Your name or any nicknames you have?
Kathleen Galvin-nickname Kiki
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
I live in Falls Church Virginia….so far this year I have been fishing in the Shenandoah National Park, the Adirondacks in New York State, Maryland, Elk Springs resort in West Virginia, limestone streams of central Pennsylvania, South Holston and Watauga rivers in Tennessee and Patagonia Chile.
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
I guide in Virginia as well is Maryland. In Virginia I can take clients to the Dry River, Mossy Creek, Cedar Creek, Accotink Creek, Rose River, the mountain streams of the Shenandoah National Park and the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers to name a few. In Maryland I frequent as well as take my clients to The Gunpowder River, Little Hunting Creek, Big Hunting Creek, Beaver Creek, Catoctin Creek, Little Fishing Creek and Fishing Creek.
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I have been fishing for over 50 years but attended my first fly fishing school in 1996. I traveled to Ashton Idaho in 2002 and participated in the Reel Women Guide School and have been guiding ever since.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
I always loved to fish as a small girl growing up near the Finger Lakes but I think the movie a River Runs Through It had a very important impact on many as well as myself and I was impressed by the artistry and beauty of it. Once I attended that fly fishing school I was hooked-pun intended and the rest of my fly fishing career is history!
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
Besides my own enjoyment that I derive from fly fishing and I can honestly say it fills me up, centers me and gives me perspective on life in general, I have had the incredible honor and privilege to share my passion with others as a guide and a volunteer for many different organizations such as Casting for Recovery, Project Healing Waters and Trout Unlimited.
If you own and use a Rod Vault, what do you like about you Rod Vault?
I purchased my rod vault several years ago and love it! It makes carrying multiple rods easy and saves countless time rigging up rods once you get to the river. It also safeguards against rod breakage from shoving them in your car when you are in a hurry. Once you shut one in your car door you will want to have a “vault” to save face. I also think it looks cool and I get questions all the time about what it is….that gives me a opportunity to sing the praises of the art and sport of fly fishing and the Rod Vault of course!
As a woman guide/angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
I am an ex-school teacher and passionate angler so being an educator is very familiar to me and thus becoming a guide was a natural progression for me. Having such passion for this beautiful sport and the occasion and opportunity to share it with others is the ultimate! Seeing what it can do for others and the healing benefit has also been an encouraging factor for me to stick with it regardless of my gender. After spending many years in the fly fishing community I take every chance I get to promote and reach out to my fellow female anglers and truly believe that our young adults are our future so take a kid fishing.
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 have been very lucky I have not had to deal with any sort of improper advancement by my clients but have had individuals be skeptical of my fly fishing and guiding skills…when that happens my actions (skills) which speak louder that words which I am quite confident in speak for themselves. I think it is also important that when you are given the chance to represent yourself in the angling community that you do it with the utmost grace and professionalism. I think it is incumbent on all of is if we seek the respect of our fellow anglers to be the best angler you can be and know and practice your etiquette. Word travels fast in our community and you can get a reputation quite quickly….positive or negative!
Do you think being a woman gives you a different perspective as an angler/guide? If so, how?
I have found that it does because most of my client’s expectations if they are female are geared towards learning and support and less about performance. By performance I mean just how many fish you can put them onto or they bring to the net. I find women learn and teach differently. There is not as much pressure and anxiety generally about how they perform and this actually presents a more relaxed experience for them. They tend not to challenge your guidance or direction as much as male clients have been known to do. Female anglers can tend to be less competitive as their male counterparts and as a guide it does lessen the pressure that can be placed on me as a guide. Now don’t get me wrong I love to see my client catch fish but oftentimes I find guiding a female to be a more well rounded day on the water.
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?
There is nothing like getting out on the water as much as you can and challenge yourself….try new fishing techniques, know your etiquette and always give of your time to others. Take advantage of all the educational media that is available, take the time to watch other anglers on the water, don’t be shy and ask plenty of questions! Hire a guide if you can as well.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
When it comes to guiding I love my sling pack. It is not new in the sense I bought it recently but as a guide I have made the journey from vest to waist pack to sling pack. It is easy and convenient for carrying all my tools of the trade. Personally I have been using the new air lock indicators which I really like and when the going gets tough I break out the New Zealand wool strike indicator. I have introduced myself and my clients to fishing with a Tenkara rod. I love the simplicity of it and the challenge of landing fish with it. Of course having a Rod Vault has made my days on the water easier and quicker…pull up…pull out and you are in the game simple as that!
What is your favorite fly? (To tie, or catch fish on?)
I love to throw a parachute adams and If I am nymphing a Frenchie.
Best catch of all time?
I journeyed to the famed Miramichi River in 2012 to catch my first Atlantic Salmon. As luck would have it I left the river still a salmon virgin… I had a second opportunity in 2014 to travel to Iceland to angle once again for Salmo Salar. This time my efforts were rewarded and I hooked into and landed several salmon the largest being 95 cm. buck on a 6 wt. rod!
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
I promised myself for my 60th birthday I would venture to Coyhaique Lodge in Patagonia Chile. Last February I experienced my dream trip. It was an incredible journey to the Southern hemisphere. Saw the Southern Cross, witnessed a Umbral Lunar Eclipse and developed a fondness for pisco sours. Oh and the fishing was phenomenal too!!
What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?
I do love me some brookies so any place that I can cast to our native species here in Virginia for one but I have had the good fortune to travel throughout the United States to wet a line. In my birth state (New York) I have swung a fly to big steelhead and floated the mighty Delaware River for big browns, hopped around to all the famous pools of the Catskill rivers as well as all the tannin colored streams of the Adirondacks. I have fished most of the rivers in Yellowstone National Park in my humble opinion the best are located in the North East corner-those being the Lamar, Soda Butte, Slough Creek. I love the mighty Madison River and the most beautiful in Wyoming I think was the Gros Ventre. I also in 2010 completed the Wyoming State Cutt Slam. Fishing the Middle Provo in Utah was amazing in a hail storm and to step into and cast on the fabled pools of the Miramichi River was a true challenge. The Iceland trip was over the top and finally netting my first Atlantic salmon and declaring myself no longer a salmon virgin well what can I say. The South Holston and Watauga Rivers in Tennessee know how to turn on the charm and the lime stoners I have fished in Pennsylvania are steeped in fly fishing history. To fish in another hemisphere to celebrate a milestone birthday was memorable and I look forward to growing older and adding to my fly fishing footprint in rivers to come.
How do people follow you on social media or reach you?
Check me out on Facebook and Instagram as Kikigal56