Your name or any nicknames you have?

Jessica Parr

Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?

I live in Denver, Colorado.  So far this year I’ve fished Ascension Bay in Mexico and some Colorado favorites, with trips planned to fly fish in Oregon and Slovenia.

What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?

I fish all over, but most often fish the Taylor and Gunnison rivers in Colorado.

How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?

I first picked up a fly rod thirteen years ago.  A few years later, I helped start Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions (an adventure education company specializing in wilderness fly fishing expeditions for teens).  I don't guide as much now after a career change to medicine, but I make guest appearances on some of our custom trips for adults, and still guide for Casting for Recovery.

What got you into fly fishing? When did you start? 

I grew up (spin) fishing with my dad in Connecticut and loved it.  I still can't live down the time when I was 5 years old and my parents couldn't find me when they woke up; eventually I was located on the edge of the dock fishing by myself (with my life vest on of course).  I switched to fly fishing after being taught by friends at Colorado College.

Why do you fly fish?  What does it “do” for you?

I've always been terrible at traditional meditation, but fly fishing is my zen.  Standing in the river, I'm in the moment, and everything else just fades away.  

If you own and use a Rod Vault, what do you like about you Rod Vault?

My Rod Vault has been a game changer!  My days off can be few and far between, and having multiple rigs ready to go when I am able to get out maximizes time on the water.  I also love breaking up a long drive with fishing, and have found some roadside gems I would have been too lazy to try if I had to spend the time rigging up.  

As a woman guide/angler, you're definitely in the minority.  What made you decide to be a guide/angler?  

I love teaching other women, whether it be through Casting for Recovery or just fishing with friends.  It’s great to see more and more ladies out on the water- I don’t get as many puzzled looks as I used to from other anglers!

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?

I’ve encountered this more working as a doctor than on the river, but it’s no secret that women have to work harder to be taken seriously in traditionally male-dominated fields.  My advice is to put in the time and let your work speak for itself.

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?

When it comes to reading water, slow down and try casting to less-obvious places.  I've often been surprised by the size of fish I'll catch from a shallow riffle.

What’s your favorite new piece of gear?

 New waders!  I've been patching my old ones up for years and finally gave in.

What is your favorite fly? (To tie, or catch fish on?)

Rubber leg stimulator or a white mini dungeon.  I’d always rather streamer fish than nymph!

Best catch of all time?

A beautiful wild brown trout on the South Island of New Zealand.  After I saw him eat off the surface, I dropped down and belly crawled Curtis Creek Manifesto-style to the bank behind him to cast.  He ate my dry fly, jumped like a maniac, and I was shocked to actually get him to my net on 6x tippet.

What's your "Dream Trip"? 

 It's hard to choose!  If I had the time, I would love to take an entire summer and backpack in the Wind Rivers.  Mongolia is on my fishing bucket list, and I’ve been eyeing a promising atoll in French Polynesia on Google Earth.

What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?

I like fishing Colorado high alpine pocket water the best, but some other standouts would be New Zealand, Ascension Bay in Mexico, and the cayes in Belize (budget-style, renting kayaks and paddling around to fish and camp at a different deserted island every night).

How do people follow you on social media or reach you?

You can find me on Instagram @jessonthefly, or check out www.lillardflyfishing.com to learn more about our teen fishing expeditions or custom trips for adults and families.

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