Your name or any nicknames you have?

Shannon Ingraham

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

I live in Fort Collins, CO.  I’ll be fishing mostly in Colorado and Wyoming, but I am hoping to get back to Montana SOON.

shannon holds up a trout

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

I feel pretty lucky to live in Colorado!  I get to fish the Big Thompson, Cache le Poudre, Yampa, Frying Pan, Roaring Fork, Taylor, South Platte, North Platte and as many lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park as I can get to in a season.

How long have you been guiding/fly fishing? 

I am still very new to the sport.  I have been fly fishing for a little less than 2 years.

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

I am a member of Colorado Mountain Club and while going through the many classes they offer, I saw the Intro to Fly Fishing and signed up immediately in 2016.

shannon holds up a brown trout

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

I LOVE the outdoors and I fly fish because it’s another thing that gets me outside all year long.  I signed up for my fly fishing class just prior to going through a really dark period in my life.  I was pretty anxious and unhappy internally and I could barely get myself to the class.  What I experienced the very first time I stepped into the river was that my mind was finally quiet – in the present moment as they say.  That first month of fly fishing I found that wading in the river was the only time I felt any peace.  Then I started to catch fish!  It has now become a kind of meditation when I’m fishing alone and a new way to connect with people when I’m not.  I’ve met some fantastic people through fly fishing. 

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

What was motivating me at the time was a need to be outside as much as possible.  I’m an introvert, so I need regular solitude to recharge – fly fishing seemed a perfect fit – and it was.  The places it takes me are so beautiful – I plan almost everything I do (hiking, camping and backpacking) around a spot I want to fish.  Also fly fishing requires patience – something I am developing but wasn’t born with.

Shannon fishes in the fall

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 definitely had some unpleasant experiences on the river.  It hasn’t been so much getting hit on as being talked down to and other anglers crowding me.  It used to really bum me out but now I just move to another spot.  I get up early to fish the places I like and then leave when it starts to get crowded.  As an introvert though – I probably require more space than the average person to be comfortable.

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

I think getting into this sport can be really intimidating for women – especially ones not being taught by a boyfriend, husband etc.  I am grateful to the women I follow on Instagram that make it look like the most natural thing in the world. 

Shannon fishes on a foggy river

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 think fishing alone is a good way to grow as an angler.  When I go out by myself, I can take my time and figure things out.  I pulled my camper all over Colorado this summer fishing new water on my own – it was empowering and an education.

What’s your favorite new piece of gear?

I am very happy with my Umpqua Tongass 650 Waterproof Waist Pack…I sometimes fall in….so…

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

I love a soft hackle.  I have had an eclectic group of fishing influencers and my favorite taught me how to swing a soft hackle.  I caught most of my early fish using this method and continue to go back to it when nothing else is working. 

Shannon holds up a brown she got night fishing

Best catch of all time?

20″ brown on the South Platte I caught on a purple haze soft hackle – see above.

What’s your “Dream Trip”? 

Rent a motorhome and drive around fishing the South Island of New Zealand.

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

I recently got to fish the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park.  THAT was an experience!  Geysers erupting right next to me – fish rising everywhere – epic.

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

Instagram @happilylost8237

Shannon holds up a trout

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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