Since its inception in 2014, Maine Women Fly Fishers has been growing at a phenomenal rate.
The non-profit social organization is for Maine women who “love to fly fish or are interested in learning,” according to the group’s Facebook page. The purpose of the group is to “provide a forum for women to network with others who fish, to provide educational opportunities about fly fishing and to have fun.”
About a year ago, there were slightly more than 450 members. Today, there are 735. However, only a small fraction of that number attend any meetings or go on organized trips. Many simply share their experiences, needs and questions.
One reason there are not more members at meetings is due to the state’s size. The Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited was instrumental in beginning the group, charging then vice president, Evelyn King, with the task. Sebago is the southernmost chapter in Maine, but meetings that are central for the founders are an hour or more drive away.
Until recently, participating in the group was difficult for women in the Bangor region due to a lack of a local chapter. That changed after Paula Maxim of Veazie formed her own Bangor chapter.
After discussing her proposition with King, she asked the Maine Women Flyfishers Facebook page if there were other women in the Bangor area who would be interested in gathering together. Turns out, there were.
Twelve women attended the first meeting at Black Bear Brewing Company. The Maine Women Fly Fishers Bangor Chapter was up and running.
Today, the group meets at the Veazie Salmon Club. Not only did the club agree to let the women use its facilities, they volunteered to help. At subsequent meetings this spring, several of the club members brought extra rods and assisted those who needed help learning and improving their casting on the club’s lawn. They have been willing to give maps and advice on fishing along the Penobscot.
Maxim said that none of the women who attend are proficient fly fishermen. They are all learning, but eager to immerse themselves in their new passion.
There are many facets of this sport. There is the obvious equipment and techniques for using it. Then, there are all the different paths one can follow. A fisher woman must be able to attach a fly to her tippet. She may or may not have to learn how to attach the tippet to the line, or get into different types of line, or create her own tapered line.She must first have a fly to tie onto her tippet, but, only should she wish, she could learn to tie that fly. She will need a rudimentary understanding of what flies to have in her box, and, should she wish, she could learn all about the life cycles of the various critters those flies represent.
All of these aspects of the hobby are being or will be addressed at meetings.
Meetings will be held on the third Tuesday of the month during the fall, winter and early spring. They are not planning to have meetings during November and December because of the busy holiday season. All women are welcome to join. Experience is not required. The desire to learn to fly fish and meeting other women who want to fish are reasons to attend.
The group will meet at 4:30 p.m. for casting on the lawn or in the Penobscot. At 5:30 p.m., the group will hold a potluck supper and a designated speaker will address a topic related to fly fishing at 6 p.m.. Author Catherine Schmitt from the Penobscot Salmon Club was asked to speak about the history of salmon in the Penobscot River in the September meeting.
For more information, contact Paula Maxim through the Maine Women Fly Fishing Facebook page. The group currently has no dues and no attendance requirements.