Reel Achievement

Two Penn Staters represented the United states at the first international women’s fly fishing competition.

Ashley Wilmont and Tess Weigand fishing in stream

Tess Weigand ’12 Agr (above, right) and Ashley Wilmont ’14 Alt (above, left) finished ninth and 20th, respectively, in the individual competition at the first FIPS-Mouche World Ladies Fly Fishing Championship, held in Inn-land-et, Norway, in July. The Penn State alums helped a United States squad that had never previously competed together to a fourth-place team finish, one placement point away from third.

The first international fly-fishing championship for women was announced in 2019, prompting Wilmont and others to establish the first U.S. women’s team—the national adult team at the time had only one woman on the roster—and the coronavirus pandemic pushed back the event until this summer. Wilmont, Weigand, and their teammates spent more than 12 hours each day at multiple river sites pursuing Arctic grayling.

“I’ve never pushed myself so hard physically and mentally,” Wilmont says. “It was an amazing experience.”