Your name or any nicknames you have?
Jennifer de Graaf. I have been given many nicknames over the years. “Grasshopper” or “Da Hopper” haha! Which all started when I used to be part of a social media platform with another group of anglers about 3 or 4 years back. I have heard “J-Wow” quite a bit too, haha :P. For the most part, it’s just Jenn.
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
I live in Southern Alberta (Canada) and that is where I will do the majority of my fishing this next year. We do explore some waters in BC and the USA throughout the year as well.
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
Haha you know a good fisherman/woman never tells ?
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I started fly fishing in 2008! Before then I had fished once or twice with a spin rod when I was kid and that was it.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
A friend at the time introduced me to fly fishing and it quickly became one of my favourite adventure activities.
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
I fly fish because it’s fun, its time in the outdoors, it challenges you physically and mentally, it takes you to the most beautiful places and all fish are awesome. Every fish is unique and I just never get sick of catching fish. What I like the most is when I get out onto a stretch of water and there isn’t a person in sight. There is nothing like being completely immersed in nature away from the city, away from prying eyes, away from stress.
As a woman guide/fly angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
Well I love to try new things or learn new skill sets and someone I knew was a fly fisher, so I went a few times and got hooked.
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?
No, I was really supported by men when I started fly fishing and still am. So many times other fly fishermen would comment on how they wished their wives liked fly fishing, haha. I have had many fisherman offer advice when I was struggling and many have given me flies to try as well on bad days. Which on some days completely turned my day around! I can recall many times out the water where I was complimented on my casting by other fisherman. Never anything that made me feel uncomfortable. Plus over the last few years there are way more women fly fishing now. I see ladies out on the river almost every time I go fishing lately. The only time I deal with negativity is just when I encounter those certain types of people that think there is just one way to fly fish and there way is the only way. As well as encountering people that just have no respect for the land they are lucky enough to fish on.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
My new Boost Jacket from Kast Gear.
Best catch of all time?
Well there was this one weekend in the winter of 2015 where I went snowmobiling on the Saturday and then on the Sunday I went out for some cold winter fishing. I was slowly stripping a big white streamer through the river and I got the attention of the biggest bull trout I have ever caught. It was in a dodgy area, giant icy boulders to climb over and I had forgot my net haha. The bend in my rod was insane and after a bit of a struggle I got him in and he let me tail him and snap some pictures. Heaviest fish I’ve ever picked up! He was such a cool looking fish. Tough as nails. It was one cold day haha but I like the memory of that weekend. Its cool when you can go snowboarding or snowmobiling and then just go fishing the next day!
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
Artic Char fishing in Nunavut Canada.
What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?
Oh man, so many awesome places! The one that stands out at the moment is a fishing high alpine lakes in the mountains for Golden Trout. The fish weren’t big, but they are special!
How do people get hold of you for guiding / sponsorship?
Email is the best way to get a hold of me firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow Jennifer on Instagram @ammolite_photography
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