Today’s episode is one of a kind. We bridge the gap between fly fishing and mental health with Melissa Ceren, the fly fishing therapist. Learn about her distinct approach to mindful fishing, strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome, and practical advice for therapy and angling.

Find out in this episode how outdoor activities and mental wellness go hand in hand.

Show Notes with Melissa Ceren on The Fly Fishing Therapist. Hit play below! 👇🏻



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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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The Fly Fishing Therapist

Episode Chapters with Melissa Ceren on The Fly Fishing Therapist

02:22 – It was Melissa’s husband who first took her fly fishing. But her first experience was terrible due to an unfriendly guide.

Her husband took her to an Alpine lake on her birthday, where she caught her first cutthroat trout. She fell in love with the sport and became a guide at Tumbling Trout within a year of starting fly fishing.

Fly Fishin Therapist

Melissa’s Journey into Counseling

05:12 – Melissa has been in the counseling and mental health field for about eight years now. It all started when she joined the Suicide and Crisis hotline after high school.

She later transitioned to leading outdoor outpatient programs for people recovering from substance abuse, focusing on trauma, anxiety, and depression.

She pursued a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Clemson University and has been practicing as a therapist for three years now.

Tips for Mindful Fishing

  1. Slow down and appreciate each moment, from catching fish to observing nature.
  2. Pay attention to your feelings and think about why you are feeling frustrated or disappointed.

18:17 – Melissa addresses challenges like imposter syndrome and the pressure to perform as a guide, using positive self-talk to build confidence. Challenging negative thoughts can positively influence emotions and behaviors.

Fly Fishing Therapist

Finding a Therapist

25:47 – Melissa recommends Psychology Today’s website for finding therapists by location, insurance type, and specialty. Here are some of her tips:

  • Call multiple therapists to assess their suitability.
  • It is important to feel comfortable and supported during initial conversations.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find the right therapist on your first try. Not every initial match may feel perfect.

Melissa also mentions crisis lines like the national suicide line and NAMI.

Fly Fsihing Therapist

Fishing Tips from the Fly Fishing Therapist 

  • 36:54 – Hire a guide if you can afford it.
    • Guides know the best spots.
    • They have the right gear for rent.
  • Watch online videos to improve casting techniques.
  • Spend a lot of time on the water to learn from experience.
  • Adjust depth to increase your chances of catching fish.
  • Learn from mistakes, like losing a fish, and ask for advice on how to improve.



39:40 – Melissa likes TroutRoutes because it’s easy to use and helps find less-fished streams and public access areas. It’s especially useful in Colorado, where private property rules are strict. Here are some highlights she mentioned:

  • Easy-to-navigate interface.
  • Find less-fished streams and rivers.
  • Ensures you’re on public land.
  • Keeps up-to-date land ownership information.
  • Shows thousands of access points.


Follow Melissa on Instagram: @big_mac_fishing

Check out TroutRoutes 

Videos Noted in the Show

Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 565 – TroutRoutes with Zach Pope – Fishing App, River Guide, Trout Streams


Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below

Conclusion with Melissa Ceren on The Fly Fishing Therapist

That was some deep stuff we sprinkled in with a little fishing, but Melissa’s definitely doing some great work out there. Check in with her if you can, and let her know you heard this episode.