Meet Annie Susemihl, Our January Featured Fly Fisherman of the Month

If you know Instagram, then you have seen @annie_suse. 

Fly fishing is a family. Well, at least it is on Instagram. Walton Rods has been active on Instagram for just over a year now and we’ve seen this first hand. It’s crazy how following so many people and liking photos everyday, you get to “know” people. We share in the excitement of the fish being caught and love to see all the amazing rivers and bodies of water that people fish. Therefore, with all that in mind, we decided that we should reach out to the fly fishing Instagram community to get to know each other a little better.

To start things off, we’d like to introduce you to Annie Susemihl, or more commonly known as @anie_suse to her followers on Instagram. She is pretty much always on the water and you can tell her genuine passion for the sport in every picture she shares. That was actually why we decided to feature her. You can take pictures with fish. Anybody can and we see it all the time. However, you can’t fake passion. It’s just there, or it isn’t. In the case of Annie Susemihl, it shows.

Well enough of all that. Let’s get to the questions.

Where are you from? State, town, home river, etc. 

I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and spent most of my life there. I made the decision to go to college in Chicago which was great, but after 4 years I was definitely ready to return to my roots and have been living in Denver since.
Annie Susemihl

How long have you been fly fishing? How did you get into it? 

It’s actually a funny story- my dad has been fly fishing since he was 18 and it has always been his biggest passion and love in life. I remember growing up around his workbench, watching him tie flies for hours and being mesmerized by all of the materials and colors. When I was about 8 he bought me my first fly rod and fly box- which had Scooby Doo on it. We hit the water and I absolutely hated it. We didn’t catch anything, I got a bug in my eye, and I’m pretty sure I cried. If you would have told me then that this would be my future I would have been horrified.
Annie Susemihl
Fast forward quite a bit- I graduated college and moved back to Colorado. I took a job in Denver and ended up having a falling out with a guy that left me friendless in a new city. I think my dad had a parental sixth sense that I was a little lost and lonely in Denver, so he offered to drive up and take me on a fly fishing trip across the state. He picked me up and we fished our way from Denver to Grand Junction. This trip not only bonded my dad and I even closer, but everything clicked for me. I felt a connection to nature that I had never felt in my life, I felt at peace. It’s cheesy but I had a very strong  feeling that this is what I was supposed to do.
Annie Susemihl
It’s been a little over two years since that first trip with my dad. With his old age, he doesn’t really fly fish anymore but I can’t ever thank him enough for what he gave to me. I’ve met so many amazing women and men along the way and they inspire me to get out there everyday. I’ve made a family of great friends and in a way, I feel like I’m living out my dad’s legacy.

Have you fished any exotic or extremely remote destinations? Who did you fish with? What did you catch? 

I fished the flats around San Pedro, Belize this past November. I went on the first ever women’s trip for Yellow Dog FlyFishing hosted by Camille Egdorf and in total we had 5 women in our group. We all became extremely close very fast which was amazing. This was my first saltwater trip and I really wanted to catch a Permit (I know that’s high hopes for your first trip). We spent the first day practicing on bonefish and then the next 3 days we spent targeting Tarpon and Permit. I totally blew some of my shots on the Permit and Tarpon. Finally on the last day we saw a giant wake coming towards the boat at 11 o’clock. I casted about 40 feet out to the wake and started stripping and got him. After 20 minutes of fighting him we figured out it was a Jack. It was still the coolest experience of my life and I’ll remember that moment forever.

Do you have a favorite style or presentation for fly fishing? Favorite flies? For example, do you prefer drift boats to wading, streamers to nymphs, dries to all of the above? If you could pick, how would you want to catch fish fly fishing? 

What I love about fly fishing is that the techniques and tactics are always changing. I learned how to fly fish on dry flies from my dad, who knows nothing about nymphing. I then learned how to nymph, and then how to throw streamers. My favorite part about fly fishing is catching a fish and knowing that you were able to convince that fish to eat based purely on skill and ability. With that said, for me the coolest eats are the most aggressive- I love the tug of a steamer bite but I also love watching a fish slurp your flies on the surface. My dream day of fishing would be sitting riverside surrounded by risers with a Hippie Stomper or Hopper and Adams on the water.

What part of the overall technique of fly fishing do you struggle with the most? (For example, I am shit poor at roll casting. I hate it. Just ask Mike Malchow. He knows this).  

I foresee more salt water trips in my future so I really want to nail down my double haul cast. I feel like I’m getting very close but not quite there yet. It can be very frustrating, especially on the water. However, I will say that my fishing has gotten a lot better since learning how to cast and double haul in Belize. It really makes a difference. My next goal is to learn how to spey cast. I honestly do not see myself using this anytime soon, but it looks so beautiful to me and I want to the challenge.
Annie Susemihl

Any longterm goals with fly fishing?

I have a personal goal to travel somewhere international and fly fish there every year. However, I do have a bigger goal to one day work in the industry which I have been actively working towards. We will see how that pans out. Either way, I know fly fishing will have an influence on the direction of my life forever. I went to guide school this past spring and would also love to starting doing some part time guiding soon.

Do you have a bucket list fish? When and how are you going to check that fish off your list? 

I really want to catch a Rooster fish. The girls I went to Belize with already have a plan in the works to go to Costa Rica together next spring so I am going to practice my casting hard between now and then. I know that’s another big goal. In the mean time I’d really like to focus on catching more trout via streamer.
Annie Susemihl

 What do you do when you aren’t on the water? Any other hobbies or jobs? 

In all honesty when I’m not on the water I am either tying flies or writing on my blog- which you can find at thereelnannie.wordpress.com. I recently bought a nice camera so I am very excited to learn more about photography as well.

Thank you Annie for answering all those questions! We can’t wait to see where you go from here. 

If you think somebody you know should be featured for February, let us know!

See you on the water,

Brad Smith

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