Damsel Fly Fishing is all about building a community of female anglers from all "rivers" of life. We would like to celebrate these women, so once a month we well showcase a female angler. This April we are proud to feature female angler Allison Oliver. Allison and I met while I was working at The Fly Shop, Redding Ca., It was instant friendship. Back then she was just finishing up her Ph.D. and now she's putting that education to good use, along with that 7 Wt. Sage Spey rod I sold to her all those years ago!
Name: Allison Oliver
Residence: Squamish, BC
Home Waters: "Home" is a shifting target...
Biography: I am an aquatic ecologist and biogeochemist. I study the rivers, lakes, and coastal oceans of our planet, how these ecosystems function and how that function affects aquatic organisms and humans. Originally from Northern California, I have spent most of my life exploring the rivers and mountains of the Western United States. I am now a postdoctoral researcher living in British Columbia where I am fortunate to work on amazing projects studying the linkages between the coastal temperate rainforest and the ocean.
I have been fly fishing since I was 8, but didn't start steelhead fishing until about 7 years ago. Halfway through my first steelhead season, already well into the addiction, I was nymphing for steelhead with a giant rubberlegs stonefly and my friend Kara introduced me to a two handed rod. Now I could fish huge rivers effectively with a fly rod! And the obsession began....
I have since had the great opportunity to travel to some amazing locations to fish for anadromous fish (and still some resident fish here and there), make a ton of new friends, and connect with people who feel as passionately about rivers and water as I do. In between science and fishing, I also ride and race mountain bikes, have a border collie obsession, and can't stop eating.
Best Day Fishing: The day I hooked my first steelhead on the swing with one of my best girlfriends... and then I broke it off and it took my Meat Whistle!!
What do you love most about fly fishing: Connecting. Whether it's with an ecosystem, a wild organism, people, or yourself. There are always new things to learn, places to travel, people to meet, and challenges to overcome. It reminds me that there is still magic in water and wonder in the world. If I can't have a pet unicorn, at least, I can dance with a wild steelhead.
Favorite Type of Fishing: Dry flies in the middle of nowhere.
"Go-To" Fly Pattern (to tie or fish): Old school? Lady Caroline. New School? The Wiz Khalifa (black and yellow)
Favorite piece of equipment (that one piece you just don't leave home without): Merino EVERYTHING. And sunscreen.
Dream fish and location: Wild steelhead, Dean River, BC.... soon, baby... soon. Close second followed by sea run brown trout, Patagonia.
Best advice received: Don't row over the fish!!!!! ;)
Pro Tip: OK OK... One tip and one PSA.... Always fish the "nervous" water too... fish will sit in that stuff and anglers tend to pass it right on by! Also... if you are fishing from the bank, be cautious about where you are walking! A lot of times people walk all over redds and don't realize what they are doing.... keep your eyes out for redds and avoid them so the fish babies can grow big and strong.