I love interviewing everyone I have had a chance to discuss fishing with. I have been extremely fortunate to pick people that exude their love of fishing. Hayley Schultz is that exact type of angler. You immediately can tell this young lady loves to fish. I enjoyed getting to know Hayley, and I am sure you will as well.
One of the things that I love about your page is that there is a great smile with every fish pic. You obviously love fishing. What is it about fishing that gives you so much joy?
For every smiling picture there should be one of me getting stuck in a tree, slipping off a rock or losing my favorite fly but that is all part of the experience. That being said, there is no greater joy than being able to spend my time outdoors surrounded by awesome people catching beautiful fish.
I would have to say the main reason I keep going out is for the adrenaline rush. Nothing can compare to the feeling when you finally land a trout after a long day on the water and you are fighting it back into your net when all of a sudden your body goes crazy. As if it isn’t hard enough trying to keep the fish on the line, net it, snap a clear photo and safely release it back, your body decides now is a good time for your hands to shake, your legs to lose their balance and for your heart to beat out of your chest. That feeling is the reason that I will spend countless hours in all weather conditions in hopes of landing even the tiniest fish.
It looks like fishing runs in your family based on your picture of your Pappy. When did you begin fishing?
That picture still has me blown away! My Pappy at 88 years old, reeled in a monster Northern Pike that could be the same length as him for all I know. He will be 91 this summer and just finished a week long smallmouth bass trip with my dad, catching over 200 bass in a week! I can only hope that one day I will grow to be an old lady out on a boat or in a creek slaying fish.
My Dad has also been a huge influence, from his patience to his mean hook set. I swear this man sets the hook so hard on bass that they should just shoot out of the water and land in his lap. My dad has always been there to un-knot the birds nets, give the loudest yell when I land a big one, and offer a cold beer to celebrate. I couldn’t imagine two better people to look up to and aspire to be like.
I started fishing as soon as I could hold a rod. My dad wasted no time teaching my sister and me how to hunt and fish. I can remember playing with the worms and minnows with my sister on the boat to keep us occupied when our limited attention ran out.
Currently a lot of your pics have a young man fishing with you. Who is he and who is the better angler?
That young man with a killer ginger beard is my boyfriend, my personal trout fishing guide and the reason for my fly fishing obsession. His name is Chris Smith (@csmith_on_the_fly) and he is probably the most passionate fisherman I have ever met. This man eats, sleeps and breathes fishing.
He is constantly searching for new waterways, fly patterns and native trout. I admire his determination and appreciation for trout and their watersheds. I have to admit that he is definitely a much better trout fisherman; however I can out fish him bass fishing any day. Regardless of who catches the biggest or the most fish, we always love the adventure of finding new places and meeting people with similar interests.
What are your favorite trout streams to fish in Pennsylvania?
I spend most of my time trout fishing around the Perkiomen Watershed and the Schuylkill River Watershed. I have also fished Penns Creek during the winter and would love to go back soon. Out of the three, my favorite area is the Schuylkill River Watershed because this is where I caught my first trout on the fly. The area is also beautiful and very rarely do we run into other people.
What do you enjoy particularly about fly fishing for trout?
I enjoy the fish. I know that sounds like a basic answer, but I love the surprise when I am pulling in a trout and I can’t tell if it’s a rainbow, brown, or brook trout. There are so many vibrant colors and interesting patterns no matter how big or small the fish is.
You are not a fair weather angler. What do you enjoy about being out there on a cold trout stream when many anglers are inside staying warm?
Some mornings in the winter it is a little hard to get motivated to go outside in the water, but its nothing that a good jacket and thick pants can’t solve. I enjoy just being outside and finding new places to go to. Some of the best fishing happens when the weather isn’t inviting.
What has been your greatest fishing accomplishment thus far?
My greatest fishing accomplishment was catching my first trout on the fly. This is not a story about a monster fish or beautiful fishing destination. Instead, my accomplishment came from catching a tiny brown trout on the Schuylkill.
When I started fly fishing, Chris took me out every weekend over the winter fishing in the snow, sleet and wind. I was out almost every weekend for 4 months, hours at a time, trying to catch just one trout. I have to admit, I was very close to calling it quits, but I am not one to give up easily.
During one of the nicest days we had in a long time, I was able to land a tiny little brown trout no bigger than my hand. One look at the golden color and red spots had me hooked. I always saw pictures of beautiful trout, but it wasn’t until I had one in my hand that I realize how addicting these little guys are to catch.
What are your fishing goals for the rest of the 2017 season?
My goal for 2017 is to catch a bass on the fly on a paddle board. I will either go for a crazy ride getting towed around or I might end up in the water. I just have to practice my balance throwing a big bass bug around and hopefully you will see a picture soon.
I so love this interview. Hayley’s passion for fishing is the very definition of what fishing is all about. Catching fish, love of the outodoors and memories with family…Hayley describes each of these perfectly. Thank you Hayley!
Hayley is a pro staff member of Hazard Fly Fishing LLC. They are a South Carolina company with a great selection of fly fishing gear.
You can follow Hayley on Instagram @schultz_hayley.