“I enjoyed the laughing and spunk we get to see in our mentees during circle up time, when we share about the day and they light up to shout out the answers to what we learned that day or about the fish they caught or a silly things that happened.”
Lead Mentor: Eileen Petralia
Project location: Seattle, Washington
Year project founded: 2017
Mentors on this team: 13
Children mentored to date: 27
Children to be mentored in 2023: 10
Local foster care partners: year 1- Olivecrest, year 2- Seattle YMCA, year 3- Friends of Youth (2020)
Local companies that support this project: Avid Angler Fly Shop, Flycaster Brewing Company, The Lyman Group, Washington Fly Fishing Club, Alipine Lakes Lodge.
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Seattle, Washington Project
EILEEN PETRALIA, LEAD MENTOR
I was raised on the beaches of Florida’s east coast but wasn’t introduced to fly fishing until moving to Seattle in 2010. Fly fishing came to me during a time when I needed some peace within and has been my place of refuge ever since. When I am outside and on the water I find my calm place and am able to clear my head of all my worries. I’d love for everyone to have that ability to find comfort outdoors while being stewards of our waters and fish.
I retired from a hectic and stressful career as a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2019 and now enjoy working in my garden, raising my daughter and fishing every chance I get!
LEIGH FRANCISCO, MENTOR
I grew up fishing the lakes of Minnesota, and when I lost my close link to water during my college and early career years as a research scientist in TX, I felt like a piece of me was missing. We moved to WA in 1994, and when my two daughters (now teenagers) were toddlers, I picked up fly fishing as a way to connect with the outdoors of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and I never looked back! Wandering the shores or paddling the waters of Washington’s rivers, lakes and inland seas with a fly rod never fails to bring a smile to my face and a sense of calm to my soul.
CORY GEOHAGAN, MENTOR
I was born and raised in Alabama, and grew up fishing small ponds and saltwater while visiting family in Florida. After college, I decided to pick up a fly rod on whim and haven’t looked back since. While living in Washington state, I fish small mountain streams, alpine lakes, large tailwaters, and cold rocky beaches for salmon and my beloved sea run cutthroat trout. I am currently a stay at home dad, and when away from my family, I spend my time chasing anything that will take a fly, exploring new fisheries, and teaching fly fishing with The Mayfly Project.
CHRIS CHANG, MENTOR
A native Washingtonian, I have always loved being outside but it wasn’t until the last several years that I started fly fishing. It’s quickly become one of my primary passions, from exploring blue lines in the mountains with a 3wt to fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat on Puget Sound beaches, I love all types of fly fishing. I also tie my own flies. Professionally, I work as a consultant supporting foundations and non-profits to think strategically about their work and how to measure impact. I find huge comfort and joy when I’m fishing, and I look forward to sharing that with kids as a Mayfly Mentor.
ALEXANDER GEORGE, MENTOR
Port Orchard, Washington
Born and raised in Western Washington, I didn’t begin fly fishing until I was in college, where I graduated with a biology degree from Central Washington University. The rivers I primarily fish are the Yakima where I learned the art of fly fishing, as well as the South Fork Snoqualmie, where I discovered a love of lightweight glass rods. Being on the water has taught me something every trip and introduced me to some incredible people. I hope to see everybody out there!
ZOE FERNYHOUGH, MENTOR
I grew up here in Washington and the beautiful mountains keep bringing me back to this amazing state. I lived in San Francisco for 3 years and that’s when I picked up a fly rod for the first time. Casting to striped bass from the shore with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance was such a dream and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have since taken up trout fishing in the rivers and high alpine lakes of central Washington and do a little bit of steelhead fishing in the winter as well. I practice dentistry in Auburn but on my days off I am likely finding water tor hiking around the cascades with my 2 dogs. Fly fishing has become an integral part of my life and I love sharing it with friends and family alike!
WHITNY HART, MENTOR
Des Moines, Washington
Growing up in southern Utah I was an avid outdoorswoman. I had always admired fly fishing from afar but didn’t have any close by rivers to learn on. After moving to northern Utah and returning to college I decided to take a course for beginning fly fishing and fly tying. I was hooked after that and started exploring on my own. In 2019 I moved to Washington where I connected with a group of women fly anglers who have all taught me so much! The outdoors has always been the place I feel most alive, and fly fishing is one of my favorite ways to be outside and connected to nature. I’m always forced to be in the present, focus on my cast, and forget about whatever else is going on. I look forward to sharing that with the mentees.
STEVE SETTLES, MENTOR
Growing up in Eastern Washington, I had the privilege of being exposed to endless outdoor activities. Some of my fondest childhood memories were spending time in the river learning how to fly fish from my Grandfather. Fly fishing has been somewhat of an obsession ever since. I have found teaching and sharing the fly fishing experience with others to be just as rewarding as fishing for myself. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be involved with the Mayfly Project and being able to share the magic of fly fishing with new friends.
News & Events
Salt Lake City, Utah Project News!
SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Children in foster care are getting the chance to learn a new hobby: fly fishing. It's part of a free program that pairs a child with a safe mentor who also teaches them life skills. "I'm hoping these kids can just step out of their normal...
Clabough Foundation Support, Bend, Oregon!
The Bend Mayfly Project is excited to be the recipient of the Clabough Foundation grant! The Clabough Foundation emphasizes environmental stewardship, education activities, arts and culture, social services, and community based programs that create a positive change...
First Annual, Kings River Smallmouth Shootout!
What's better than a fly fishing tournament to support TMP in Fayetteville?! What: First Annual Kings River Smallmouth Shootout, sponsored by Mclellan’s! Date: Saturday, June 24, 2023 Time: TBD, around 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM Location: Kings River Outfitters in Eureka...
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Seattle, Washington Project
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