Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
Born in Truckee, CA currently residing in the East Bay in Livermore. I spend six months here and six months in South East Alaska on Prince of Wales island. I spend a significant amount of my off season fishing at Pyramid Lake in Nevada with my dad, searching for that world record Lahontan. (still searching)
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
I guide the Klawock and Thorne river on Prince of Wales along with many other streams, lakes and creeks. PoW is notorious for their incredible steelhead fishing, and there is not an awful lot more in this world that I enjoy than finding that sea-run unicorn.
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I have been guiding for three years in Alaska.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
I have my dad to thank for this love. He was a guide in Sitka when he was my age and fishing was a passion of his that I happily inherited.
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
Fly fishing for me is an ongoing lesson. I will forever be a student of this game. I never know which swing, which drift, or what fly will will take me to that special fish. There will constantly be something to learn from this sport and thats a beautiful thing. It is always evolving and I will always find something new to gain from a day on the water, whether or not catching is involved.
As a woman guide/angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
I can’t even say that it was a decision I made. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide that I wanted to spend countless hours staring at bodies of water. Deciding to stick with the challenge is one decision I did make. Theres an incredible amount of growth in this industry for males and females and its awesome to be able to do what I do side by side with people who respect the sport as much as I do, for work and leisure.
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 had my fair share of concerns from clients about my ability to “find where the fish live” — when you spend seven days a week, six months of the year on a stream, river or lake with a significant amount of men; you learn how to read the personalities and when to just nod your head and let them stand where they want, pick their own fly, and tie their own knots. Id say, 80% of the time, I get to do my job, which is frequently a glorified tier of knots partnered with moderate yelling, “set the F*&!@$& hook”. The other 20% usually find the best way to ask for guidance without actually doing so after about thirty minutes of beating up the water, they all get that look. There is definitely a look.
There are no easy days, just better days and thats definitely okay with me. I love producing numbers of fish for doubtful clients but the endless laughs and stories I get to create with so many different people, sometimes the fish I get to net are just a buffer.
Do you think being a woman gives you a different perspective as an angler/guide? If so, how?
I don’t think so, my only possible thought is the finesse advantage. I have taught many men to fly fish and its not an overnight skill you perfect. That is sometimes hard to grasp for them. The wives, ohhhh the wives. They come out with such an open mind and are always so willing to listen to my tips and tricks. I have often found women easier to teach because they’re not so forceful with a fishing stick. Its not a sport in which one has to be particularly strong, just patient. I do find myself telling a lot of the guys to treat the rod like a lady, but there may be a misconception there sometimes. Who knows, Im not here to judge.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
I can’t say its particularly new, but I do love me some good fishing goggles. My Smith ChromaPop sunglasses make my life easy, helps if I can look moderately cool too, to each their own though.
Best catch of all time?
My best or favorite catch, as of now, would have to be a steelhead from April of 2017. I was prepping for season with the manager of the lodge that I work for. Doing some scouting and fishing of our own before the zoo opened. It hadn’t rained in about 24 hours so that water was low and clear as day. Thats one thing I do find tougher at times, the tannic water. But oh boy, the water was so clear. I could see these three metal heads just asking for a snack. I swung a couple different flies in front of these things, just watching them give less than a single shit about what I had to offer. I threw this last hail mary of a fly on after about 30 minutes, swung it through and oh my lanta. 42” lassie hit my fly and I went numb. Of course we didn’t bring a net, what logical guide brings a net, so we worked this fish for a bit until I could find a good spot to pool up. This fish took my ass up and down the creek. My dog was going nuts, my manager was stoked, I was in heaven. Definitely a fish to remember.
How do people follow you on social media or reach you?
You can check me out on Instagram @krissss_m