Monday, May 13, 2013

Caddis Hatch with Alice Owsley

photo by Christopher Daniel

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to fish with Alice Owsley, currently the only women outfitter in Montana running Riverside Anglers.  Last year when Marty returned from IceOut, he talked about some of the highlight but the only person he raved about was Alice and said, “You gotta meet Alice, she’s fun, hard core and genuine.”
I called Alice when we landed in Montanathis year for the Simms IceOut, the next day we were on the water, rigging up rods and taking turns rowing.  Alice started guiding 14 years ago after deciding she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life indoors looking under microscopes. The river is her playground.  I watched her on the Gallatin River turning over rocks to match the hatch and changing flies till a willing trout would slurp one from the surface.  Patience’s is a virtue. Not only is she a successful trout fisherman and guide, she can back a boat trailer better than most guys and cast a rod like a champion. She is also passionate and dedicated to conserving the natural resources, a supporter of Trout Unlimited and advocate of getting more women into the sport of fly-fishing. If you’re heading to Montana to fish the Madison, Yellowstone, Big Hole or Beaverhead Rivers I can guarantee you will have a fabulous time with Alice.
photo courtesy of Alice
This week you talked about your dad and how he introduced you to fishing. How old where you when you started fishing? 
My Dad learned to fly fish when I was young; he thought it was a great sport for the whole family. I picked it up before my eighth birthday.

What is your most memorable experience on the water with your dad? 
I have a hard time pinning down one experience of fishing with my Dad. We spent a lot of time practicing casting in the yard when I was a kid. I have also been able to travel and fish with him. Trading off big trout targets in New Zealand was fun, as was the little competition we had for the biggest bonefish one day in the Bahamas, he won. . I’ve really enjoyed fishing with my family over the years.

After college you decided to start guiding, why did you make that chose and how long have you being guiding?
I love being outside. I was looking at the prospects of staring into a microscope and working in a lab and couldn’t picture the long term outcome of working inside. I was always itching to get outside. I helped out with some Women’s fly fishing classes, met some great gals and really liked the fly fishing industry. My first full time guide job was in 1999 in King Salmon, AK, chasing salmon and big rainbows. I have been guiding in the Yellowstone area since 2001. The in between years were working in fly shops in the area.

You’re one of the only women outfitters in Montana how is it competing with the big boys?
I always knew I wanted to run my own business. I enjoy guiding and sharing my passion for fly fishing with people. I was recently told I have a niche in the local fly fishing businesses, being the only woman, hopefully that will pay off for my business. In the end I just want to be the best guide I can be on the water.

Do you have a favorite hatch?
The caddis hatches on the Madison. I love that time of year. Usually the water is a great level and you can find fish hanging right where they are supposed to be living. Not only are there risers, but caddis really bring out the stalking of trout. The right fly, a good drift in that one bubble line and a beautiful slurp, hard to beat.

 Outside of Montana, where will your next fishing trip be?
 Probably… my honeymoon. To a beautiful saltwater destination, in the Pacific with hungry bonefish.