I've been asked to write this article over the last few years and I just never really knew how to go about it. We often get swept up in the business of the holidays and we forget that the real gift we should allow ourself to give is presence. There is a disconnect between what we need and what we feel we ought to give; often equating cost with the value of our love and carelessly interchanging quality for quantity instead. When I reflect on my most cherished holiday memories, they all revolve around togetherness. I grew up in a small country community, where we would spend the weeks leading up to Christmas crafting and baking small gifts for the few neighbours that lived down our road, as well as for our school bus driver and anyone that wanted our creations. We would fill one of our sleds and dawn a Santa hat and walk to each neighbours home, knocking on the door and presenting them with our gifts. Small, simple gifts, but thoughtful. As I've grown older, I watch people buy gifts out of haste, crossing names of their lists, as they fall into the pressures of 'simply getting it done'. This is not to say I do not like giving gifts, because I certainly do; it's actually one of my favourite things to do. I think this is why I loved baking so much, as there is an instant gratification of seeing someone smile, especially when it was thoughtfully curated. So as I write this list, know that these are products which I love, and which I believe would be great for your fly fisher in your life, but giving your presence, time and love will always be enough. Allow yourself to lie fallow in this season of business with your love, leaving the bustle in the shops and spending your moments outside soaking in the solitude.
This shirt is on sale currently! I spend 90% of my time in flannel, and I've worn through enough of them to know which ones I love. From being on the oars, to chopping firewood, I need a flannel that will stand the rigger of life in northern British Columbia. I love that Pladra designs and manufactures their shirts in America, and has taken a modern spin on the classic American flannel. Plus the owner, Jeff, is wonderful to talk with.
My mother, who is one of the sweetest people I know, equally has more knives than anyone I know. Growing up, she would give everyone a Leatherman knife on their graduation as a tool for their future. I still have every Leatherman she's given me, and now keep one on my waders for everything from pinching barbs, to carving roasting sticks on the river. I like the multi-tools more so than just a knife as I find, similar to when you're in camp- things tend to get a little western when you least expect it, so having a tool you can MacGyver-yourself out of situations is a necessity.
If you've fished with me, you know I'm the first one to get cold, no matter how many layers I have on. I pack my Puffy blanket with me everywhere. Literally everywhere. It's bulky in the sense that it's not backpacking-compact, but it squishes down into my dry bag if I push all the air out- and it is worth the extra room! I love that not only is it really warm, I can just wipe the dirt off and use it for me and the furry/ often muddy side kick for when I'm in the boat, on the shore, overnights in trucks, cabins, tents. Rumpl has been really fun to watch grow as their collaborations are always fun designs and they give back through 1% for the planet and other community focused organizations.
A woman whose soul represents her landscape, wild, raw, full of poetic beauty and always genuine. Most of my pictures, you will see a huge rock of turquoise dawning my ring finger. I rarely take it off, and it is one of my most cherished pieces. Jillian, is one of the most thoughtful silversmiths I know. Her pieces always tell a story, bluring the lines between us as humans and our wild places.
Currently on sale! Here's a company I get so excited talking about! Each Fly Wallet purchased helps to support the rescue of trafficked kids around the world. This year I was asked to donate flies as part of a special collaboration. It will not be out in time for Christmas, but I couldn't be more honoured. These custom leather fly wallets are the beautiful result of collaborative craftsmanship. They have been designed by a highly skilled leader of the design industry, who is also just as passionate about the art of fly fishing. Locally crafted out of durable high quality leather, these wallets feature a concealed magnetic clasp for convenient accessibility. The strong magnet will keep your flies safe, but will open seamlessly, even with cold fingers on those early cold mornings. Inside the wallet you will find ample room to display your favorite flies and the leather hook pocket will hold them secure against wool lining.
I LOVE these! I love having a buff in the early mornings, when the air is crisp and you're going down the river in a jet boat, or when it's blistering hot and you need something to protect your chest but I don't like how buffs pull at my hair and not all of them are long enough. These are perfect! They currently have 15% holiday sales on too! The triangle shape covers your chest, the three snaps in the back makes it easily adjustable for your comfort. Built in elastic around the neck of the snood allows you to pull it up over your nose to comfortably protect your face. Bonus: the 100% polyester material is moisture-wicking and has a soil release finish. Plus the founders, Kara and her sister Lynae are incredible. I competed with Kara last year at Spey-o-Rama who was talked into competing last second and was such a bad ass babe. I can't say enough about these two. Plus they have lined ones! ...and ones for your furry sidekicks!
Okay, this isn't a necessity but I do love these. I've been using Yeti coolers the last few years when I'm out in camp or on multi-day pack trips and the coolers speak for themselves, but so do their tumblers. I've made frozen margaritas in the blistering heat of summer and have brought them out fishing and they've actually stayed frozen. I love that fishing can be such a social event where often we are out together or meet on the river where it usually ends in having a glass of wine or a good scotch riverside or back at camp, and how fun to do so in a little Yeti wine tumbler.
I feel like I always see questions on which is the best hip pack to buy for women, or which do you prefer, chest packs or hip packs, the questions are endless and they always answer in your own personal preference. I do, however, really like this new Fish Pond hip pack. The zipper is completely waterproof, it's lightweight and it has a net slot to hold your net- which doesn't sound fancy but is so nice when you're the one netting fish all day.
I first met Andy at Spey-o-Rama after he had come out with "Down by the River". He is such a wonderful person to talk to and has created such a thoughtful story of fishing as a family. I read this book to young students when I teach kids fly tying or about the salmon cycle. The illustrations tug at your heart strings and it's obvious that it's written by someone who fly fishes. For anyone with children in their lives, this is one of my favourites.
Perfect to wear off the water. Petite and unique - this necklace will become your everyday favorite! It also comes in silver plate and gold plate.
This is another one of those questions women ask- which waders to buy. Again this all depends on preference, budget and fit. I'm tall, and so I really liked that Patagonia made a tall style, but also had a clip in the back for a drop seat function without removing clothes. And never has peeing in the bush been so awesome!
Last year was our first women's fly fishing retreat and this year we're doubly stoked. Join me for our second fly girl retreat in the northern mountains of British Columbia on the legendary Skeena River July 19th-22nd 2019. It's a two day guided salmon fishing trip, learning how to spey cast, how tye your own flies and meet other lady anglers from around the world. This fly fishing school is designed for ladies to learn how to fly fish, or just to be around other women who enjoy the sport.
There are so many different ideas out there from great magazine subscriptions, to casting, tying, entomology lessons, or booking a local guide to show you how to fish your home waters even better. Donate to different organizations making a difference in our industry for the environment, clean water, fish, marginalized peoples, human trafficking etc, or volunteer together in organizations like Casting for Recovery, Trout Unlimited, Project Healing Waters, The May Fly Project or tie them a box of your favourite flies!
Happy holidays my friends!