Abigail Crider… I usually just go by Abigail, but friends and family call me Gail.
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
I live in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ll be continuing to fish the local rivers and streams in the area, but we’re also hoping to get over to South Dakota this year to check out some of their great trout waters. We’ll also potentially make a trip down to Florida for a break from the Minnesota cold and to target redfish.
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
You can typically find us somewhere in the beautiful and underrated Driftless Area of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I actively started fishing over 5 years ago when I met my now-husband, Micah Crider. We made the switch to fly fishing a little over a year ago.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
There’s something so classy and unique about fly fishing… it takes a little extra work to master it. I’m also really competitive, so when my husband switched over to the fly rod, it wasn’t long before I wanted to be able to do it too.
Fly fishing always motivates me to get outdoors and explore. We’re not typically a hiking couple, but I have spent more time exploring parks and rivers since we started fly fishing then ever before. I love being outside—away from the noise of the city, technology and unsolicited political conversations. It’s also really an addicting sport—I’m always itching to get out and catch that next big, beautiful fish.
As a woman guide/angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
I was hooked on fishing since the first day I went out fishing. My husband gave me a bait-caster and a frog, and showed me how to catch largemouth bass out of the lily pads. As time went on I loved the challenge of switching over to the fly rod and understanding all about the trout species—that’s ultimately why I decided to become an angler. I think that’s a moment for every angler, male or female. You hook into your first nice fish, and you just kind of realize that this is what you love doing.
Has the fact you’re a female ever been an issue with a client or other angler (such as them hitting on you or maybe talking down to you)? If so, how did you manage it/them?
I really like the fly fishing community where I’m at in the Twin Cities. As we started to meet more local anglers, they were very welcoming towards me as a female angler and honestly don’t treat me any differently. I have only gotten the occasional unwanted comment on social media, and I usually just ignore or delete it.
I do get asked often if I “actually like fishing” or if I just do it because my husband does. I love being able to surprise people with my answer—that while yes, he’s the one who introduced me to the sport, I have my own passion and excitement for it. I fly fish because I love it!
I have yet to meet any women in my immediate area who are actively out fly fishing, but I’m hoping maybe I can encourage other female friends to start trying it out!
What is a piece of advice you want to give to other angler or a tip/trick that has helped you grow as an angler?
Every other angler out there knows something that you don’t. And while a lot of fishermen are tight-lipped about their secret fishing holes, they are almost always willing to share tips on techniques or the types of flies they are using. My best advice would be to just soak it all up and be willing to try new things!
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
My husband just surprised me by ordering me a new net from a local business, Dead Drift Net Co. They create beautiful handmade custom wood nets and I’m so excited to get mine in a couple weeks! We also have an awesome 3-4wt, N-7 rod from Walton Rods that helps us fish a lot of the narrow streams in our area.
Best catch of all time?
We do a lot of night fishing with topwater flies. Some of my favorite catches have been during these night sessions in the dark. You start to get into a rhythm of blindly stripping in your line and waiting to hear a fish hit your fly. Once one finally hits, it’s a rush of adrenaline when you hear the splash and feel the tug.
How do people follow you on social media or reach you?
You can follow me on Instagram at @abigailroz07 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org