Your name or any nicknames you have?
Court or C. Pretty short, sweet and well, predictable.
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
I live in Denver, CO, but frequent WY and MT to fish as well. Currently though, I am headed out of state for a couple of months to road trip, couch hop, fish and generally check out of life and in to the river. I’ll be spending not enough time in: WY, MT, ID, OR, NV, CA and UT.
I fish all over the state of Colorado. I have a special place for The Pan and The Fork, but think we have some of the most incredible fisheries and am fortunate enough to have memories tied to the majority throughout the state.
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I’ve been guiding for a little more than a year. Some of my favorite highlights related to fishing have actually occurred in relation to client’s successes while guiding!
As far as personally, I’ve had fly fishing in my life since I was young. My brother was heavy into the lifestyle and I remember watching him as I grew up and feeling like the cool little sister when I would get to conventional fish with him. I came into fly fishing, in a hardcore way, 4 years ago though.
Outside of the exposure as a little kid, a rough divorce brought me into fly fishing. I needed to recenter and find my spot to be present. I had a good friend at the time who was passionate about the lifestyle and took the time to reintroduce me. I instantly knew after my first trip this is where I wanted to be and wanted my life to go. I have done nothing but seek info, education and work on growing in the lifestyle since. It has literally become my life.
As a woman guide/fly angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
Pretty simple for me; my passion. I’m passionate about the lifestyle and not only what it brings to, but also what it brings out in, people. The ability to affect someone or impart, even for a day, the sense of presence fly fishing creates is truly it for me.
Has the fact you’re a woman ever been an issue with a client (such as them hitting on you or maybe talking down to you? If so how did you deal with it/them?
Unfortunately, it has. This issue is more prevalent than is spoken about. I’ve had it happen in ways as passive as poor interactions when walking into fly shops, all the way up to completely inappropriate actions by men when on the river.
This is a reality for women coming into this lifestyle. However, I think with appropriate handling by addressing it and making sure it is clear it is not ok and then a continued push for a legit platform for women in the industry, this can hopefully be minimized.
At the end of the day though, we are anglers just like men. That’s what I want to be seen as; an experienced and respected angler.
I feel that women can bring some unique perspectives to guiding, but ultimately the guide experience is about what the client’s goals are. Regardless of male or female, as long as a guide is dedicated, is well versed in the lifestyle and has a drive to share that with a client, sex of the guide should make no difference.
How can the fly fishing industry and community encourage more women to get involved?
I think that the fly fishing industry has been improving greatly in this area in the recent years. I see a much larger uptake in companies and shops recognizing and including women. I think overall, the industry and shops being open to the fact that there is a swing in demographic and not being afraid to jump in with both feet is the biggest factor. At times, I still sense the idea that the industry is waiting to see if women are a fad. I can promise we are not; we are here and we are good!
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
It’s not necessarily new, but I have an Echo switch rod I bought about 6 months ago. I have completely fallen in love with it! The action, length and weight are incredible and it allows me to handle a 2-handed cast, Czech nymphing or an overhead cast without issue. It’s become one of my go-to rods.
Otherwise, my Rod Vault is my latest and greatest addition. I’ve literally increased my time spent on the water at least two fold without the need to rig up and break down constantly.
Funny thing about this is that it’s not my biggest or most beautiful, but actually my first fish I ever brought to net solo.
I was up on the Fork fishing with a great guy friend who was a huge part of my initial education in fly fishing. I wandered off on my own and was nymphing; I had that feeling where I knew something was going to happen. I set my drift up well, fish took my flies, I had a well timed set and was able to bring the trout to net. I remember feeling the smile on my face and hearing excitement from behind me. My experience ended up being witnessed. It was one of those moments where all aligned and I had that rush that all anglers seek. I was sold!
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
I have a few to be honest. New Zealand, Patagonia, Kamchatka and BC are my tops. My hope is to start checking some of them off my list in the next year.
Honestly, I really love fishing in Colorado. The degree of technicality that our water requires, for various reasons, pushes me to grow and learn. I have spent an extensive amount of time fishing Montana and Wyoming as well and love it there also.
How do people get ahold of you for guiding / sponsorship:
Facebook: Courtney Despos
Stop in and see me at Anglers All!
Cover Photo Credit: Brandon Miller