Kayla Smith PA Trout

Looking for Stick Bugs: Interview with Kayla Smith

Kayla Smith Catching Crappie on the Fly Rod
Kayla Smith Catching Crappie on the Fly Rod

Kayla Smith is a Pennsylvania angler who has an Instagram page showing off her skills at catching Pennsylvania’s many species. Are you wondering what a stick bug is from the title of the interview? Well, keep reading to learn about Kayla, her fishing, her favorite beers and what exactly is a stick bug.

You caught my attention when I saw the pic of you with a nice crappie caught on a fly rod. When did you get into fly fishing?

I started fly fishing about 4 years ago when I met my boyfriend, Tim. He taught me the basics and then kind of let me figure out what works best for me.

As a girl in fly fishing I’ve heard people say things like “oh her boyfriend caught that for her” or “she can only fish when he tells her what to do.” Tim really wanted to see me succeed with it on my. I love that fly fishing is something we love to do together, but I also love that I can do it by myself.

When my stress is high I like to fish a small stream solo and get lost in my thoughts. Pennsylvania is full of small streams and most people don’t realize the wild trout population in them. That’s one of my favorite things about fishing in Pennsylvania.

I see that you picked up a St Croix High Stick Drifter this year. What is your review of this rod?

I was so excited when I got that rod I was actually afraid to fish with it at first! To be honest, I haven’t used it nearly enough to give a review. That rod is primarily for nymphing for trout, and I don’t like to target trout during the summer months when the water temps are high. So I didn’t use it much over the summer. Now that its fall I’ll probably start using it a lot more, but I’ve been on a bass kick lately.

What is your favorite species to target with the fly rod?

Smallmouth on the fly are my favorite. I don’t get to chase them as often as I’d like but I think they’re the most fun. They’re aggressive and put up a good fight.

What are your favorite PA fly fishing waters for Smallmouth Bass?

The Delaware and the Susquehanna. It’s always more intimidating to fish bigger water, especially with a fly rod. It is also harder to find the fish but I think that makes catching them more rewarding.

What other species do you like to fish for?

I’ll fish for anything really. There’s so many great trout streams in PA. I grew up fishing the Little Schuylkill with my dad so it always feels good to go home to that. Tim and I live on a small lake so sometimes I just like to walk out the back door and hook a bluegill on a hopper.

It is clear from Instagram that your dad has influenced your fishing. What has his influence been on your fishing?

My dad really taught me everything I know about fishing. He’s a spin fisherman but he probably knows more about fly fishing than he realizes. One of my favorite stories to tell is about my dad and “stick bugs.” Growing up my dad always told me if I ran out of bait to look for “stick bugs” he said trout loved them. It wasn’t until I started fly fishing that I realized a “stick bug” is actually a caddis!

Kayla's First Lake Trout
Kayla’s First Lake Trout

What were the highlights of your 2017 fishing year?

My dad and I fished lake Ontario this year and I caught a pretty big lake trout. It look me a while to land it. To be honest I spent the next day on the couch because my back was so sore from trying to reel it in!

The fishing wasn’t very good that day so that fish kind of saved the day. We decided to get it mounted. I actually just got a call from the taxidermist that its done so I’m really excited to see it!

What are your fishing goals for 2018?

More species for sure. Tim and I are always watching videos and talking about what fish we’re going to target next. It’s always exciting to catch something new. North Carolina for red fish is next on our list. My brother lives in Minnesota so going out there for more fishing is definitely on the list too.

Last question, what is your favorite beer to go along with a great day of fly fishing?

This is probably the hardest question for me to answer! I love beer! IPA’s and Belgians are my favorite. But once the temperatures start dropping I like a good Stout to warm up with.

Can I cheat and do a mixed six pack? Weyerbacher is a local brewery I really like. Merry Monks and Sunday Mole` Stout are my two favorites. I know the guys at Oskar Blues enjoy fishing, their Passion Fruit Pinner is really really good! ]The Kimmie, the Yink and the Holy Gose from Anderson Valley is my favorite Gose. I think I’d round it out with Hi-Res from Sixpoint, and a PBR! I’m not kidding, I really love PBR!

Nothing wrong with PBR! Thanks Kayla for a great interview. Looking forward to following on Instagram to see your continued fishing success. Kayla is also a RiverBum Fly Fishing Ambassador.