Karlie Roland embodies the word expert. She’s fished across Patagonia, the Christmas Islands, Cuba and all over the western United States. She’s gone from student to shop employee to program leader to fly fishing guide. Oh, and she isn’t even 30 yet.
I met Karlie in high school through her older sister, and I’ve been following her adventures ever since. A quick look at her Instagram shows a grid of river runs, clients, and a lot of fish. Fly fishing is Karlie’s life, and she’s earned her place as the first female guide at Trouthunter Lodge in Island Park, Idaho – a small town that’s held a lot of significance for the Roland family over the years.
I called Karlie last fall to talk about her passion for fly-fishing, her favorite memories and her seemingly endless drive to rise through the ranks.
ExpertVoice: What are your first memories of fishing?
Karlie Roland: It was weekends, dad would pull us all out of bed super early, cram four kids in the back of the truck, and my mom got a day off … some of my earliest memories are just trolling down Strawberry Reservoir. Just heading out there and catching trout and at that point, you know, we were all probably four to six. A 4-year old is not really gonna handle a fly-rod, so I had a spinning rod.
EV: How does it feel to share your experience with someone?
K: It’s really empowering and rewarding. When I first took this job [women’s program leader], I honestly was just like ‘oh man, if I’m running a women’s program, I’m going to be teaching 101 classes the rest of my life and casting clinics.’ And honestly, my intro courses are some of my favorite. The advanced ones are great, too, but I get to meet these women … I get to put a fly rod in their hand for the first time, and then see where they go. It’s pretty rewarding to watch the growth. There’s nothing better.
EV: Any tips for anglers who are just starting out?
K: Use your fly shop and the experts already in your community. Maybe there’s a local guide service. Go book a trip with somebody who guides on waters that you’re curious about exploring and find a guide to be your mentor.
The importance of your local shop
One of the things that struck me during the course of our conversation was the incredible value of Karlie’s advice and recommendations. When I spoke to Karlie, she was leading the women’s program at Emerald Water Anglers in Seattle, Washington, where she spent her time teaching women how to cast a line and tie flies, guiding trips on different waters and offering product advice. Before her time at Emerald Water Anglers, Karlie had cut her teeth as a shop rat at Fins n’ Feathers in Bozeman, Montana.
Karlie said, “Most people who work in fly shops are very passionate about their jobs. We don’t make money, nobody in the fly-fishing world makes money, it’s just all about fishing. We’re there, and we’re stoked about the gear we use, the equipment we’re selling and the waters we get to be on.”
Expert advice in the digital world
Karlie is speaking to anglers every day. She sees beginners – like a little boy on his first guided trip with his dad – as well as seasoned anglers. Her advice as a guide and a teacher is invaluable. She’s giving advice and recommendations on a personal level – but what if that same quality of recommendation could be transferred to the digital world? What if shop rats, program leaders and guides like Karlie could be made available to more than one person at a time?
The value of Expert recommendations
ExpertVoice understands that experts are a trusted source of information, and we believe that their recommendations are an important part of the purchasing process. And how is a recommendation different than a review?
An expert recommendation is backed by experience
Expert recommendations come from people who know the category and are familiar with what other experts and enthusiasts need for their hobby, whether it’s fly fishing, mountain biking or running.
An expert recommendation is informative
Expert recommendations help answer the question of which product to purchase. It defines who a product is made for and what it should be used for. It’s based on facts rather than opinions.
When she worked in the store and even as a guide, Karlie recommended products on a personal level. We’ve been encouraging our experts to share their experiences within ExpertVoice to help even more consumers make an informed purchase.
Here’s just one example of an expert recommendation on another fishing product.
He explains where he uses the product, the types of fishing it would be best for, and its key features – and you can tell he’s taken the product out for a spin more than once. He even offers helpful advice for those who may run into a concern.
All in all, expertise matter. And we’re thrilled to capture advice about the products our community of 1M+ experts love.