Terri Raugland

I have been fly-fishing for more than 30 years, and still look forward to any chance I get to step into a river or flat to fish. I started fly-fishing when I was 20 because I fell for a guy who loved to fly-fish. If I wanted to spend any time with him, I needed to figure out how to do it. (He wasn’t a great instructor, by the way. I certainly didn’t fall in love with the sport immediately because of the frustration caused by casting, the insane knots (not the kind you tie, but the kind you untangle), line control, fly selection, tippet size. . . I could go on and on. I still understand why folks are so intimidated by this sport: there’s a lot going on in fly fishing. But I know now that’s it’s so worth all those hassles and frustrations.

I overcame most of the hurdles in fly fishing and came to love it. I moved to Missoula, Montana, shortly after graduate school and knew I would never leave. Missoula is a fly-fishing Mecca, with over 400 river miles to fish within an hour’s drive of town. What’s not to love?

I now own Blackfoot River Outfitters in Missoula with John Herzer (the guy who stayed with me through all stages of my fly-fishing story). We take lots of folks on our rivers who have never fly-fished and want to experience this incredible sport. My “job” provides fulfillment and happiness in knowing that the people we introduce to fly fishing will experience something unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before, and I’m not even talking about the trout they may or may not catch. Fly fishing is so much more than that.

I’m lucky and grateful in so many ways, but sometimes I think I’m mostly grateful that I became an angler. The ability to grab my rod and run out to the river for even an hour of fly fishing is something I cherish.

Nelli Williams

As the Director of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program, I have the honor of helping to take care of the Alaskan rivers anglers love to fish every day. For me the magic of fly fishing is rooted in the freedom to escape from the busyness of daily routines and explore new places with my family. We reconnect on the river, we laugh, we slow down and enjoy just being together. I hope I can inspire other families to find this magic too.

Jackie Kutzer

I started fly fishing when I met my husband, Pete, in 2011. I had already been with Orvis for five years then, but it was seeing his passion and dedication for the sport that sparked my curiosity. I fell in love with fly fishing after taking an Orvis two-day Women’s FlyFishing School with Molly Semenik in Manchester, Vermont. Feeling the camaraderie that happens when being part of a group of women, the way fly fishing reconnects you with nature, the places fly fishing can take you when you plan that next adventure–it was all amazing to me. I was immediately all in. I will never forget all of the people who were so kind, patient and willing to give their time to help me learn how to fly fish and who really made it a fun journey for me. I knew I wanted to pay that forward and help others find the same joy and excitement for the sport as I had. Enter Chrissy Atkins, one of my co-workers and best friends. We started teaching women-only FF101s and 201s through events, retail stores, and road tours together over the last seven years, and are now co-leaders of 50/50 On the Water. This past summer, Chrissy and I taught four women-only Orvis FlyFishing Schools in Manchester–the very same school that got me hooked. It’s been an exciting journey so far, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  

Sarah Gardner

Sarah Gardner can hardly believe that she’s wrapping up her 21st year as a full-time charter boat captain! “Fishing doesn’t just fit into my life,” she says. “It is my life.” Sarah has fished since she could walk and has been fly fishing for over 25 years. Her early introduction to fly fishing and falconry (the art of hunting with hawks) was through the ancient writings of Dame Juliana Barners, a female fly-fishing pioneer. Instead of playing with dolls, Sarah made hunting equipment for imaginary hawks, fished every day in the summer, and dreamed about tying her own flies. After getting a Bachelor’s degree in Illustration from Moore College of Art in 1987, she worked in advertising for several years, but she never felt comfortable working inside. To be around other like-minded people and earn extra money, she took an evening sales position at Anglers Sport Center, a big outfitter in Maryland. Within a month, Sarah quit advertising and joined Anglers full-time. For the next decade, she lived to hunt and fish. During this time, she also worked as an environmental educator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Teaching kids and adults about the environment, while paddling in canoes for CBF was the perfect stepping-stone to guiding. Despite doing what she loved, her career appeared to be at a dead-end. Then, a surprise phone call from legendary fly fisherman Lefty Kreh changed Sarah’s life. Lefty suggested that she channel her eclectic set of talents and become an outdoor writer. It was a scary job move for a bad speller, but Lefty’s confidence never wavered, and Sarah soon had an article published in a regional fly fishing magazine. In the two decades since meeting Lefty Kreh, she has authored several weekly and monthly fly-fishing columns and countless freelance articles, and her photos have also been published with her writing and independently. Sarah continues to do fly-fishing presentations and casting demonstrations throughout the US. She finds that teaching is a really important part of being a good guide and says that it’s especially gratifying to help other women feel comfortable in traditionally male sport. In 1997, Sarah moved from Maryland to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, because of great fishing opportunities and a fantastic man. She has been married to Capt. Brian Horsley for 15+ years, and 2018 marked her 21st season as a full-time charter boat captain! Her office is a 23-foot Jones Brothers Marine center console boat named “Fly Girl.” Both the Atlantic and Pamlico Sound are loaded with stripers, blues, sharks, red drum, speckled trout and a variety of other fly munching fish. In September, the “Fly Girl” moves from Oregon Inlet to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, where Sarah and her clients chase a variety of species including false albacore in the ocean off Cape Lookout.

Whitney Milhoan

Whitney is the executive director of Casting for Recovery, a national nonprofit that provides empowering fly-fishing experiences for women with breast cancer. She is passionate about exploring the intersection between outdoor experience and physical and emotional wellness, and has dedicated her career to working with programs utilizing outdoor therapies. Whitney lives in the Bridger Mountains of Montana with her husband and three wild kids. Together they enjoy fly fishing, skiing, and exploring wild places.

Rachel Berenard

Rachel began fly fishing and fly tying after attending an ORVIS 101 class in 6th grade, and she still loves it more than ever. She’s a member of her local fly-fishing club, Potomac Valley Fly Fishers, and is involved in the TU Youth Leadership Council. Rachel is an International Baccalaureate student (junior) in high school and also an avid equestrian, runner, and cycler

Mary Schaeffer

Mary has been fly fishing her whole life and has been lucky enough to incorporate her love of the outdoors into a career as a Retail District Manager for Orvis. It’s great to work with such a talented and fun group of anglers because there’s no shortage of people to fish with, and she learns from her Orvis coworkers every time she goes out. Mary’s dad taught her and her to fly-fish when they were very young, and Mary grew up fishing the Carolinas for trout, bass and redfish. Remembering the importance of her own fly-fishing education and introducing new anglers to the sport through FF101 classes is one of her favorite aspects of her role at Orvis, She says that it’s awesome to see students catch their first fish on the fly and better understand the importance of conservation. While Mary travels all over the country for work, she tries to make time for as much fishing as she can.

Marsha Benovengo

Fly fishing became my place of solace after 9/11. Other women, as well as men, have always encouraged my excitement about learning as much as I could about the sport, and their generosity motivated me.

A fly-fishing school on the Upper Delaware led me to the Joan Wulff Fly Fishers, an organization built to educate women in the sport of fly fishing. I eventually became President. JWFF connected me to Casting for Recovery, which heightened my desire to serve breast-cancer survivors and help them explore the healing powers of fly fishing. I am now Program Coordinator for the CfR Eastern PA Program. I also serve as a Director and Diversity Chapter Chairperson for Central Jersey TU. This role keeps me thinking about paying it forward.

In September 2016, I joined the staff of the Orvis Princeton. Orvis has given me the chance to interact with women looking to break the barriers and get into the sport of fly fishing, by teaching FF101 and encouraging them. The 50/50 on the Water initiative provides an opportunity for me to mentor and empower women interested in becoming fly fishers.

Maggie Heumann

Maggie is an Alabama native, an Idaho resident, and is employed in the great state of Wyoming. An early love of fly-fishing led her to pursue a degree in Entomology and Poultry Science from Auburn University, making her somewhat of a bug and hackle expert. She has Master’s Degree in Entomology from the University of Nebraska, with an aquatic-insect-education specialty. After spending all of her college summers in the Jackson Hole area and a few years at grad school, Maggie finally decided to make the Tetons her permanent home. She likes to joke that the New England kids move West to ski, while the Southern kids head West to hunt and fish. It could not be more accurate in Maggie’s case. A true love for insects and the outdoors made a career in fly fishing a natural progression. After working for years at local shops as a buyer, she now manages Orvis Jackson Hole and does entomology-related outreach in the local community. She and her fly-fishing guide-husband, Hunter, live in Victor, Idaho with their two dogs, Bug and Missy.

Loretta Strickland

Loretta grew up in Washington D.C. and now lives in Oakland. She attended a fly-fishing clinic given by the East Bay Regional Parks District and fell in love with the sport. Her passion has led her to catch Atlantic salmon in Scotland; rainbow trout, grayling, and nase in Poland; and roosterfish, dorado and other species in Baja. I also have caught trout in British Columbia and other states.