Celebration of Women in Angling This Saturday

  • 9/09/2022
  • Richie Cosgrove

Celebration of Women in Angling This Saturday

Fish & Game NZ chief executive Corina Jordan is encouraging Kiwi women to get out on the water this Saturday (September 9, 2022) and celebrate International Women’s Fly Fishing Day.

This is the third year the event has been held. It is growing globally as women from around the world and here in Aotearoa New Zealand, appreciate the multitude of benefits associated with fly fishing.

Jordan, who was recently appointed Fish & Game CEO (the first woman to hold the position), says only 10 per cent of the 100,000 licensed freshwater anglers in New Zealand are female.

"I want to see that demographic change," she says. "As an angler myself, I understand the positive impact trout fishing can have on your health and mental well-being. The act of casting a fly line is very therapeutic.

"It is also incredibly rewarding to be able to go out and harvest healthy free-range food for your whanau. It’d be great for more women to experience that.

"Throw into the mix the stunning scenic rivers and lakes we have in New Zealand, where you can readily find trout, and it is truly an incredibly relaxing and rewarding pursuit."

Around the world, fly fishing is recognised for its rejuvenating qualities. 

Casting for Recovery, a US initiative also going in New Zealand, helps women with breast cancer receive emotional, physical and social support through fly fishing. In the US and UK, fly fishing programmes have been set up for veterans following studies that show the pursuit helps with recovery from injury as well as the mental and emotional trauma many suffer after experiencing armed conflict.

Leigh Johnson, a keen fly angler, says women’s lives have become increasingly stressful given the challenges associated with juggling careers and families.

"Women need to give themselves time to decompress and destress. When I was running my business in Wellington, it was an incredibly hectic period in my life. I wish I had been introduced to fly fishing sooner, rather than in my retirement, as it would certainly have helped me unwind and recenter at a time when I needed balance."

Johnson is actively engaged in passing on the pursuit and what she’s learned from it to other women. Supported by Fish & Game and the Kapiti Fly Fishing Club, Women On The Fly (WOTF) is an initiative she helped set up recently to bring female anglers together to support each other and mentor new participants. They are holding their first fly fishing workshop for women in late November in the Hutt Valley.

Meanwhile, both Leigh Johnson and Corina Jordan encourage women to get out on a local waterway this weekend.

"New Zealand has the greatest trout fishing resource in the world, in really beautiful locations. Most rivers and lakes in the country hold excellent populations of fish, including, for the majority of Kiwis, some easily accessible waterways very close to home," says Jordan.

"Those women who want to give it a go can find a wealth of tips and helpful getting started info on our website. All you need is a day licence and some basic gear to enjoy this wonderful pursuit on International Women’s Fly Fishing Day." 

- For more information search ‘Kapiti Women On The Fly’ on Facebook

Above Right: A keeper for the table: Women On The Fly participants having a ball during a recent river fishing outing. 

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