Hi, I’m Leigh Johnson. My relationship with fly fishing began in my 30s, ignited by childhood curiosity and a colleague’s encouragement. Although I rarely caught a fish in those early days, I cherished how time on the water was good for my body, mind, and soul. Over the years, this interest evolved from a casual pastime into a meaningful pursuit upon retirement.
I have discovered not just the joys of fishing but also the unique challenges and rewards it offers to women. I can still recall buying my first waders, which had to be custom-made because the men’s sizes didn’t fit.
To support and empower women in this field, I created Loving Outdoor Life. This platform is dedicated to sharing knowledge and information tailored for women (along with articles on my other loves – the outdoors and New Zealand). LovingOutdoorLife.com aims to be a resourceful guide, helping to navigate the intricacies of fly fishing and providing tips and stories from my experience.
In response to the underrepresentation of women in this sport, I also founded Women on The Fly NZ. What began as a small group within the Kapiti Fly Fishing Club has flourished into an online network of several hundred, hosting workshops for up to 40 women at a time.
Women on The Fly NZ provides a supportive space for women to develop their skills and find their place in the world of freshwater angling. The journey of Women on The Fly NZ is a collective one, shaped by the enthusiasm of its members and the support of industry stakeholders. Hundreds of women from across New Zealand connect through a private Facebook group, public Facebook page, and Instagram.
I’ve co-authored an article for Fish & Game New Zealand‘s magazine on Women Embracing Freshwater Angling in NZ, provided insights for the University of Otago’s research on female anglers, and represented Women on The Fly at the Fish & Game New Zealand Influencers Forum in July 2023.
These experiences reflect the growing interest and participation of women in fly fishing, a change I’m proud to be a part of.
My hope is that more women will experience the physical, mental, and social benefits of freshwater angling. Fly fishing is more than just a sport; it’s a way to connect with nature, with others, and with oneself.
If you have any questions or suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered on Loving Outdoor Life, please don’t hesitate to contact me.