After finishing her work as Goal Zero’s International Sales Manager on any given day, Karen Probst can be found walking along Utah’s Provo River with her Orvis Helios 3 Fly Rod in hand. She’s usually fishing for Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and her favorite, Tiger Trout. Sometimes, she will still be wearing her work clothes with her boots and waders thrown on top.
Karen’s fly fishing has taken her all over the world. From Germany, where she claimed to not catch anything, to the Netherlands, and British Columbia. On one occasion in Patagonia, Karen recalled reeling in the unexpected.
“I reeled in a Mako Shark. He was a good size, probably five or six feet,” she said. “It took over an hour to get him in the boat, and then we released him back safely.”
But, Karen hasn’t always been a fly fisher. Originally, she started Bass fishing with her dad and, later, with her late husband. They would take their boat out to Lake Powell and Lake Mead and spend the day reeling in Bass. It wasn’t until 10 years ago that she began her fly fishing journey and her time as an ambassador for Orvis.
“I picked it up fast. I don’t know if it’s because I fished before. It is completely different, and it’s a steep learning curve,” Karen said. “It took three or four years to get where I could go out on my own, and that’s with me going every weekend.”
Back then, Karen said, women fly fishers were few and far between. But, she slowly began to establish herself in the fly fishing world and, today, is well known in the community.
“I love a challenge,” she said. “I think that’s why I love fly fishing. It gets in your blood and you can’t get it out.”
When she heads out on the water, Karen packs countless flies of various kinds depending on where she’s heading out and the time of year. She always has an extra leader, nippers, and waders. Her dry fly and Helios H3 Fly Rod are among her favorite pieces of fly fishing gear, but she always has a Goal Zero power solution on hand, too.
Depending on if she is going to stay out all day or not, Karen puts a Dometic Cooler in the back of the car, packed with drinks and lunch, and powered by her Yeti 3000X. She said that she always has a Nomad 10 Solar Panel hanging off of her backpack to keep her phone going, especially if she’s fishing in a group.
“They always want pictures,” Karen said.
Her Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Lantern is always a must because she tends to get out early in the morning or later in the evening, and so are smaller power banks like the Flip series. A Venture Power Bank, she said, is also an essential because they’re water resistant and dust proof.
Karen said she loves to be outdoors and in nature, and she loves that she can fly fish anywhere.
“Everywhere I go, I don’t know what I can catch, but I’m going to bring my rod,” she said about her travels. “When I’m done with a day, it’s something I’ll do just for an hour to figure out what’s there.”
She also appreciates that fly fishing involves constant movement. Often, she will walk along whatever river she’s at and roll cast the whole way. If you stay in the same spot, she said, the fish get scared and stop biting.
No matter how much Karen gets out fly fishing, though, she says that the key to excelling at the sport is consistency and patience.
“Practice, practice, practice,” she said when asked what she would say to beginner fly fishers. “Don’t ever give up. It might be frustrating and it might get hard and might not be fun at first. There’s a lot of things to learn. For me, I am so glad I didn’t give up… it’s well worth it.”
Karen said that, right now, fly fishing is that thing she gets the most pleasure out of. When she started doing it on her own, she got the reward of feeling like she had accomplished something great. In the future, she hopes to pass on her passion to her grandkids.
“My kids love to fish, but it’s not with them like it is with me. My two oldest grandkids – I’m teaching them and they’re good at it. Instilling that passion is so fun to see,” Karen said. “It’s everything to me.”