By Allison Taylor
Women’s participation in outdoor recreation continues to soar, and activities that were once male-dominated are seeing a surge of females joining in the fun. In recent years, there have been increased opportunities and support for women who want to learn more about outdoor activities.
Jessica Whitmire, the director of operations at Headwaters Outfitters in Rosman, has been a leader in Western North Carolina for women in fly fishing. When she saw the need for women’s fly fishing resources in 2014, she founded Pisgah Area Women’s Fly Fishing Group (PAWFF). By 2018, the group really started to get its footing and began hosting monthly meetings.
“Pisgah Area Women’s Fly Fishing Group is here to support female anglers around the Pisgah National Forest area,” says Whitmire. “We aim to host one or two events a month to learn new skills, meet new fishing pals and support each other on and off the river.” All ages and skill levels are welcome and encouraged to attend events, ask questions and engage with the PAWFF community, and the group has a Facebook page to help with engagement.
In January and February, PAWFF will be hosting fly tying nights at Ecusta Brewing near Brevard each Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity to meet other local female anglers, learn more about the sport and network with like-minded women. Whitmire encourages anyone interested to join them.
Whitmire recently connected with DB bar D Outfitters, who hosted the group for a fishing day in November. Located in Mills River, DB bar D has river access that owners enjoy using to expand the fly fishing community and make the pastime more accessible for women. Ryan Waldrep, assistant and guide at DB bar D Outfitters, wants to remove as many obstacles as possible so that everyone can enjoy the sport. “Making fly fishing more inclusive is important to us here at DB bar D,” says Waldrep. “By creating a partnership with Pisgah Area Women’s Fly Fishing Group, we hope to assist many women anglers in their journey to becoming an angler, or in fine-tuning their fishing knowledge.” DB bar D Outfitters also offers guided hunting trips and encourages females in that sport as well.
For more information on Pisgah Area Women’s Fly Fishing Group, visit Facebook or contact Jessica Whitmire through HeadwatersOutfitters.com. For more information on DB bar D Outfitters, visit DBbarD.com. Ecusta Brewing is located at 49 Pisgah Highway #3, in Pisgah Forest.