Your name or any nicknames you have?
Francisca, Fran seems to be easier to remember and say though 🙂
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
Colorful Colorado! I recently moved to Almont, a small town (if you can even call it that) in between Gunnison and Crested Butte. It feeds into the beautiful Taylor Canyon.
Well, the Taylor RIver is my backyard, literally, so I’ll be spending a good amount of time learning and scouting the water any chance I get. I’ll definitely be exploring the East river, Gunnison River, the Black Canyon in Gunni, and the Slate. Outside of Colorado though, the Savage river in West Virginia and Maryland for some Brookies, and hopefully head back to my old stomping grounds in Utah
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
I’ve spent a great amount of time on the South Platte River…I know 11 Mile Canyon like the back of my hand. One of my favorite sections of the SP is Tomahawk, I’ve had some of the best /funniest/ and most rewarding memories there! Haha, I’ll never forget the time my poor little pup got porcupined in the face, so sad, but kinda funny after we confirmed she was alright 😉 I fish Grape Creek, upper and lower section, as often as possible mid spring to late fall, it’s one of the funnest creeks to wade through and explore, I typically plan on spending my entire day there. Pomeroy lake, challenging and beautiful hike, rewarded with pristine Cutthroat, Rainbows, and if you’re lucky…Grayling!
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
For about a year and a half now, I was introduced to it maybe 3 years ago but didn’t find that love and passion until I tried it again and felt that sweet tug at the end of my line.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
My sweet boyfriend introduced me to fly fishing. 3ish years ago he came up to me at work and invited me out to his “favorite place ever to see the most beautiful trout” on our next day off together. Beaver Creek, he wasn’t joking, that place is amazing.
I got really into it when we spent the day at Grape Creek, I had caught my very first trout ever ever ever! It was the most perfect 5 minutes, I was 100% focused and determined to not get skunked or lose my fish…again. I fished a size #18 Parachute Adams, my cast was on point, I caught the perfect drift, I watched as he rose up to my fly and BAAAM, perfect hook set on a beautiful brown. I couldn’t stop telling everyone about how awesome my day was from finally landing a trout. It was all I could think about, even when I tried falling asleep, every time I closed my eyes all I could see were fish in a river… it still happens on full fishing days!
As a woman guide/fly angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
I’ve never been the type of girl to back out of an activity because the male to female ratio is greater. If I enjoy what I’m doing then I’ll keep doing it, I don’t want to miss out on something I love and crave. I’m very fortunate to have a male figure by my side who taught me everything I know about fishing and who most of the time is fishing right along side of me and encouraging me when I haven’t had the best day, or reminding me of the little things and adjustments I should make that make the biggest difference and usually turns my day around. His support, as well as the support of all my followers on instagram, many of them males, plays such a huge role on why I love getting out on the water and learning more and more about the sport.
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?
I’ve never been talked down to, although I do notice, if my boyfriend and I are in conversation with a male guide (usually older, 40s+) or a male fly shop associate that they will ignore or look like they’re not interested in what I have to say, as if I couldn’t possibly know what I’m talking about… it’s kind of a bummer, but it doesn’t effect me in the slightest bit, I just brush it off and sometimes just leave the conversation, hopefully making a point to “said guide” that I also, am not very interested in what they further have to say.
And then there’s the polar opposite, a sweet older gentleman that watches you sight fish and hook on, all the while cheering you on with encouragement, and once you let that sweet fish swim back under its rock, he comes up to you with a big big smile, a warm pat on the back and says “if you were my daughter, I’d be so proud of you.” ….
Do you think being a woman gives you a different perspective as a guide? If so, how?
Mmmmm… yes and no… Haha I think patience is key, and it’s something that my mother has always taught me growing up. For me, being impulsive or impatient never resulted in anything good. I’ll stand by that firmly, the second I start to lose patience or I get competitive and lose my focus and rhythm I end up with the world’s worst knot, or my flies stuck on a tree/bush or even on myself. I notice when I’m fishing with my fly gals that we’ll all be caring and feeling for each other, whether someone gets hurt, or they lose a nice fish, or even when one of us gets a bad knot or has to re-tie. We’re also first responders to cheer each other on and help net if they need it and of course to get that picture 😉 Then I compare that to watching guys fish together and it looks as if they could almost care less about what’s going on with who, a big pat on the back, a high five, or a “nice fish, man!” from a ways down the river does the trick, I guess. And that’s fine! Haha, boys will be boys! What my point is, that patience and maternal (I don’t have kids, but all my fly gals do) care translates so well to how we view the waters and the environment and people were fishing with or around, creating a more enjoyable and stress-free time fishing…. In my opinion.
How can the fly fishing industry and community encourage more women to get involved?
I love that some fly shops have a woman’s fishing club. I’d encourage any and all to keep that alive, and if it’s not a thing in your shop, hire a savvy fly gal to run a group and encourage those who might be starting out or might need some fishing gals to go out with while the guy friend /boyfriend/ hubby is at work! I’ve literally met all of my fly gals via instagram, and now, they are my dearest friends that I’ll ALWAYS have a special bond with and will continue to fish with any chance I get. Before I met them, I’d have to wait for the next day off with my boy to have a full and adventurous fishing day or trip.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
I love my Simms Rogue fleece hoodie! I’m literally cold ALL OF THE TIME, and this jacket does it for me sooo well. It’s form fitting, even on the wrists. I could stick my whole arm in the water, none of the water would even touch my base layers, and in 5 minutes tops it’s completely dry.
Best catch of all time?
My boyfriend, who shared his love and passion for fly fishing with me Hahaha… JK…
I’m super big on some summertime alpine lake fishing. Big or not, my favorite catches will always be those that haven’t already been caught a million times. I have the fondest memories of the native Greenback Cutthroat, Grayling, Brookies, Cutties, Cutbows, the Browns and the Bows that I’ve caught high up at tree level with the most fascinating colors and marks, unflawed and perfect.
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
I was born in Chile, so the goal is to be able to spend a good amount of time, weeks, maybe months fishing the patagonian waters of my home land. All the while adventuring through the culture that I’ve missed out on throughout my years living in the states.
I’d love to cast into Icelandic and slovenian waters someday as well 🙂
What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?
Colorado, Colorado, and….. Colorado! Buena Vista has beautiful alpine lakes, as well as Aspen! My time was short at the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan, but I had some awesome solo time figuring out how to fish them.
How do people get ahold of you for guiding / sponsorship?
My personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Francisca Andrea Arangua Vallejos (it’s a Chilean thing)
Or my Instagram: fran_andrea4