Girls’ Night Out on the Farmington River

Written by: Mary Edmondson, Key Holder, Orvis Darien

GirlsNightOut

A group female anglers, and newfound friends, cast for trout on the Farmington River .

photo courtesy Mary Edmondson

In the time I’ve been working for Orvis—and consequently, fly fishing—I have been fortunate enough to get to know some of the finest female anglers involved in the sport. Whether I’ve met them through the fine work that they do with Casting for Recovery, out on the river, or in the course of working in the store, I’m a better angler because of them.

All of this changed dramatically when I relocated to Connecticut from my home in Virginia for work. All of the connections I’d made, the fishing partners-in-crime I’d come to depend on, and anything I knew about the local waters weren’t going to help me a whole lot in my new surroundings. I knew that there was some world class fishing practically on my doorstep, and that somewhere in the state of Connecticut, there had to be at least one other woman angler. Maybe even two. And while I’ll go fishing with anyone who wants to, male or female, there’s a certain camaraderie in the ever-growing population of female anglers.

In practically no time, the local chapter of Trout Unlimited and my finishing manager, Josh Heinz, came to my rescue by telling me about an upcoming event. Unbeknownst to me, there were other women out there with the same conundrum: where are all the lady anglers? Thanks to the very brave (and far more organized than I) Alicea Charamut, an active member of the Farmington chapter of Trout Unlimited, a few of us found each other at Girls’ Night Out on the Farmington River.

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The only fish of the night was caught by a relative novice: beginner’s luck!

photo courtesy Mary Edmondson

A group of relative strangers (a few of us had met once or twice before) met in a parking lot at People’s Forest State park on what couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Blue skies, not a cloud in the sky, and the recent rains had cleared up, leaving us with gin-clear water. Most of us admitted that while we looked like pros in our waders, we had very little idea of what we were actually doing. That’s one of my favorite things about fishing with other female anglers; nothing is a competition. We just want to be out fishing, and we’d rather have a friendly companion. And maybe go for a glass of wine and some gossip afterwards.

Four hours, tons of laughing, and one location change later, we packed it in. Only one fish was caught that day, a beautiful brown by a relative newcomer to the sport. But as any angler, male or female, will tell you, how many fish you bring in isn’t what it’s all about.

I would urge any of you who find yourself wanting for friends to fish with to start your own Girls’ Night Out. Or Girls’ Day Out. Just get out there! Females are the largest growing demographic in outdoor sports, so while there are more of us getting into the outdoors, or interested in getting into the outdoors, there will be more people to share our love of the sport with. Who knows, you may know someone who is secretly itching to get out on a river and thinks it’s too complicated, or doesn’t have the courage to walk into a fly shop and ask for help.

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Time on the water is about more than fish; there’s also sharing of information and storytelling.

photo courtesy Mary Edmondson

After leaving the river behind us, we all met up at a restaurant for some pizza and a beer. Fishing talk slowly made way to talk of husbands, children, jobs, the things that dominate our every day lives. But one thing remained very clear, that we had all come together for a reason: fly fishing. We all may have entered the river strangers, but we left it friends. In just one evening, I can once again say that I feel as if I’ve surrounded myself with some of the finest female anglers that are involved in the sport.

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