Katie Corgiat got hooked on fishing early.

“I went out for the first time when I was 3, and we fished from a relative’s dock; I absolutely loved it,” said Corgiat, 22, of Chanhassen. “And I’ve been fishing ever since.”

How obsessed is she?

“When I was little, the boys and girls in the neighborhood would come over to watch cartoons, and I’d grab the remote and change the channel to a fishing show.”

Now, she said, “Fishing is my passion.”

Corgiat doesn’t have a boat, and angles mostly from fishing piers on west metro lakes, but that hasn’t hindered her.

“Since the opener, I’ve caught and released 40 bass and 65 northerns, and 43 of those pike have been longer than 25 inches,” she said. Including one that measured 40 inches. Her largest bass was an impressive 22-inch, 6.5-pound largemouth.

Not content to just catch lunkers, Corgiat wants the world to know about the joys of fishing. She’s become an ambassador for the sport, encouraging friends, co-workers and anyone else she encounters to try it.

“So many people never give it a shot because they don’t know where to start,” she said.

A business development manager for a multinational marketing company based in Edina, Corgiat recently organized an online fishing tournament for her firm. And she’s thinking of forming a club for women anglers.

“It’s such a fun way to just relax, refresh your mind and enjoy the outdoors and meet people. No matter what your age, or whether you are male or female, we have so many resources here in Minnesota. So many people think you have to go Up North to catch anything big. But you can go to these little metro area lakes and catch big fish. They’re hidden pearls. And you don’t need a $50,000 boat.”

Corgiat’s parents fish but aren’t as addicted as Katie. “They don’t know what happened,” she said.

She learned by reading about fishing and talking to other anglers.

“People took an interest in me, which is why I like to give back. I learned from other anglers — that’s the fishing community.”

Her favorite species: northerns.

“I’m definitely a pike girl. I enjoy going after them because they are such a predator fish, so aggressive and fight really well. But I don’t shy away from any species. My grandmother lives in Florida, and I love to saltwater fish, too.”

While about 35 percent of Minnesota’s anglers are female, she knows she is something of an anomaly — a 22-year-old professional woman who has fish on her mind — and on her computer screen saver.

She’s been surprised how many young men she’s met who have no interest in fishing. “I would say 80 percent of the time I go out by myself,” she said. “Now I’m dating a guy who is as obsessed with fishing as I am,” she said.

Someday, Corgiat said, she would like to combine her passion for fishing with her other talents and perhaps fish professionally.

“I would love to get involved in tournaments, and down the line, with a fishing or hunting company.”

 

Twitter: @dougsmithstrib