Mary Ann Dozer loves being on the river. photo Jane Lanning
Mary Ann Dozer loves being on the river. photo Jane Lanning

Sisters' Fly Fisher's Place has a new guide - Mary Ann Dozer, a woman who radiates with infectious energy and whose enthusiasm for fly fishing is boundless. When she starts talking about fly fishing, her eyes get wide and she smiles a lot and her vocabulary fills up with words like "adrenaline" and "passion."

Dozer, a graduate of Purdue University and for many years employed as an engineer by Hewlett Packard, started fly fishing in 1995 in Yellowstone National Park. She blames her husband Dave.

When they first met, Mary Ann was not a fisherwoman.

"I always thought fly fishing was the stupidest thing Dave did," she said.

Until they took that trip to Yellowstone and she tried it for the first time.

The rest, as they say, is history. Trained as a process engineer, Dozer says that in some part what drew her to fly fishing were the technical and analytical aspects of the sport, though she leaves plenty of room for the romantic vision of the lone fly-fisher working a canyon riffle.

"I love to be in the outdoors," she said. "And what is better than the Zen of actually stepping into the water and being there?"

In 2002, she became active with Casting for Recovery, whose mission is "to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique program that combines breast-cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing." She remains active in Casting for Recovery, which provides free retreats at more than 42 locations around the country, serving some 600 women a year.

Three years later, Dozer and her husband, Dave, who builds custom bamboo fly rods, were partners in a Corvallis fly shop.

Over time, Mary Ann became interested in guiding, and she has been a professional guide since 2009, when she travelled to Idaho for a Casting for Recovery retreat and met Julie Mizner. Dozer says, laughing, "She told me I was good enough to be a fly fishing guide, but I really needed to learn how to row a boat."

So she did, and rowing a boat became a critical skill on her very first guiding experience, which was a float trip down the Salmon River.

From 2009 through 2015 Dozer guided fly fishing trips for Silver Creek Outfitters, fishing primarily the main stem of the Salmon River out of Stanley, Idaho.

Though she was guiding out of Idaho, she has fished all over the western United States. Mary Ann and Dave settled in Sisters last year, excited by the prospect of being able to fish "every day of the year."

Mary Ann is also a Master Casting Instructor, certified through the Federation of Fly Fishers, one of only 150 people in the United States who hold that rating.

"Guiding is teaching," Mary Ann says, adding that she feels compelled to share the thrill that she enjoyed when she first started fly fishing, and still enjoys. "It is so much fun to share your passion, to get people excited."

She notes that there is a process to her teaching methods, and she tries to stay ahead of the client, to be prepared to answer "the questions you maybe wouldn't normally ask."

And what is her goal for new fly fishers, or perhaps that person who has always wanted to, but has hesitated, or felt intimidated by the language and technicalities of fly fishing?

"I know what it's like if you haven't been fly fishing before. I felt the same way, and I was lucky in the way I got started. But when I finally tried it I wished I had started earlier. At the end of the day the goal is for clients to walk away and be able to fish on their own. And to catch fish, of course," she says with a wink.

Mary Ann Dozer guides out of The Fly Fisher's Place in Sisters. If you are interested in taking a guided trip with her, call 541-549-3474 or drop in at the shop. Her personal website is www.FlyFishingPursuits.org. And you can learn more about Dave Dozer's custom bamboo rods at BambooPursuits.org.