Your name or any nicknames you have?
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
I live in Bozeman, Montana. I feel blessed to be located in the center of an anglers paradise. I fish a lot of local rivers and alpine lakes, but my favorite time to fish is Fall. I take two weeks off work every year just to chase the brown trout run on the Madison River.
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
I love going to the Blackfoot, Gallatin, and the Yellowstone River, but my absolute favorite is the Madison! You can find me there year round. I originally moved out west so I could fly fish in Yellowstone National Park, and I still fish there frequently throughout the year. Opening day is the last Saturday in May and I’m counting down the days till I can get on the Firehole River.
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I caught my first fish on the fly about two years ago; it was a bluegill from my neighborhood pond. A week later, I caught my first trout with my fly rod in the Crazy Mountains on an alpine lake with an ant pattern. I had no idea what I was doing, but those fish were starving and would have ate anything.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
I was exposed to fly fishing on my first trip to Yellowstone. Driving by the Firehole and seeing all the fishermen with their graceful casts, I was drawn to it and knew it was for me.
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
I love being outdoors and fly fishing is a challenge that keeps me engaged. Some times I go out there seeking peace and quite other days I go out there craving adventure. Either way I am always satisfied.
If you own and use a Rod Vault, what do you like about you Rod Vault?
I do not own a rod vault, but I need to invest in one soon. All my fishing partners give me a hard time for being so stubborn because I refuse to break my rod down. I alway have it laying awkwardly in my car.. all the way to the windshield.. hoping it doesn’t break.
As a woman guide/angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
I never really put a lot of thought into it. I was just interested and naturally wanted to learn more so I challenged myself.
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 don’t feel I’ve been treated different because of my gender. I have had the occasional rude guy with an ego at the fly shop when I first started and I wasn’t sure which leader or tippet to use. For that reason I love Kelly Galloup’s shop the Slidinn. I’ve never encountered an ego there and everyone is so knowledgeable.
Do you think being a woman gives you a different perspective as an angler/guide? If so, how?
As a female angler I am a lot more aware of my surroundings and I don’t fish alone very often. I am 5’2″, being so small I like to have a fishing partner not too far away when I’m wading.
What is a piece of advice you want to give to other anglers or a tip/trick that has helped you grow as an angler?
I was lucky to have a well seasoned angler take me under their wing and teach me a lot of what I know. I learn best when watching someone’s technique on the river and asking questions. It has helped me gain a lot of knowledge in a short time. I recommend going to the river with a guide on occasion and asking questions. It’s always fun to learn a new technique and we are also lucky to live in a time where experienced anglers are sharing their wisdom online with videos.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
Well I just got my first vise and I’m slowly learning to tie my own flies. I was spoiled with a Renzetti that was gifted from another angler and its the most exciting thing to own during winter months in Montana. Tis’ the tying season!
What is your favorite fly? (To tie, or catch fish on?)
I am a steamer junkie! Kelly Galloup’s patterns are my favorite and Josh Varner is another expert tier that has created one of my favorite streamers, the Miss October. Between the October in black, and Galloup’s Boogieman in white, I had a lot of Browns in my net this fall!
Best catch of all time?
Opening weekend in the park two years ago I was fishing Lake Yellowstone and a cutthroat hen was on the end of my line. She was so heavy! It took a while to land her and my fishing partner couldn’t get her in the net she was so big. I’ll also never forget the first trout I had eat a streamer. It was a brown and he was a complete predator. He hit the streamer so hard it took me by surprise and I screamed. I was wide awake after that.
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
I have quite a long bucket list of fishing destinations but the Tarpon is at the top of my list. I’d also love to head to South America and have a Golden Dorado on the end of my line as well. Such a beautiful strong fish.
What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?
No matter where I travel to Yellowstone National Park and the Madison River will always feel like home.
How do people follow you on social media or reach you?
I am active on Instagram: Cristym23