A Fly Fishing Magazine Unlike Any Other
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photo by Cheyenne Yokeleyphoto by Cheyenne Yokeley

My love for fishing started on a dock in the Adirondacks. Every summer my family spent a week or two at my grandparents’ lake house and my older brother, Charlie, and I would sit out on the dock every day with a Styrofoam cup of worms catching sunfish. We sat out there from sunrise to sunset, excited over every fish we caught. I also fished with my other grandpa from the surf in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The first time I ever saw someone fly fishing was at a neighborhood pond during my freshman year at college. Sophomore year I decided to transfer to Appalachian State University. I had wanted to fly fish for a while and moving from the suburbs of Cary, North Carolina to the mountains of Boone, North Carolina seemed like the perfect opportunity.

photo by - Cheyenne Yokeley

Where I'm from, it's rare to see someone fly fishing. When I saw it I became mesmerized, and knew I had to learn, so for my 20th birthday I asked my parents for a fly rod. I found the closest delayed harvest spot near campus and stood out in the river for hours after class having not the slightest idea what I was doing. When I wasn't on the water, I was in the local fly shops asking whoever was working a million questions, or sitting in my dorm room watching YouTube video after video trying to figure it all out. It took about one month of getting caught in everything but a fish before I decided I wanted to be a guide.

photo by - Cheyenne Yokeley

I emailed every shop in the area. I might've been the worst fly angler in history at the time, but there was no one who wanted to learn more.  I was lucky enough to hear back from one of the shops and be given a chance to learn, and I started going on scouting trips with another guide and picked it up quickly. Soon I became the guide apprentice, helping out where I could on guide trips and learning more and more every day. Later that summer, I became a guide.

photo by - Cheyenne Yokeley

I've been lucky to work with and be a part of a community of supportive individuals that have really helped me and encouraged me along on my fly fishing journey.  The most exciting part of my journey has been guiding other women and seeing them become excited about fishing the way that I did not very long ago. It's only a matter of time before women are no longer in the minority of this amazing sport that I've loved from the moment I picked up a rod. I’m so excited to be a part of that growth. My advice to anyone, of any age, getting into fly fishing is to not be afraid to ask a million questions. Everyone starts out a beginner.

 

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