maybe talking down to you?) If so how did you manage it/them?
Walking into fly shops with male friends can sometimes overshadow the fact that I am also there to buy flies and materials for my day. I do tend to feel overlooked. However, I was taught to be assertive in these types of situations. I consistently go to the same fly shop where people know who I am which has made me feel more comfortable. I also make sure that I walk in and ask a question about the river as a signal that, in fact, yes, I am the one fishing today.
Do you think being a woman gives you a different perspective as an angler/guide? If so, how?
I think being a woman doesn’t necessarily give me a different perspective, but as a woman, I do enjoy listening to other women talk about fly fishing. I do enjoy engaging with everyone about their fly fishing techniques and any advice that they have. When I learn that another woman fly fishes, it gets me more excited to talk about their experiences, where they go, what makes the enjoy the sport, etc.
What is a piece of advice you want to give to other anglers or a tip/trick that has helped you grow as an angler?
Always ask questions! Ask about the river, ask what flies are best, because the more you ask, the more knowledge you will obtain. Don’t be afraid to go to knot-tying classes or casting classes that fly shops offer. The more you practice the more fun it becomes.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
My lovely friends just gave me a pair of new Orvis Waders for my birthday. I would also have to say that my Western Rise Jacket is a staple for fishing on cold days.
What is your favorite fly? (To tie, or catch fish on?)
oooooo!! My Favorite wet fly as to be the rose-gold stone fly I got from Trouts Fly Fishing. I used it on the Terryall and it was the most popular meal that day. It’s a great color for the water and really well tied.
Best catch of all time?
Although I wouldn’t say that it was the best catch, I would have to say it was the best experience. I was able to do a fly fishing float trip on the Kenai River in Seward, Alaska. I floated down the glacial blue waters of the Kenai casting for massive Rainbow trout. Bald eagles and grizzly bears were waiting for their turn to snatch a big catch. IT WAS AMAZING!
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
My Dream trip would be to go on a backpacking/ fly-fishing trip in New Zealand with some of my best fly fishing buddies.
What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?
Scotland and Alaska
How do people follow you on social media or reach you?
Instagram handle: Ashleexplorer