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Sportsman Outdoors

P.A. women fly fishers!

Jack Danchak
Posted 11/17/23

The United States won the bronze medal at the recent second Ladies World Fly Fishing Championship in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

Tess Weigand of Coburn, Pa and Ashley Wilmont of State …

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Sportsman Outdoors

P.A. women fly fishers!


The United States won the bronze medal at the recent second Ladies World Fly Fishing Championship in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

Tess Weigand of Coburn, Pa and Ashley Wilmont of State College, Pa, both of whom guide professionally in Pennsylvania, were on the six-member U.S. team that medaled in the tournament on lakes Edith, Sullivan, Leighton, and the Similkameen River.

The Czech Republic, returning champs, took the gold medal, Canada earned the silver medal, and the United States took the bronze medal in the competition that also included teams from England, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Sweden.

Fluctuating weather conditions contributed to a challenging tournament, said Tess Weigand. “Fish were in fall transition mode but not as predatory as they can be at this time of year. It was 80° when we arrived, and then it snowed. Fish were transitioning out of deeper water and more lethargic.” Weigand finished in the top 10 in the tournament as an individual.

Team members arrived more than a week in advance to familiarize themselves with the waters they would be fishing and the species they would be tackling, including Pennask and Blackwater strains rainbow trout in the lakes, and whitefish and trout in the river.

Ashley Wilmont said, “Pennask’s are an extremely hard fighting fish. They hit a fly hard and run with it like a freight train. People come from around the world to catch them.” 

On the river, anglers worked rotating spots. Drought made the river flow so low it raised questions about whether the resource should be subjected to angling pressure.  

Weigand said, “Fish would find a few places where they could get cold water and cover. The water temperatures had dropped some, which was good, but just two out of the 10 spots held fish.”  

Both Weigand & Wilmont have been with the U.S. women’s team since its inception in 2021. They fished the first ladies World Championship in Norway last year, and qualified for this year’s championship in Canada. 

Competing on the world stage requires not just exceptional angling skills but a huge commitment of time and the ability of each woman to pay for her trip since the team currently has no official sponsors.

Boat anglers are hopeful that, as the women’s team continues to show what it can do, support will follow. The U.S. men’s team is fully funded, and the youth team gets grants. The women’s team needs more money to become competitive and they need more anglers. 

Hunter Enjoys the Crossbow

Dave Lewis, 71 years of age and a long-time deer hunter from Pennsylvania, said he is grateful to the Pennsylvania Game Commission for making the decision more than a decade ago to allow crossbows during the entire bow season.

Lewis said, “There has been so much angry discussions on the topic of crossbows over the years, and say what you want, but this 71-year-old man got his third very worthy buck with a crossbow in the last 12 years. Without crossbows that would not be physically possible for me, and many like me.”

Lewis went on to say, “I have a defibrillator/pacemaker, and my right shoulder is inoperable from an injury, so any other style of bow is out of the question. The kids may not want us old guys taking up space in the woods, but we still love to be out there.”

Jack Danchak is a longtime sportsman and spent 30 years as the President of the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, Inc.


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