Bridget Fabel: Professional fishing outfitter, hunter & trailblazer

Fishing has been a way of life for Bridget since she was four years old.

Words by Christian Martin
March 20, 2023

Bridget Fabel is originally from the small town and green rolling hills of Stillwater, New Jersey, but when she turned 20, the avid outdoorswoman chased her dream of living in the rugged wilderness all the way to Utah. She grew up farming the family Christmas tree farm, as well as hunting, fishing, and camping around the northwestern border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Since moving to the state of Utah, Bridget has started the first, fully female-owned and -led outfitter service in the state—Chunky Trout Outfitters. From spring through to fall, Bridget guides clients daily from all over the world. Her special area of expertise is large, picky wild trout that live in scenic spring-fed alpine lakes.

Fishing has been a way of life for Bridget since she was four years old. She grew up across the street from the Paulinskill River where she fished for small native trout. Having lots of family in the Florida Keys, she also developed a passion for saltwater fishing at a young age. As a teenager she put down the spinning rod and switched to fly fishing. She now travels the world in hopes of checking tricky fish off her bucket list. Bridget has caught record-sized peacock bass in Miami, eight-pound bonefish in Hawaii, five-pound tiger trout in Utah, and more—all on her trusty fly rod! She is passionate about protecting our fisheries and passing on proper fish handling techniques to her clients.

In 2016, as she began to share her solo hunting and fishing adventures on social media, she realized her accounts were growing.

At the time it was rare for women to go out and hunt and have success entirely on their own. Bridget’s stories helped inspire other women to get outdoors and do what they love without making any excuses.

One of Bridget’s greatest passions is to express to other women that they too can go on solo adventures as long as they have peace of mind—a firearm—holstered to their hip. When she first moved to Utah, Bridget didn’t know anyone in the state, and so she went hiking and adventuring alone. While on her own outdoors, she felt more confident knowing she had the security of a 1911 pistol by her side for protection.

Living in Utah, Bridget developed a love for hunting velvet mule deer with her bow. She has harvested numerous bucks while solo hunting in the Utah desert. She loves hunting on public land with her bow, as it’s very challenging and rewarding. She also loves a good elk hunt in September, as well as caribou hunting in Alaska. For the past four years Bridget has traveled around hunting and fishing for a living and has never been happier or healthier.

A typical summer’s day involves waking up before the sun rises. She puts on her fishing clothes and makes a pot of coffee to drink on the porch. She collects and cooks eggs from her chickens, and warms up some sausage from her most recent wild game harvest.  Bridget then heads outside and meets her clients at her truck. A guided trip runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. During this time Bridget drives her clients to a remote, wilderness location deep in the panoramic mountain ranges of Utah. She pumps up their float tubes, sets up their rods with top-secret handmade flies, and throws on her waders and flippers. Bridget guides the clients as they kick around all day, fishing for giant, colorful, wild trout. At midday they take a break for a fresh, hot shoreside lunch. At the end of the day when they descend from the mountains, everyone is happy with their catch and time spent outdoors on the water.

Bridget particularly loves the long days of summer. After dropping off her clients she can turn right back around and go fish for herself. On her way she’ll pick up her fishing cat, Brookie, named after her favorite catch, the Brookie trout. And you read that right…she has a housecat that loves to go fishing with her. Bridget and Brookie will hike in to the alpine lakes together and are typically side by side for all of their personal-best catches.

Bridget is currently living out her wildest dreams, owning and residing in a cabin right on the mountain. She wants to continue to grow her outfitter business and has dreams of expanding it in multiple states. Someday, Bridget would like to get her pilot’s license and offer fly-in fishing trips in Alaska, as well as boating fishing trips in the Florida Keys. She is grateful for every opportunity that has come her way and wants to continue to live every day to the fullest. She feels most alive while deep in the mountains and will continue to chase adventures that allow her to do just that.