The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation conducted a study in 2016 and concluded that more than two million women are anglers, which was an increase of about 142,000 female participants in the sport from the previous year.
March 8 is International Women’s Day and Orvis is not letting the opportunity pass them by – the brand is launching a new Orvis 5050 On the Water initiative to help achieve gender parity amongst anglers, which in turn means more women paddlers and more women on the water in general, and we think that’s a good thing.
This program’s goal is to see an even gender split in fly fishing by 2020. According to a recent New York Times article, “women are now the fasting growing demographic in fly fishing, in one of the most male-dominated outdoors sports.”
In partnership with Simms, Costa and Yeti, Orvis is seeking to lower the barriers of entry to the sport by offering women-only fly-fishing 101 classes for free (these are in addition to the regular FF101 classes), as well as planning additional events throughout the country.
These events are focused on educating women about selecting the right equipment and gear, and necessary fishing skills. The program also offers mentoring opportunities for future female guides, shop employees, and industry leaders.
Almost all Orvis stores have free Fly Fishing 101 classes, spanning from early spring to late fall, and each store has their own schedule posted on the Orvis website. These classes are for anyone looking to get into fly fishing and there are some women-only classes at select stores.
The brand said its 5050 program will last at least until 2020 or gender parity has been achieved.