Your name or any nicknames you have?

Hanna Huhtala

Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?

I live in Finland, and mostly fish in Scandinavia. This year I will also be fishing for Hucho Taimen in Mongolia, if everything goes as planned.

 

Hanna holds up a colorful brown trout

 

What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?

My home waters are by the coast of Baltic sea in the great archipelago of southwest Finland. It’s brackish water and the native species we mainly fish for are northern pike, brown trout and perch. I also love hiking and fishing in the wilderness, so I try to travel to Lapland in north of Finland, Sweden and Norway every summer and spend as much time in the woods as possible. I really like still water fishing in the lakes or the sea, so I fish a lot from float tube, or fish by wading by the shoreline. When it comes to river fishing I enjoy dry fly fishing whenever it’s possible. I also like fishing rivers with streamers, targeting especially searun brown trouts.

 

How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?

My first cast was in May 2014, so I have only been fly fishing for less than 4 years. Since then I have spent all my free time by the water.

 

Hanna holds up a large trout

What got you into fly fishing? When did you start? 

My husband has been fly fishing for years, but fishing never seemed interesting to me. It was not until he began to combine his other hobby, photography, into fly fishing. It was through those photos I first started to admire some beautiful fish, and soon I found myself going through all the fly fishing pictures in Instagram, and I found out about female anglers for the first time. That was the moment I realized this was going to be my thing as well! I started to study about the different terms and styles, and after some time I told my husband I was about to become a fly fisher. He was quite surprised but happy to teach me. We tried once and then I immediately bought my own rod and other gear, because I was really positive and serious about learning the sport.

 

Why do you fly fish?  What does it “do” for you?

I find fly fishing to be a great escape from all the stress and hectic-ness of every day life. There is something very meditative and beautiful in fly casting, and fishing is also a perfect way to spend the whole day outdoors. These things along with the beauty of the different fish were the main reasons for me to start. Later I became familiar with the adrenaline rush that fishing provides –  I had absolutely no idea what that was like beforehand. The rise, the take, the fight, the moment of losing a good fish or the moment of catching a new species or a record fish. I don’t find those feelings anywhere else.

 

Hanna holds up a nice trout

As a woman guide/angler, you’re definitely in the minority.  What made you decide to be a guide/angler? 

We are minority, that’s true for sure. But for me it was precisely those few talented female anglers, who I found pictures of, that caught my attention.

 

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 have only faced some surprised reactions. I also think I have been more often asked two questions than if I wasn’t woman. Those are: “Why do you fish?” and “Do you still fish?”. I sometimes think we as woman anglers have something more to prove, to be taken seriously. But at the same time I know it’s somehow easier for us to get noticed on social media – if that’s what you want. I’m lucky enough to have a super crew of fly fisher women around me, but obviously I fish a lot with men and they don’t treat me differently when we are fishing. My tactics from the very beginning was to try to learn every little detail, starting with knots etc., because I didn’t want to be dependent on others’ help all the time.

 

hanna sits in her ducky

Do you think being a woman gives you a different perspective as an angler/guide?  If so, how?

I don’t think there are any general differences. In my opinion those things are more about the personality and experiences.

 

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?

Learn from the other anglers. When fishing with friends I always try to pay attention to things they do differently than me. That has given me some good ideas of how to improve my casting skills or how to variate the speed of stripping and much more.

 

What’s your favorite new piece of gear?

I’m obsessed with Vision Merisuola rods in all the possible classes.

 

What is your favorite fly? (To tie, or catch fish on?) 

I don’t like fly tying too much, and I only tie when I really have to. Big pike flies are most fun to tie though.

 

Hanna holds up a huge pike she caught on the fly

Best catch of all time?

I have so many good memories with the different species of fish that it’s really hard to pick up just one. All of the most memorable fish have one thing in common: They usually have been hard ones to catch! I have really had to work hard for days or even for longer to catch them. Many of these memories also include a good fishing trip in a great company, and a genuinely shared joy of a great catch.

 

What’s your “Dream Trip”? 

My bucket list includes Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland and some salt water fishing, just to mention some of them.

 

What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?

Lapland of Norway is my favorite place on earth. Most exotic place have been carp fly fishing in the island of Gran Canaria.

 

Hanna holds up a huge perch

How do people follow you on social media or reach you? 

I’m in Instagram as @myflyfishingdiary
Photos by: Viljami Huhtala

About The Author

Jill Kana

Jill is in charge of a great deal of our web content here at Denver Outfitters and is always looking for potential blog contributors, content, and #FlyGalFridays. If you have any desire to say hello or have an idea, please touch base with her at jill@denveroutfitters.com

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