This month’s Instagram Takeover features Western North Carolina native and fly fishing enthusiast Olivia Williams. Olivia, who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Brevard, North Carolina, has been fly fishing for a little over a year now. During that time—a period she describes as a long—strenuous learning process, she has documented her journey as a budding angler every step of the way. Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, Olivia is a self-taught angler. When she’s not fishing she spends her days working at the Asheville-based Hunter Banks Fly Fishing where she works in communications and marketing, maintaining and cultivating the shop’s social media presence in addition to her own.
“The guys here at Hunter Banks have been great,” Olivia said. “They really took me in and showed me the ropes of the Western North Carolina fly fishing scene.”
BRO: How did get started in fly fishing?
OW: The very first fish I ever caught was a little brookie and all I can remember was being amazed by the colors and unique patterns on his back. I remember thinking that I just wanted to see more and couldn’t do that watching from the river banks. I soon realized that the only way I could gain skills and experience was to just go out there by myself and keep trying. I started working night shift around that time and found it so easy to get off work and drive to the nearest river and cast a few lines. It became not just a habit for me but somewhat of a way to unwind from a busy night.
BRO: Any favorite rivers?
OW: WNC has so many different types of rivers and streams to offer to an angler that it is hard to pick a favorite. Plus if I told you my secret would be out. I can say, the small the better…
BRO: What is it about fly fishing that you find most appealing?
OW: The community built around fly fishing has to be one of the most supportive, knowledgable, and enthused group of individuals I have ever been apart of. This community is not just built on skills or experience. It is made of excited, passionate individuals who have a love for the small things.
BRO: Have you done any fishing outside of the Blue Ridge?
OW: I grew up spin reel fishing in the Boundary Waters up in Minnesota and Canada for Norther Pike and Walleye. Now that is whole other ball game!
BRO: If you could only fish one fly for the rest of your life, what would it be?
OW: One fly to rule them all… well my choice would have to be a dry fly, specifically a Caddis fly. For me, dry fly fishing is one of the most attractive style of fishing there is. Being able to sneak up on a little pocket of water, lightly cast your fly, watch it land and in seconds see a trout surface for it has to be one of the most exciting moments I’ve experienced.
BRO: What are some of your favorite outdoor activities aside from fly fishing?
OW: I’m very much a seasonal person. So during the summer my pup and I will earn our miles by doing some early morning trail running in search of a sunrise. During the winter I do a lot of hiking to find little creeks for the summer months. I always have my camera near me and, more often than not, find it difficult to not snap a couple shots wherever I am.
BRO: What advice would you give to a would-be fly fisher who hasn’t quite made the plunge?
OW: Don’t be afraid to step out into the river by yourself! Having to teach myself for the most part was the best thing I could have done for myself. You learn so much more with trial and error, losing countless flies and having days where you seemed to catch more tree limbs than fish. And when the day comes when you need a river buddy to show you around, ask for advice, or just to share a laugh with, don’t be afraid to ask.