A special thank you goes out to the local fly shops and outfitters listed below.
Local Fly Shops
Backwater Angler (Monkton, MD)
Great Feathers Fly Shop (Sparks, MD)
Hunting Creek Outfitters (Frederick, MD)
L.L.Bean (Tysons Corner, VA)
Murray’s Fly Shop (Edinburg, VA)
Orvis Company (Clarendon, VA) and Orvis Company (Tysons Corner, VA) and Orvis Company (Bethesda, MD)
Urban Angler (Alexandria, VA)
Beaver Creek Fly Shop (Hagerstown, MD)
Member Guides & Fly Fishing Schools
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Coastal Conservation Association Maryland
Neighbors of the Northwest Branch
Potomac Riverkeeper, Inc
American Rivers Maryland
Sierra Club of MD
Other Fly Fishing Organizations
United Women on the Fly (UWOTF)
Casting for Recovery
International Women Fly Fishers
Falmouth Flats Fly Fishers
Fly Fishers International
National Capital Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Northern Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Potomac-Patuxent Chapter Trout Unlimited
Maryland Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Rapidan Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Seneca Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Antietam Fly Anglers
Potomac Valley Fly Fishers
Project Healing Waters Program
Spring Creek RV Camp
Maryland Fly Fishing and Collectible Tackle Show
Licensing and Stocking Information
Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife
District of Columbia Department of the Environment
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
NOAA Fisheries Service
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
West Virginia Department of Natural Resources
Topography and Weather
MSN Live Search Maps
Montgomery County Watershed Assessments
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Geological Survey Real-Time Water Data For The Nation
The Weather Channel
Additional Fly Fishing Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Regardless of where you fish always take precautions for your own safety.
- Please always fish with a buddy or two.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be distracted by your cell phone.
- Carry a whistle that will blow even when wet.
- Carry pepper spray or bear spray.
- Fish in sight of your buddies.
- Be sure your vehicle is locked and all valuables are out of sight.
- Don’t linger in the parking lot especially when no one else is around.
- Don’t be distracted by strangers that may approach you asking for help when you are alone.
After that, breathable chest waders, and vest filled with nippers, hemostats, leaders and tippet, non-lead split shot and strike indicators will also be needed. A favorite brimmed hat, polarized sunglasses, non-corrosive sunscreen and bug spray, a whistle or cell phone for emergencies and of course your fishing license and you’re ready to go.
Magnifying lenses will help you see small flies and a head lamp will greatly improve your vision in low light conditions but are not essential.
Before you buy the big-ticket items, it is recommended that you try several different brands and sizes before you make your final decision. CWA works closely with most of the local fly fishing shops. They support our fundraising efforts, send us potential members and we in turn send them customers and support them in this way. We recommend you introduce yourself and they will gladly help you with all your fly fishing needs. Please visit the local fly shops listed under Resources/Related Links.
Also, CWA has a limited amount of equipment available to lend to members. Contact the CWA Outings Coordinator or your trip leader for details.
And don’t forget the best resource of all in the area — a premier fly fishing club — the Chesapeake Women Anglers. Please consider joining and attending our Clinics, Fish Lunch and Learns, and Destination trips. Here’s our Membership page.
Get involved and expand your enjoyment of this wonderful sport of fly fishing. CWA owns an extensive library containing numerous resources relating to fly fishing including videos as well as books. These resources are available by loan to members only. To borrow from the lending library, please send a message through the website via Contact Us.
Fitness and Flyfishing by KiKi Galvin
KiKi Galvin is a fly fishing guide and proprietor of Ms. Guided Fly Fishing Services. She is also the past President of Chesapeake Women Anglers; Vice President of the Northern Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimited and a volunteer with both Casting for Recovery and Project Healing Waters.
I don’t know what you do when you are not fly fishing, but let me suggest something that may not only improve your fly fishing skills but your quality of life as well. I spend Monday through Friday as personal trainer and I am the proprietor of “MOVE”. I am certified through the American Council on Exercise and have certificates in pre/post natal care, post rehabilitation and breast cancer exercise programming. On the weekends I love to go fly fishing. So what better topic is there for me to share with you than fitness for fly fishing!
Check with your Doctor first
Before you engage in an exercise program if you have medical considerations, please seek the advice of a Doctor first. With that said, there are varying levels of fitness among the general population. Yet to live life to the fullest, it helps to have a moderate level of fitness. This means being able to perform functional daily activities with relative ease and efficiency while also avoiding injury.
A comprehensive exercise program
There are four components: Aerobic/Anaerobic Conditioning; Balance; Flexibility and Muscle Strength. To get you ready for this fishing season let’s talk about aerobic conditioning first. This activity is performed to improve the efficiency of your heart and circulatory system. For hiking, climbing and wading aerobic conditioning is necessary. When selecting an aerobic activity, choose something you enjoy that also allows minimal impact to your joints-for example walking, cycling and yes running as long as it is on comfortable surfaces and you have good supportive footwear. Perform this activity rhythmically and continuously for 30-45 (note if you can’t do that much start slow and do as much as you can but be consistent with whatever you choose to do) minutes 3 or more days per week. Stretching is good to incorporate into the conditioning as you see fit. Stretch slowly and purposefully without bouncing. In the weeks and months ahead in your quarterly newsletter and the website we will explore the other components I have mentioned above but for now get started with your aerobic conditioning. Mark your progress on a calendar or in your fishing journal and then you can look back and see just how much you have accomplished. Trust me that first fishing outing will be much more enjoyable.
Keep in mind we should always carry a wading staff and have the proper wading boot to begin with. Never put yourself in an unsafe wading situation and always respect the current and water conditions.
Now let’s get started. The leg muscles are as follows: Quadriceps; hamstrings; hip flexors and extensors; hip abductors and hip adductors; calf (gastrocnemius) and shin (anterior tibialis). These are very easy muscles to work on and the good news is for the most part you do not need fancy machines to strengthen them. In many cases your own body weight will do.
To target the quad and hamstring find a wall and sit half way down against it. Make sure your shins are perpendicular to the floor and hold for 30 seconds. As you get stronger hold for up to a minute. Your goal is 3 minutes in that modified position. Once you are able to hold for three minutes slide a bit further down and start the process all over again. Your goal is to eventually hold (seated in a chair position) for a full three minutes. To target your hip flexors slide up and down the wall (instead of sitting) for a period of time and work up to three minutes. To target hip extensors stand facing the wall with a straight leg, and push it back as far as you can go without leaning into the wall. Contracting the muscle as you are pushing back, hold for fifteen seconds and relax. Repeat 15 times for each leg. To target the abductors standing against the wall, push your leg out to the side as far as you can go without leaning over. Hold for fifteen seconds and relax. Repeat 15 times for each leg. To target adductors sit on a chair or bench, put a ball or book between your legs and squeeze for fifteen seconds, then relax. To target the calf muscles stand on the floor or on a step and lift your body weight up and then relax to the starting position, repeat 15 times. To target the shin muscles standing on the floor one foot at a time, lift your toes to your shin and hold for 15 seconds, repeat 15 times. Note: all of these exercises are done with your own body weight or can be done adding a band/ankle weights or tube.
If you take the time to do these simple exercises 2-3 times per week and take time to do some gentle stretching as well, you should see improvement in daily functional activities as well as when you are out on the water fishing. Good luck!
Note: A separate discussion on the muscles of the shoulder joint proper is appropriate when we discuss the casting motion in particular and of course that will include the rotator cuff muscles. We then will finish with the muscles of the upper arm, forearm and wrist.
So let’s get started. We have all experienced the anglers crouch as I say, that anxious, fixated-on-the strike, bent over arms extended position while we are fly fishing. This posture, while keeping us dialed into the strike, most of the time causes our upper back to become fatigued, these muscles that I have already mentioned are the Trapezius, Rhomboids, Serratus and the Levator Scapulae. These muscles have a great deal to do with posture and can be strengthened in many ways.
To work on your Trapezius and Levator Scapulae a shoulder shrug is the main way done by lifting your shoulders to your ears and back down as well as rolling them forward and backward. You can also hold your hands above your head and reach for the ceiling. To work the Rhomboids and the Serratus with arms bent at the elbow and parallel to the floor reach or push forward then draw the elbows back and down. Pretend there is a soda can between your shoulder blades and try to squeeze it. Also place hands on a counter top with your feet back behind you and your body at an angle and with arms straight dip body into the counter top and then press away. It is a very small movement but effective. Remember to do one set of 15 repetitions for each movement 3 times a week.
In the last two articles I have given you exercises, most of them can be done with your own body weight. This will help facilitate you doing them and build foundation strength. I will be discussing the theory of Progressive Resistance which can be applied to all the exercises I have and will be giving to you in the future. I will discuss the many other forms of resistance that may be used as well as Core Exercises to round out “Fitness For Fly Fishing,” and it is my hope eventually that this will be the goal of all the members of CWA! Good luck ladies.
I would also like to introduce some core exercises into the discussion of Perfecting Posture on the Water. Core muscles are simply our abdominals and lower back muscles. To start let’s talk about an exercise called a plank to strengthen your abdominals. You support yourself up on your forearms with palms flat on the floor and up on your toes, you are facing the floor. Hold that position like a flat board or plank for 30 seconds. Work your way up 30 seconds at a time until you can hold that position for 3 minutes. It is a killer exercise but always remember to breath while holding any position. For lower back muscles lie flat on the floor, arms extended over your head and legs extended like superman (or superwoman) flying through the air. Lift your right arm and left leg at the same time and hold for 15 seconds repeat on the opposite side.
Next article we will discuss the muscles of the Shoulder Joint proper. Anterior, Posterior and Medial Deltoid; Pectoralis Major and Latissimus Dorsi.
Another very important set of muscles interior to the shoulder joint are the Rotator Cuff muscles. They are stabilizers and of course rotators. Their tendons form a cuff around the upper and posterior part of the joint. We know them as SITS: Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor and Subscapularis. We all know that these are the set of muscles that can be and do cause many people problems after many years of casting and fly fishing. It is very important that anytime we are performing exercises we warm up the Rotator Cuff muscles. It is very easy to do. Get a hand weight, bend over at the waist and make basketball size circles with both right and left arm. Do this 15 times per arm. A good stretch is to take one arm and pull it across your chest and apply pressure to the upper arm.
Take time before you get out on the water this Spring to go over and perform the exercises I have discussed in the past several articles. I promise you your day on the water will be much more enjoyable and less strenuous as well. In my next article I will conclude with the smaller muscles of the upper arm, forearm and wrist.
To strengthen these muscles we can use a light hand weight as well as a tube or band. We are all familiar with the Bicep Curl, start with your arms at your side, elbows in and draw your forearm up to your upper arm. For the Triceps Brachii, flex at the waist, tuck your forearm up to your side and press the forearm back like you were handing off a baton in a race. To work the Flexor Carpi Radialis and Flexor Carpi Ulnaris make a fist and bring it to your forearm. To work the Extensor Carpi Radialis and Extensor Carpi Ulnaris, reverse the motion by making a fist and bring the back of your hand to your forearm. They are most commonly called wrist curls. I also like as I am sitting around to squeeze a small pliable ball for a bit, it works the grip muscles and all the small muscles in the hand.
I hope many of you have been able to read these articles and put the information to use. Not only do these exercises improve your fly casting and fly fishing abilities but will hopefully keep you injury free and enjoying more of your precious time on the water!
Kiss more fish!
This past August a merry band of anglers including yours truly went on an adventure of a lifetime to Iceland to fish for Atlantic Salmon. The country is beautiful and much of the country side looks like the surface of the moon. It is all volcanic with a bright green moss growing on top of it. Equally as amazing and beautiful were it’s rivers and waterways. Iceland is full of rivers that hold Salmo Salar (Atlantic Salmon) Arctic Char and Brown Trout. We were there to catch the elusive Atlantic Salmon. The saying goes that Salmon are “the fish of a thousand casts” Well I am here to tell you it is true in every sense of the word. Most of the rivers are big with monster water, deep pools and steep cliffs. I hope by now you all know where I am going with this! I have been sharing my knowledge of fitness as it relates to fly fishing and casting and everything I know and have shared was realized on my trip! I am in pretty good shape, but I should be I am a personal trainer…. and yet some of the activities really challenged me and made me grateful that I follow and subscribe to much of what I have written in my Column “Fitness for Fly Fishing.”
First of all you are up early, then driven over a very bumpy terrain to a per-determined pool only to find yourself standing at the precipice of a very steep cliff and a rope is your only way down! This is where your core and upper body strength come into play, not to mention grip strength as you descend down the rope with your rod in your teeth.
Once you made it down and in the rushing water then commences the cast, mend, strip, strip, strip…one step down and repeat over and over again pulling a little bit more line off your reel as to cover the entire pool. You put to use every muscle in your entire upper body. Oh I forget to tell you 6-9 wt rods are used most of the time…. challenging your wrist and forearm strength. Salmon fishing is the perfect example of insanity… “doing something over and over again expecting a different result.” If nothing hits, you go back up to the head of the pool and do it all over again with a different fly…exhausting. You fight the current to stand up, then you cast… oh maybe a thousand times. God forbid you have to cross the river to fish from the opposite side because your guide spots a fish behind a rock way over there. If that one decides to hit your fly hang on because you are in for the fight of your life. You have to show that fish who is boss my guide told me and I was thankful I had the upper body strength and endurance to do just that. Then remember you have to cross back over the river to the other side and get back up that rope to get to the truck…legs don’t fail me now is all I could chant, my walking every night before I left for Iceland helped with the aerobic challenge at hand. Once in the truck it is back to the lodge to eat lunch and sleep only to get back out there for the evening session! Fun, fun, fun bring it on I say! The moral of this story folks is that all I have shared with you this past year in my column really does make one prepared for a trip of a life time and maybe just maybe the fish of a lifetime too! Mine was 20 lbs and it took me 30 minutes to land. My band of merry anglers fished for 6 days and all lived to tell about it. Get out there this Fall ladies and put your fitness to the test. I promise you will be amazed.
Kiss More Fish!