Fly Girl Q&A is a new, recurring Fly Life Magazine feature focused on contemporary women in the sport of fly fishing. Enthusiasm and participation by women has never been higher within the sport than it is right now. Enjoy getting to know some of the ladies of our sport…
Anne Marie Emery
In what capacity are you currently engaged in the sport of fly fishing?
Heavily. If not fishing myself, I spend a lot of time helping get young anglers hooked on the sport. For the past 11 years I have worked for the Henry’s Fork Foundation and worked to build an education program for the organization that engages local watershed kids in fishing. Working with local guides and guide shops we created a program called “Youth on the Fly” which teams local kids up with local professional guides for a free day of guided fishing instruction.
How were you introduced to the sport?
I was introduced to the sport by my father at a very young age. Fishing the Henry’s Fork has always been an important part of my summers growing up. My great-grandfather, who was a potato farmer in Teton, Idaho, built near the North Fork of the HF, where his kids, and their kids could always visit to enjoy the sport.
What is it about fly fishing that “keeps you coming back”?
The challenge. You never know what you are going to get (if anything) when out on the water. Also, the biology of river systems has always fascinated me, especially on spring fed waters like the Henry’s Fork. I remember my dad putting me on an island on the Railroad Section of the Henry’s Fork while he fished the technical waters. I was entertained for hours just studying bugs, mice, birds- all of it. It’s the ecosystem as a whole that fascinates me.
Who were your biggest influences or mentors, male or female?
Aside from my father, my biggest influence growing up was Mike Lawson (Henry’s Fork Anglers). I remember my dad always reading his books growing up, which in turn, influenced me to take up his reads. Today Mike and his wife Sheralee are important friends and mentors to me on the Fork. Also Patagonia Fly-Fishing Ambassador Mille Jo Paini (TroutHunter) has been a huge mentor to me in my adult fly-fishing years, and with helping me introduce local kids to fly-fishing.
What would you consider your home fishery and what do you find so alluring and special about it?
My home fishery is the Henry’s Fork. Arguably the largest spring creek in the world, this fishery is unmatched in hatches, river section diversity and large healthy wild trout. With over 3000 miles of creeks and rivers, the Fork gives you any type of fishing experience you want. If you want to catch a lot of fish or nymph, you can explore the lower Fork, or the Box Canyon section (below Island Park dam). If you want to be technically tested as a dry-fly fisherman, and want to patiently hunt huge rising wild trout, you cannot beat the Railroad Ranch located in Harriman State Park. To this day I put down more fish in excitement (on the Ranch) than I actually land in that section!
What environmental challenges are faced by your fishery?
The Henry’s Fork is a working river, meaning it is in demand for crop production, hydro-electric generation, and of course recreation. The biggest threat facing the Fork today is how to meet all these needs in a way that also sustains the fishery. Water management is currently, and will continue to be the most challenging issue, especially in relation to increased demand and climate change. Another issue is engaging local kids in appreciating and participating in fishing their back-yard river.
When you are not fishing,what are you doing?
Being a mom to my son Jack, a budding fly-fisherman.
You have the day off. What are you fishing for and where?
Rising bows on the Lower Henry’s Fork, or the Fall River.
What charitable organizations or causes do you support? Why is this important to you?
I support all organizations that work to protect the Fork, but mostly encourage support of the Idaho Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Henry’s Fork Foundation’s Education/Research and Restoration programs. I also encourage support of the Teton Regional Land Trust, Friends of Harriman State Park, the Trumpeter Swan Society, the Teton Raptor Center and the Idaho Conservation League.
Where would you go to fish if there were zero restrictions on expense, travel, etc…? Why?
I have always wanted to fish salt waters for bonefish and permit just to compare it to casting on the Railroad Ranch. Someday…