Playing guide in the Driftless for a day

I still have a lot to learn myself when it comes to fly fishing, but I was thrilled when an acquaintance from college reached out to me on social media and asked me if I would take her out fly fishing. I have an extra pair of waders and boots, and old net and several spare rods, so I let her borrow my gear, since she didn’t have her own.


Calli has a background with hunting and fishing with spinning gear, but this was her first time using a fly rod. My biggest fear taking new fly anglers out on the water is that they will expect to get the hang of casting a fly rod and start catching fish immediately, but Calli had realistic expectations and took her time getting the hang of casting the rod. The wind and sun were not on our side, which made it difficult to cast long distances and not spook the fish.

We spent most of the day working on casting, talking about the water and just hanging out. Calli was a good sport and stayed motivated, despite the fact we weren’t catching fish. We tried several spots, before making a last-ditch effort at the end of the day at one of my no-fail brookie streams.


Sure enough, we were able to get her hooked onto on several pretty little brookies! Brook trout in the Driftless area aren’t always very big, but they’re one of my favorite fish to catch because they are the only trout species that is native to the area.


A couple days after our outing, Calli texted me to tell me she was going to buy all her own gear and was looking for suggestions–I guess she’s hooked now too. And selfishly, I’m just excited to have another girl to get out on the water with.


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