06 Jun Guide Profile Kate Watson
We catch up with professional guide Kate Watson of Kate Watson Fly Fishing about all things fly fishing, including how to improve your spey cast, good things to do if you want to piss off your fishing guide and how to kill it at Instagram stories.
Based in northern British Columbia Kate is well known as an immaculate fly tier, world-class spey caster, conservationist and continuous adventure seeker. Although based in Prince George BC, Kate can be found hosting a variety of fly fishing trips around the world and heading up some of the coolest female angling adventures out there.
Our latest guide profile starts now…
Tell us about your operation and fishing around Prince George.
We are a lodge located just outside of Prince George, targeting arctic grayling, rainbow trout and bull trout. Two years ago I launched a heli-fishing operation going into the headwaters of some epic rivers for bull trout. We specialize in remote fly fishing trips, targeting primarily dry fly grayling and big bull trout.
Seems like PG gets forgotten a bit when it comes to fishing destinations in B.C. Why is that and what will folks find fishing with you that makes your area special?
Oh it totally is, but I also think that is what makes it so special because you aren’t seeing mass crowds of people, or really anyone most days. I know that is something I hold dear to my heart– truly finding those solitary spaces to fish, without the traffic of other anglers or boats on the water. It’s always so interesting at trade shows, because ‘everyone‘ seems to know Prince George, because they drove through on their way to Alaska, or on their way through to the Skeena, or other famous steelhead waters, yet no one seems to stop, unless it is for fuel at Costco.
When I talk about Prince George being a world class fishery for Bull trout/ char on the fly, it turns some heads, because Prince George is kind of in the middle, a little too north for massive rainbows, and a little too east for steelhead. Prince George has a unique geography as well, as we are at a crossroads of the Pacific and Arctic watershed, allowing us to target different species that neighbours west of us, or south of us cannot.
What kind of people do you like fishing with? And what kind could you do without?
I love fishing with people who are fishing to simply have fun. I never enjoyed the egotism, and snobbery that unfortunately seems to go hand in hand with fly fishing at times. When you’re not having fun, what is the point?
You’re well respected on the spey casting community, what are a few tips you can give that will elevate someone’s Spey game?
The biggest thing I tell students all the time, is to slow down. If you think you’re going slow already and things aren’t lining up correctly, slow it down even more. A spey cast is about 4 steps, and while they are distinct, students/ people get hung up on doing the Mr. Roboto and not a fluid motion, powered by accelerations and stops.
And you tie nice flies, what’s some secrets for whipping up pretty bugs that catch fish?
Thank you! Oh man, tie, tie, tie. In all honesty though, pretty flies are more so for the fisherman than the actual fish. But I find the history and symbolism behind the classics intriguing. For classic flies and traditional speys, the key is practice, sizing materials appropriately and quality materials. It’s a lot to invest in, but you’ll make yourself go mad trying to tie with poor mallard.
What’s fun about hosting trips and what trips are you doing this year?
This year I am hosting one of my ” Fly Girl’s Rendezvous on the Skeena” with a bunch of ladies and Tarponville in Costa Rica. This particular Fly Girl’s Rendezvous on the Skeena is a fun trip because I am one of the guides for the ladies. It’s more so a retreat, with wine tasting, spey school, massages and tying. Tarponville will be unreal, we’re going after some of the world’s largest fly caught tarpon. Hosted trips are great, someone takes care of all your travel, your questions and ensures you a reliable, safe and quality fishing trip!
What’s the 3 most annoying things someone can do to their fishing Guide?
1.) When clients tell me where and how to fish when they have never fished this body of water, when they have never fished in this town or even this country. 2.) I’ve had a number of male clients who would cut off every single fly I tied on for them, and would tie a different one on instead…trust your guide. You are paying them for their expertise on this body of water, they want you to catch a fish as much as you want to catch a fish 3.) Negative nellies, when people can’t find simple joy in life, it is really hard to please them with anything if they complain about anything and everything.
You have $50,000 to go on a trip. Where do you go and which three people do you take?
Ooh, either in the Eg-Ur watershed in Mongolia for those massive Taimen or to Kamchatka for Steelhead on their steelhead project or even Siberia for sea-run Taimen. I’d be taking my partner Bryan and two of my girlfriends who love to fish just as much!
What fly gear are you digging right now?
I am really digging the Hardy Fortunas…they’re unreal. The drag system is fully sealed and has about 30 pounds of strength– which is more than enough for big game fish. Also, there are two new line companies out right now, which happen to be from two different buddies who are top Spey-o-Rama champs and their lines, Bridge Lines and Boss Lines are super cool. They’re both just hitting the ground running, but I am utterly impressed. Bridge Lines is coming out with a mid belly that almost acts like a skagit, so for someone interested in moving past skagit casting into a more traditional set up, it would be an awesome line for that, or simply for just using a larger fly, say for winter steelhead.
Fav spey set up? Rod line n reel?
I am a big fan of the 15 foot rods. My favourite steelhead set up here is a 14′ 6″ Bruce and Walker with a 55 ft Fall Favourite on a classic Hardy Perfect.
Do you have a cool bear story? Everyone loves a bear story.
I once thought I was being chased by a moose, but it turned out the moose and I were being chased by a grizzly. Things got western really fast.
What do you attribute to the growth of female fly anglers in the past 10 years?
Women have always been in the fly fishing industry, but there certainly has been an undeniable growth within the last few years in the industry and sport. I believe perhaps because the entire sport is changing, it’s becoming quite “hip” versus, historically being an gentlemen’s sport. Companies are changing their marketing to turn it into a young-person’s sport now, and creating more women-centered lines of clothing/waders/boots which allows for the idea that the opportunity is there for women so why not try.
You kill it on the insta stories. What makes a good insta story for people who can’t figure it out?
Haha, I think it is all about being genuine, and being yourself. Instagram has changed so much in the last year or two that I think people are less trusting of accounts–aka people’s motives now. So being genuine and sticking to your morals keeps your real and likeable I believe.
What’s your socials and where can people find you:
About the Author
Yos Gladstone is the owner operator of Chromer Sport Fishing, a guiding company and booking agency based in British Columbia, Canada. A full-time salmon & steelhead guide, Yos spends 200+ days a year on the water fishing, guiding and hosting trips.