Kayla Lockhart (@kayla__lockhart) is a well-known name for most fly fishermen who pay attention to the fly fishing community on Instagram. Her energy is unmatched and she has spent her entire career in space working to promote inclusion, inspire future conservatives and fishermen, and bring an element of transparency and optimism to the sometimes dark world of Instagram and social media for fishing. We are lucky to call Kayla a good friend and we were excited to sit down with her and add her name to our “Fly Fishing Faces” list. Check out our interview with Kayla below!
Flylords: Who is Kayla Lockhart? Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? How is the water in your home?
Kayla: I was born and raised in a small town in Minnesota, and left to head west to Oregon in 2015 and Portland has been home to me ever since. The waters of my house range from the high desert, the sage-filled terrain of the Deschutes to the countless coastal rivers engulfed by the fern.
Flylords: What is your earliest memory of fishing? The earliest memory of fly fishing?
Kayla: The earliest striking memory was fishing with my snoopy pole on my dad’s old aluminum boat for bass, dots and shit (and fixing it to the back of my head) … and only when I was 24 I took my first fly rod and caught my first brown trout in the midwest in a small stream and never came back.
Flylords: If you could only fish for one species for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Kayla: Bass – I like to fish bass, is what I grew up fishing for, has the perfect balance of nostalgia and adrenaline and is never ordinary – you can fish for them by swinging, removing flies, dry flies, poppers … Never grow old for me.
Flylords: You’ve been involved with fly fishing social media since it started changing the fly fishing landscape with the advent of Instagram. What has it been like to see the platform and community change in it?
Kayla: I have seen both social media and fly fishing and choose to use it to share my experiences in and out of the water, talking and advocating for our waters in need of amplified voice, great causes that are occur everywhere around us. to make people look outside in a different perspective and get more people to care about something that means so much to me…
The has more people who feel just as passionate about this sport as we do our best from a chance we have to protect the resources that are a cornerstone for everyone.
Flylords: Do you think change is for the better or for the worse? Why? Are you?
Kayla: The shift I have followed on social media and abroad is for the better – I am seeing a more diverse environment, a more inclusive environment, and both of these things for me mean we will have more knowledge and education brought to the sport. to further a connection and a deeper perspective of something that interests us all and with that can lead to some incredible changes for the good of this sport and within the land and waters that need all the support and voices that can take.
Flylords: How did you deal with balancing real life with the person you display on Instagram?
Kayla: Real life and the person at IG really are not that different – I’m incredibly transparent and towards my true self within my Instagram.
When I have a hard day,
I share that…
When it comes to waves of anxiety and depression,
I share that…
When I go on a trip and fish for new waters and I’m excited to discover them,
I share that…
When there is a drop in steel numbers and there is a chance to get up and talk to the people responsible for managing this,
I share that…
I really give of myself on my social media and for the support I get I will be forever grateful – the biggest struggle in balance for me personally is that I tend to give a lot and I need to recognize control with myself.
Flylords: Are there any life lessons you learned while spending time in the water?
Kayla: The first time I went out into a river with a fly rod in my hand was the greatest life lesson I have ever experienced… I found something I can do outside of myself, that brings me back to myself. It has helped me find a community of people I care about a lot and it has helped me navigate so much in my life mentally.
Flylords: You were at the forefront of the “50/50 on the water” movement in fly fishing when involvement in industry and sport began to receive much-needed attention. What progress in involvement in fly fishing have you seen over the years? What do you think needs to be done yet?
Kayla: It has been incredible to see more women entering the sport, I fully support that and love to see it. With this it was said that there is a lot of room in this industry to further the involvement only on women in sports. We still lack a “welcome” embrace in this industry, there are still egos that can be decomposed into the culture of fly fishing and I hope to be able to see those changes happen.
Flylords: How do you hope to see the industry change in the coming years?
Kayla: I would like to see a more open and diverse industry – a more educated industry, an industry that is full of people from all walks of life nurtured by the same thing – a love and passion for our lands and waters that give us the opportunity to do something we love, fly fishing – with this we can have a better chance of protecting and safeguarding fishing.
Flylords: You have worked closely with Project Mayfly for many years. What brought you to the program? Why is it important to you? How can people themselves be involved with the Project?
Kayla: Project Mayfly is something that will always be close to my heart – if it were not for Project Mayfly, my story would not have been told even remotely. I am forever grateful for them. The May Fly project is changing children in custody life, they are giving these children a space and resources to heal and grow up with a rocky childhood, this cause means the world to me – having only one mentor to positively influence a child can change perspectives for the future and this to me is a powerful thing and there are people we can all do…. You can easily get involved by going to TheMayflyProject.com.
Flylords: Mental health is a topic you talk about a lot on your platforms, what role has fly fishing played in maintaining your mental health?
Kayla: Fly fishing has been the first thing I have encountered in my life that has given me the opportunity to be present and look inside and help me discover things about myself that I never chose to accept, and with that came a community that I found that you can connect with and not feel lonely while navigating mental health, and mental health awareness is crucial, the more open and open we are to discussing it, the more connected we are to ourselves and communities ours.
Flylords: Your love for vintage Americana is pretty well documented on your social media. What draws you to decor and previously loved clothes? Do you have any vintage equipment for fly fishing?
Kayla: Oh man !! I can make a whole discussion just about that! Ever since I was a kid I used to go to garages, first shops and property sales – I grew up without a lot of tools and these are just places we would buy and I would find myself reprocessing and assembling old parts that were one of the polite ones… and that did not stop when he grew up. As an adult, this is just as consuming in my life – Not only is it more sustainable to turn life into an old work, but the legacy and stories that can come with it are something I admire and want to learn … And also just love the way things were done at the time.
Flylords: What’s next for you in 2022?
Kayla: I will simply continue to fish, continue to explore, continue to learn and learn as much as I can, and hope to continue to never get tired.