Your name or any nicknames you have?
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
Back in my home state of Vermont. I hope to be fishing in Upstate NY, NH, and of course VT.
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fishing?
I’m living in southern Vermont after moving from Virginia. I’m still exploring and finding new fishing areas. I’ve been fishing the legendary Battenkill River, and also checking out new portions of the Otter Creek, Walloomsac, New Haven, Middlebury River, and several local ponds and lakes.
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I’m not a guide (yet), but it is something I’ve always thought about doing. I’ve been fishing since I was 3 years old, so for about 30 years. I’m still learning something new every time I am out on the water.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
My family has a classic Christmas family video when I was 3 and got my first fishing pole. I was jumping up and down hugging my pole yelling “I got a fishing pole, I got a fishing pole!” I got my first fly rod for my 6th grade graduation. My dad taught my brother and I to fly fish in preparation for a trip out west to Wyoming in the 3rd grade. It’s always been a family tradition in my house, I can remember my grandfather dumping out his waiters full of fish after a day on the Ausable River in NY. That’s also where my dad learned to fish as a kid.
As a woman guide/fly angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
There is something about fishing that recharges my soul and makes me whole again. Connecting with a fish and being able to land such a beautiful species just makes it that much better. Fishing brings you to some beautiful places and reminds you how special nature can be. It’s my chance to unwind from the world and be myself.
I also love getting out there and turning heads with the type of fish that I have caught. I entered a local fly fishing tournament back in 2011 for the first time, and ended up winning the event. I was the first woman to win and catch a fish, and I ended up catching two. Since then I feel I have a gained a little respect on the water when the guys see me out there. I have continued to catch fish every year since then when I have entered the tournament. I had one guy say me to this year when I was hooked up with a 13″ rainbow ” Every year Jen!” I just smiled back and said “yup”.
Has the fact you’re a woman ever been an issue with a client (such as them hitting on you or maybe talking down to you? If so how did you deal with it/them?
I’ve had some issues working in a fly fishing retail store, and some other setbacks just talking with other fly fishermen. Sometimes guys will treat me like I don’t know anything because I’m a woman, it is very frustrating. They will completely avoid me in the shop or ask the same questions of a male co-worker that they just asked of me. The other place I’ve struggled is when I’m looking for feedback or tips on where to go or my technique and I get resistance because people want to protect their good fishing spots/techniques. I try to not let it get to me too much. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve had some great conversations and guidance from some guys and am very grateful for it.
Do you think being a woman gives you a different perspective as a guide? If so, how?
I do, I think women take more time to listen and incorporate what they’ve learned more quickly and are more receptive to criticism.
How can the fly fishing industry and community encourage more women to get involved?
I think it’s super important to keep workshops and events going like Women and Waders and Casting for Recovery etc. I recently participated in a Casting for Recovery retreat and it was an amazing time. All the women had a great time and embraced fly fishing for the first time and I think that several of them will continue with the sport. I think that by showcasing more women in the sport it can help spark the interest of other woman to making them realize it’s not just a man’s sport.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
My new Orvis Silver Sonic waders and Orvis Recon 5wt rod. It’s a great combination.
Best catch of all time?
That’s probably a tie. I recently took a fishing trip with my dad and caught a 23” rainbow weighing 5-6 pounds. My personal best trout so far. Also catching a 40+ inch tarpon was fun too.
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
I would love to fish the waters in Patagonia for big browns and fish the flats of Belize for bonefish or permit.
What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?
Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Virginia, NY, St. Thomas, and of course all great trout streams in my home state of VT.
How do people get ahold of you for guiding / sponsorship?
Follow me on Instagram @jgoodale5 or email firstname.lastname@example.org