Why such an increase? Well folks everywhere, not just women, are learning how much fun fly fishing can be. The numbers of fly anglers in both genders is increasing - particularly as the "Baby Boomer" generation reaches retirement age & has more free time for such activities.
But women have always fly fished. In fact, the American Museum of Fly Fishing is currently working on a new program & exhibition entitled "A Graceful Rise" all about the roles women have played in fly fishing history. Women have been quietly contributing to the development of fly fishing for generations.
Now that more women are getting involved in the sport, there are more resources geared directly to them than ever before. Some tackle manufacuturers are making tackle marketed specifically to women. Perhaps one of the best & biggest developments in this area is the new trend in waders, vests, etc being made to properly fit women. There's no reason for women not to be as comfortable as men when along the stream.
As the sport grows in popularity among women, there are more organizations & clubs recognizing their interest in the sport. Some are even international. Plus, in the internet age, there are tones of websites & blogs aimed at women fly fishers.
On a personal note, I grew up with my mom being a very active & enthusiastic fly angler. She helped educate me in the sport. She helped teach me how to cast, how to read a stream, how to land a fish, etc. This was before fly fishing was as popular as it is today & I never saw another female fly fisher than Mom. She is a master with a fly rod. These days Mom is not the only women along the stream. She's just one of the many women fly anglers who have been enjoying the sport for years & welcomes any new angler to the sport - man or woman.
Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there!!!