On the Fly: Gender is irrelevant when hiring a fishing guide

Molly Mix
On the Fly
Guide Molly Mix and client Kathy at Day's End on the Frying Pan.
Taylor Creek Fly Shop/Courtesy photo

It’s not every parent’s dream for their precious child to grow up and become a fishing guide. Or, is it? Either way, for this girl from a West Texas oil patch, it was the last career path anyone back home could’ve dreamed that I’d take. At least, I married well.

There is a constant when I meet first-time guests in the morning — the surprise. I still look forward to (admittedly in slight anticipation) catching that brief yet exposing look on my client’s face when they’re greeted with, “This is your fishing guide, Molly.” Taking it all in stride, I offer my firmest southern handshake and smile while saying, “You’re about to have a ton of fun.”

Granted, the general public’s surprise at the existence of female fishing guides isn’t shocking in itself. Aside from fellow Taylor Creek guides Shannon Outing and Natalie Markuson, (plus other talented local guides Flinn Pomeroy, Shyanne Orvis, London Krapff and my sister Rachel McKelvey) who tear it up on a regular basis, female guides are relatively few and far between in this valley. This phenomenon never ceases to amaze me, given the natural beauty surrounding so many trout streams as well as the general tranquility of the sport. 

Then, there’s the ample supply of men who frequent fly shops, their generally genuine interest in offering bits of wisdom and free float trips to girls seeming even remotely interested in the sport, and the promise of complimentary après fishing beers. What’s not to love?

From a guide’s perspective, I’ve never been made to feel inferior or incompetent on the river by being a girl. In fact, I reckon I’m spared a good bit of the foul moods, bad sportsmanship and general crudeness and rudeness that my male co-workers are so often privy to in their day-to-day fishing excursions. Then again, I’m convinced that Coors Light is a perfectly acceptable meal replacement, and it is pretty fun swapping up-to-date fishing reports every morning, evening and lunch break with some of the most talented anglers in Colorado.

And then, there’s the look on someone’s face when they hook into their first fish. Because, young or old, regardless of my (or their) gender, that’s got to be the best part of the job.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or

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