Your name or any nicknames you have?
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
Kenai, Alaska – Fishing all over the Kenai Peninsula – from the world-famous Kenai River to small streams and lakes.
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
I’ll spend the majority of my time on the Kenai River, but will also fish the Kasilof River and Anchor River.
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I grew up with a spinning rod on the Kenai Peninsula, but I didn’t get into fly fishing until 2014. Just this month, I finished the Kenai River Guide Academy and got my coast guard 6-pack – so I will be embarking on my first season as a guide this summer and fall.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
My fiancé got me into fly fishing in 2014. The first couple of times were rough, with a lot of “set the hook” demands from him, but after a few floats, I started to enjoy myself. In a short amount of time, I went from never holding a fly rod, to fat biking into remote areas to fish on my own.
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
I get asked this question a lot and its hard to put into words. It is a hobby, but also an escape. Not only do I get to spend time with the people that matter the most to me, but I get to avoid every-day stresses. Also, not to sounds cliché, but the ‘tug is the drug’. It really is. Nothing feels better.
If you own and use a Rod Vault, what do you like about you Rod Vault?
We purchased a rod vault in 2015 and can’t believe how much we were missing out on. The ability to have rods strung up and ready to go, has not only simplified our fishing, but allowed us to get on and off the rivers so much quicker. Last year we were gifted a second rod vault, giving us six rods from our quiver to choose from this past fall and winter. The only downside is that we find ourselves offering to drive more times than not so we don’t have to break our rods down.
As a woman guide/angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
Initially, I wanted to be a part of my fiancé’s hobbies – Little did I know, it would soon become my passion. With the Kenai River right in our backyard, it seems crazy to not take advantage of it.
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?
Don’t learn from your significant other. As it turns out, it is hard to take criticism from anyone, let alone your significant other. Save yourself some headaches and go to a fly-casting class, or have a friend explain the techniques of rowing a drift boat. That being said, my fiancé was amazing and I am ever grateful for his patience.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
Last summer I purchased a Sage Pulse rod and their Domain reel. Game Changer! I by no means am a professional caster, but I feel like one with this fast-action rod. With little effort, I can land my line anywhere I want. Just two days ago, I picked up one of our older, cheaper rods, instead of switching out the gear on my Pulse – this laziness led to so much frustration. I’m truly spoiled with the distance and accuracy I can get out of my Sage rod.
For my past birthday in December, I received Fishewear’s new dry-bag backpack. I had previously owned their over-the-shoulder dry bag, but the new backpack goes with me on every trip – even on non-fishing related excursions. The bag is perfect for the boat or for hiking/fat biking into streams. Additionally, it works as a great carry-on for airplanes.
What is your favorite fly? (To tie, or catch fish on?)
A mouse-pattern for sure. I only recently learned how to tie one, but for sure my favorite to fish. It’s interactive fishing at its finest, and watching the trout emerge and strike is electrifying.
Best catch of all time?
We were on one of our favorite streams in Alaska and I was moussing for the very first time. I was just starting to get frustrated, when a trout surfaced for my mouse. I was so excited that I ripped it right out of the trout’s mouth! A few more minutes and I landed my first trout on a mouse. It wasn’t the biggest but it was beautiful, the blush stripe was bright red, and the excitement I felt will always be remembered.
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
Recently the lure of fishing for bonefish has garnered my attention. As we don’t have any in Alaska, heading south to fish for one is a must. We will be headed to Hawaii in April for our honeymoon, and am hopeful I can check it off my list then. If not, a trip to Belize or Costa Rica will have to be budgeted in.
How do people follow you on social media or reach you?
I am most active on Instagram @dallasmbaldwin or through my business site, @explorekenai. At ExploreKenai.net, I set clients up with some of the best guides on the Kenai Peninsula – whether they’re coming to Alaska for King or Red Salmon or for a chance to catch a 30+ inch rainbow.