Empowering Women in Fly Fishing: Tips, Techniques, and Inspiration

Chances are you might not have heard of the vast majority of them, but here are 7 women that are changing the fly fishing world.

The fly fishing industry has been predominantly male-led for a long time, well it might seem that way but there is actually an undercurrent of many women interested in fly fishing. They’re not often on the covers of magazines or anything like that, but they are doing some great things for the sport of fly fishing.

Joan Wulff

Joan Wulff

Since Joan Wulff won the national dry fly accuracy championship in 1948 at the age of 16 years old, the male-dominated fly fishing community might not have noticed it, but that was the day the sport changed overnight.

Joan didn’t stop there and continued to enter casting competitions and won 21 more casting titles, one of which was the National Fisherman’s Distance Fly Championship where she beat a whole field of male contestants.

By the 1950s Joan was considered the best fly caster on the planet and she was the first woman to start changing a male-led world of fly fishing.

Today, Joan prefers a noncompetitive environment and at age 90 or so, she is still involved in fly fishing. Joan works hard to teach and inspire female and male anglers, imparting her huge depth of knowledge about the sport forward to the next generation of female and male anglers.

Sice Joan opened the flood gates, more women have taken to the sport and followed in her footsteps, and here they are.

April Vokey

April Vokey

April Vokey was born in British Columbia and she has been fly fishing almost all of her life. It was the natural world that sucked April into fly fishing at an early age, as there is no better way to experience the rivers, lakes, mountains, and oceans than with fly rods in hand, catching fish and safely release them.

April learned to fly fish on bigger water rivers in British Columbia, mastering the feel of a Spey rod and spending hours in nature swinging flies for steelhead.

April quickly became a better angler, then a fly fishing guide, and by the age of 23, she owned her own guiding business creating trips for chasing steelhead on the Skeena River in her home of British Columbia. It’s not often you see a female guide on the rivers of BC and Aprils is a spectacular fly fishing guide.

As well as running her fly fishing business, April also hosts a podcast called Anchored with April where she interviews some of the most influential people in the industry and encourages more women to get into fly fishing. April once said “I urge women who have not given this sport a try to skip their next yoga class or hike. Tranquility or excitement, whatever it is that you’re looking for, why not follow Mother Nature to the river to find it?”

Hilary Hutcheson

Hilary Hutcheson

Hilary Hutcheson has been fly fishing since she was a child and growing up next to Montana’s Glacier National Park with a father in the NPS, it’s hard to hear the calling to fly fish in every river you see. Her weekends were spent in a drift boat searching for trout in the outdoors of Montana.

By age 14, Hilary was working with Glacier Angler fly shop and by 17 was out on the river guiding. This lady can catch fish and she continued to guide while she did a degree in broadcast journalism in Missoula.

She moved on to become a News Anchor around the states but returned to Montana and created Outside Media, an outdoor marketing firm, and started Trout TV a show she now hosts. She is also the owner of Lary’s Fly and Supply which has all the fly tying gear you might need.

Kiki Galvin

Kiki Galvin

Soure: unionsportsmen.org

Kiki Glavin first started fishing when she was 5 years old in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and after her first fish, she was hooked on fishing but not fly fishing, which came later.

It wasn’t until 1996 that Kiki picked up a fly rod when she attended a one-day fly fishing course for a bit of fun in Leesburg, Virginia. She learned to cast and started to fly fish her local streams often and then went to guide school in 2002 once she had hit her local streams pretty hard.

Today, Kiki is one hell of a fly fisher inspiring women everywhere to get into the sport and start catching some fish. She is a guide at and the owner of Ms. Guided Fly Fishing in Falls Church, Virginia as well as being Vice President of her Trout Unlimited Chapter and volunteering for both Casting for Recovery and Project Healing Waters.

Kiki is a huge inspiration to fly fishers, both men and women, and once said “My goal has always been to show others what they achieve with a fly rod in hand. I consider myself a teacher and strive to be the best angler, guide, and volunteer I can be.”

Katie Cahn

Katie Cahn

Katie started out fishing the same way most of us do, with a bobber and a worm with the hope of a shiner eating her bait. She knew she liked fishing, she just hadn’t quite discovered fly fishing at this point.

It wasn’t until Katie went to Western Carolina University that she learned how to cast and realized how much she loved fly fishing. Her college digs were next to the Tuckasegee River and she would spend all her study breaks trying to catch trout and master her casting.

“I had a good friend teach me the basics, and like many, I struggled in the beginning. It took weeks of getting caught up in trees and untangling line. Not much has changed except that I catch some fish now.”

Over her time at the university, Katie fished all the streams in her area including the Tuckasegee and Nantahala.

Today Katie works as a guide at Headwaters Outfitters in Western North Carolina and encourages women anglers wanting to learn fly fishing to get in touch a the owner, Jessica, is all about assisting female anglers to be comfortable with the sport, and she offers a women’s club retreat every spring.

Jen Ripple

Jen Ripple

Jen Ripple discovered her love of fly fishing quite by accident. She was bored with her job at the University of Michigan and saw a sign for fly tying classes, and thought making insects out of feathers might be fun and since then, she was obsessed.

That year as soon as the ice melted in Michigan on the Huron river, she was out for hours on end chasing smallmouth bass on a fly. It wasn’t actually until 2 years later that she discovered she was meant to be going for trout.

Eventually, Jen moved to Chicago and while there joined a fly tying class that was being taught by the editor of a new Midwestern fly fishing magazine. He knew she could write and asked if she would do a women’s column in the magazine, Tight Loop.

Jen snatched up the job but soon realized something was missing in life and wanted to write for a women-only fly fishing magazine, which didn’t exist. She spoke to her editor and soon Dun Magazine was created, a magazine that showcases female anglers from around the globe.

Katka Svagrova

Katka Svagrova

Last but certainly not least is Katka Svagrova, one of my favorite female fishing guides and a lady that has caught almost every species on the planet. If you don’t follow Katka on Instagram, you need to start.

Katka is from the Czech Republic and started fly fishing in her local lakes and rivers with her dad as soon as she could walk. It was when she was around 4 years old that it all clicked and she could fish successfully on her own.

Ever since then, she knew she would work in fly fishing and she has followed her dreams all the way to the top of the industry.

Katka’s main guiding gig is in Iceland where is a master at getting clients on to salmon and seatrout in Laxaikjos and once the season is done there, she travels the world hosting trips and fishing solo, or with her dad.

Whether it’s golden dorado in Bolivia, dorado from the beach in the Med, or permit and tarpon in Belize and Mexico, Katka has been there and caught it.

Today Katka is a journalist and guide, writing for anyone who wants to publish her work, and everyone does and she is an ambassador for the best in the business – Patagonia, Rio, Hardy, Costa, Yeti, and


What percentage of fly-fishers are women?

It is difficult to estimate an exact percentage, as data on this is limited. However, recent research indicates that the percentage of female fly-fishers is growing and is estimated to be around 20-30%.

What should a woman wear fly fishing?

When fly fishing, it is important to wear clothing that is comfortable, breathable, and practical. Women should wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat for sun protection. Additionally, good water shoes or wading boots should be worn to protect against slippery rocks and sharp objects.

Who are women on the fly?

Women on the Fly is a community of female fly-fishers dedicated to getting more women involved in the sport. It was founded in 2018 by a group of female fly-fishers to provide support, education, and resources to women interested in the sport. The organization also hosts events, workshops, and trips to help build a supportive community of female fly-fishers.

What are female fly fishers called?

Female fly-fishers can be referred to as female anglers, female fly fishers, or simply fly-fishers.

Photo of author

Ben Kepka

Hey, I'm Ben, a fly fisherman for over 20 years and also an aspiring blogger. I've been into fly fishing since my graduation from spin fishing when I was 12 years old. I started flyfisherpro.com to help introduce as many people into this amazing sport. Tight lines everyone! You can read more on our about page here.

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