Hitting the River with Katie Dowe
On work days, Katie Dowe (@_misskatiedee_ on Instagram) is a hairdresser. When she’s not behind the chair, though, she doffs her mild-mannered guise, hops into her waders and hits the water.
As a Vancouver Island (British Columbia) native, Katie has been surrounded by fishing for much of her life, but the whole fly fishing thing is relatively new.
“I’ve only been doing it for a couple years — and have lost a lot of flies to trees —so even now, I’m still trying to learn every time I get out on the river,” she says.
Although there was a learning curve, the attraction was immediate.
“The first time I went out and tried it, I was hooked. I’ve never looked back,” Katie says. “And catching my first salmon on a fly rod was such a rush! It’s something that I will always remember.”
In the beginning, she spent a lot of time learning to cast, getting the form down, learning what knots to use and how to tie them, and studying flies and patterns.
“When you snag a lot of flies, you get a lot of knot tying practice,” Katie laughs.
When it comes to catching salmon and bigger fish, she prefers to do it with two hands.
“Spey casting is my favorite,” she says. “Especially when I’m fishing the river.”
Katie tries to fish as often as she can, given her busy work schedule.
“I’ll often look for some fishing buddies to go out with,” she says. “But if everyone’s busy, I’ll just head out myself.”
Living in the Comox Valley area, Katie has access to several excellent rivers for both trout and salmon, as well as lakes and the Strait of Georgia.
“I love it here on the island,” she says. “Being born and raised in such a beautiful place, I’ve always felt lucky that I get to explore and experience so much untouched nature. You can explore the mountains and come down to fish all in the same day.”
She also loves the fishing community that she’s become part of, as well as the clients at her job.
“The people on the island are all just so friendly,” Katie says.
But she’d like to take her fishing adventures on the road.
“Catching a steelhead is on my bucket list,” she says. “I’d also like to do a road trip and fish all across British Columbia.”
For anyone who is interested in trying fly fishing for the first time, Katie says you just have to “get out there and do it.”
“If you know somebody who fly fishes, go out with them,” she says. “Otherwise, check out your local fly shop or go online. As a beginner and a girl on the river, I was nervous when I first started. But it’s worth it. You just have to be open-minded.”