Charlie didn’t grow up fishing, a couple of conventional fishing trips with her dad as a kid but nothing beyond that. The first time she ever heard of fly fishing was watching the movie A River Runs Through It as a kid. Her early 20s marked the beginning of online social activity sales (groupon, living social, etc.) and she found a 2 for 1 guided fly fishing trip for her and her brother. Unfortunately, she was unable to go on the trip and he brother went by himself. This ended up leading to another lengthy break from interest in fishing.
Fast forward to 2017 and Charlie was living in Vail Valley and met an Orvis fly fishing guide who introduced her to the sport and became a good friend. Her first time ever fly fishing was a float trip on the upper Colorado, conditions less than ideal for learning as it was pouring down rain, however, she caught her first Rainbow Trout (on a dry fly!) and immediately fell in love with the sport of fly fishing. The passion for the sport continued to grow but was limited to her going with her friend and learning from him. Unfortunately, about 6 months into this he moved away and this coincided with a series of unexpected unfortunate events in Charlies life including a career change and loss of support system in her personal life.
Many people have found comfort and solace in fly fishing and Charlie is no exception. She stated watching Tom Rosenbauer and Pete Kutzer casting videos produced by Orvis on YouTube which further sparked her interest in the sport but she still hadn’t really seen any other females around the sport up until that point. Eventually, she found a video of women talking about learning to fish and decided this was her time to learn and get started. She found a fly shop near where she lived and was excited to go in and talk with them about getting started and unfortunately that was overshadowed by the disappointment of not receiving any help when she went into the shop.
A few weeks later she found a new fly shop in a neighboring town Down Valley Anglers and the experience was polar opposite. She met the owner who was eager to help her get started and advised her about local waters, equipment, and the sport in general. That day she purchased her first fly rod, a Redington Path Combo and that began the rest of her fly fishing journey. As she continued watching YouTube videos to learn she began seeing ads for women’s fly fishing clinics at a local shop and began to get involved in those as well as taking actual fly fishing classes through Colorado Mountain College that included entomology, reading water, and guiding. She continued with classes, clinics, videos and checking out books on fishing from the local library. Much of her skill was self-taught, she would hit the water every day before and after work, continuing the learning process through trial and error.
Along the way, she was told that there is a responsibility once you learn to fly fish to share it with others and its often said that the best way to learn something is to teach, so that’s what she did. She began regularly attending clinics and began introducing others to the sport. She is so grateful for the unending support she has received from her local shop and from every female angler she has encountered. Charlie is involved with Vail Valley Angers (VVA) Women on the Fly group and has recently joined the VVA shop’s fly tying group. Today, Charlie owns her own business in Vail Valley, she gets to make her schedule which allows her the opportunity to spend as much time on the water as she can get and to stay involved with her fly fishing groups. She has set a goal of education regarding conservation and understanding our roles and responsibilities as anglers and neighbors. She knows that our impact can be greater than we realize and it’s imperative to have a healthy understanding of what we’re facing.
“there is a responsibility once you learn to fly fish to share it with others”
Charlie has learned a lot through the sport of fly fishing. She learned that while there are many obstacles to overcome as women in life and in fly fishing, the biggest obstacle she had to overcome was herself. She experienced a loss of her career, identity, family, support system which left a void in her life. Often times when one experiences trials, they lose focus on themselves and the whole health. Fly fishing helped Charlie fill that void that was left by losses by reclaiming herself, her thoughts, her memories, and her goals about the future. She cherishes and has adopted this quote, “every time you throw a loop, you throw your petitions out into the world.” Casting is a physical representation of letting go of all of stresses by sending them out.
“every time you throw a loop, you throw your petitions out into the world”
Follow Charlie on Instagram @fishnchiccharlie
And with that, throw loops and let go! Happy Fishing!