Category Archives: Fishing Trips | Real Women Of Northwest Fishing

Read the stories of Real Women of Northwest Fishing on their Trips and Outings here at NW Sportsman Mag.

RWONWF: Truly Happiest On The River

Editor’s note: This December marked our 7th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing feature! Once again, we turned the issue over to the women and girls who are quietly and very successfully joining the ranks of Washington, Oregon and Idaho fishers, making Northwest anglerdom all the stronger. And as we do each year, we share their stories and photos on our blog. Enjoy this year’s edition of Northwest Sportsman’s Real Women of Northwest Fishing! 
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By Sara Ichtertz

Being out of range – before there was such a thing – was pretty much how I spent my childhood. Raised on an old ranch with five sisters, we were encouraged by Mom and Dad to frolic and have adventures safely in our pastures, barns, ponds and, my favorite of all, the creek! Throughout my life, I’ve definitely found myself happiest when I am on the water. It has always drawn me to it. Traveling the creek, building forts, catching eels, baiting tiny trout set-ups with worms and periwinkles my sister Joni and I found, dragging trout out of that creek each summer – I am very thankful for the love and support my parents gave us girls growing up. They gave us the freedom to find comfort in nature, and to this day it is by far the place I prefer to be!

Western Oregon’s Sara Ichtertz holds her favorite fish of all, steelhead, “so majestic, beautiful, full of fire and will.”(SARA ICHTERTZ)

Western Oregon’s Sara Ichtertz holds her favorite fish of all, steelhead, “so majestic, beautiful, full of fire and will.”(SARA ICHTERTZ)

Today, if someone were to ask me what it is I do, I would tell them I am Mom to Nate and Ava and what I do is fish! Nearly four years ago I discovered something that truly made me tick and three years ago I decided it was time to stop dreaming and get after it. This amazing sport brought things out in me I never even knew existed! It allows me to pursue my lifelong passion of nature photography, all while chasing that killer adrenaline rush. Each season’s backdrop is almost as stunning as the fish and the fight itself. But to capture that moment perfectly from behind my camera is where it is at for me.

In a sense, it is a lot like what my sister and I did so long ago, but on a much broader scale, where my passions are constantly tested, challenged and rewarded beyond my wildest dreams. The pursuit of the rivers and what lies beneath them is my pursuit to happiness. I believe I have found a true joy that will last my lifetime through the sport of angling, all while finding the balance of being a busy busy mom and the wife to my high school sweetheart.

I WAS INSTANTLY intrigued by the majestic winter fish. That first trip down the river, that first tug, head shake, run and eruption of power as she jumped out of the river just as the sun began to touch the water was too much! I was gone. I had never ever seen or felt anything so amazing in my entire life. And in that moment I was forever changed. I am so thankful my brother-in-law humored me, shared what he knew with me and took me downriver, side-drifting the very river my entire life has been spent on.

Timing in life is a funny thing. I waited an entire year before I attempted the river once more. In that year I learned nothing as far as angling goes, but in the one that lay ahead I learned everything I needed to believe that I could and would in fact learn to fish! Unlikely strangers turning into friends. Life-changing inspiration and guidance waiting for me on that bank, like it was destined to be. What a beautiful thing.

My first, most crucial inspiration came from a 76-year-old woman. I believe it was no coincidence the river brought Barbara and I together that January morning. She taught me the basic concepts, all while sharing beautiful stories of she and her husband’s life together, fishing from here to Alaska. Though we did not hook any fish that day, I left the bank full of inspiration and desire. I wanted to feel what I saw in Barbara’s eyes as she spoke of the rivers and the fish she loved so much. I went home that night, learned my knots, and truly believed I could and would do this.

SHARING THIS PASSION with my babes has got to be the greatest angle of the sport for me. I fell in love with fishing just before I found out I was pregnant with my first child. Free trout weekend and one sweet husband was all it took. What I truly wanted in life more than anything was to be a loving, supportive wife and eventually be a mom, and when my first little blessing came, motherhood came first. But the flicker of the water and fish still simmered deep within me. I dove into growing gardens and loving my family. Time flew by, the babes grew faster than the gardens and life was good.

A panel of images shows Sara’s success the past few years on hatchery and wild winter- and summer-run steelhead, as well as her “babes,” son Nate and daughter Ava who accompany her on the rivers. (SARA ICHTERTZ)

A panel of images shows Sara’s success the past few years on hatchery and wild winter- and summer-run steelhead, as well as her “babes,” son Nate and daughter Ava who accompany her on the rivers. (SARA ICHTERTZ)

My opportunity knocked when they were still quite little. The first hatchery steelhead from the bank I ever hooked, they were there. My knots held and I was thrilled! I remember how happy I was, jumping for joy, hugging my babes tightly after I landed that chrome-bright hen. They were there for my largest springer to date too; the only fish landed out of that North Umpqua hole that night was by the only mom on the river who was independently fishing with her 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.

As winter’s and spring’s stocks swam on, my addiction was in full swing and I realized another run of beautiful fish was just around the corner, my favorite on the North Umpqua system. My babes cheered me on and together we learned how to fish for summer steelhead on our beautiful river. Two Junes ago it was just us on the bank, hooking and losing fired-up summers. Those fish, they are just so hot! I hadn’t a real clue how to handle them. But I had been giving fishing my best for six months and my riggings were legit. I was in good shape, good enough to know I would rather spend our summer days on the river sharing nature together than anything else. Unplugged from it all – that’s what kind of mom I wanted to be and strive to be. Yes, I am home-raising my children, but that doesn’t mean we can’t explore and fish while Dad is off making a living. We could fish and have fresh meat by the time he arrived home for dinner! I had what I needed: them, my gear, and a small amount of knowledge to fish independently. And so we did!

I hadn’t experienced anything like summer steelhead, though springers had worked me over right before those little beauties came into my life. The babes would let me know, as if the fish hadn’t already: “Mom! You lost the fish!” They were right; I did lose fish. Death rolls snapping my leaders at the bank; spit riggings after one too many leaps out of the river; trying to figure out how to land them solo; touching them for a split second just to have them say, “Try harder, Sara!” One after the other, I lost more fish than I landed.

But in that summer I started believing in myself, just as my babes did. And by the end of that run. I was fighting and landing those beautiful fish, babes in tow and with not another soul in sight! I felt I didn’t truly know enough to guide Nate, but the times, they are a changing, and my son now fishes strong!

MY BOY LOVES it, and I feel my time on the river is paying off. He has that true, hardcore, travel-across-the-state, wait-on-the-sunlight, semifrozen-bodied, thrilled-with-anticipation, 45-minutes’-worth-of-sleep passion it takes to get after these fish. He has a love for nature, and total respect for the rivers and what lies beneath them. It’s an honor and a privilege to be sharing my greatest passion with him. To feel he loves it as much as I do makes it that much sweeter as I watch his skills grow. Since winter 2014 he has landed four winter-run steelhead and two summers, as well as countless trout and bass. This past spring, we experienced surf perch as a family, and that boy outfished us all! When I think about the journeys and adventures that lie ahead of us, well, that is surely something for this “Reel Mom” to smile about!

My daughter Ava fought her first steelhead with me at the age of four this past winter. It was a beautiful wild hen, just like her mom’s first fish, and just like her brother’s. Though she was screaming at the hen’s strength with each run she made, unsure as to what she thought of it all, she did amazingly well.

The past two summers, as the steelhead bite turns off, I tone it down some, focusing on positive time with the babes, and we’ve fished for bass. Ava said she would like to cast when typically she just fights them. Her ability blew my mind! With only a small amount of direction she stepped up to the bank and not only cast, but hooked, fought, landed, unhooked and released a good majority of the 30 fish she caught. She has always been a trooper, but I could see the joy of fishing in everything she did that evening. And just like that, I get to hear those sweetest words from my baby girl: “Mom, take me fishing!”

I am a believer in fate. I believe both motherhood and fishing the rivers were chosen for me and presented into my life at exactly the right time. Every angle of the sport helps me. It drives me to try harder. Learn more. Share more. Show my children that anything is possible if you truly want it. Being their mom and being able to pursue the fish brings a true joy in my daily life and you cannot put a price tag on that.

SINCE THE DAY I met Barbara in January 2013, I have independently tended to my own riggings, gear, bait and rods. Though my first fish was out of a boat and the set-up not my own, that was my one and only. Over the last three runs I have landed 48 big fish off of river banks. I have dabbled over the bar of the Pacific rockfishing, and was blessed to experience tuna last August. What a massive and amazing thing the ocean is! But the rivers are my heaven on earth, from the waters 173 miles up my river targeting the ever-temperamental spring salmon, to the mouths chasing after fall fish, to the small coastal streams that have changed my entire perspective on winter. I find myself constantly dreaming of winter and the drop that will cram-pack those amazing streams full of my favorite fish of all, steelhead! So majestic, beautiful, full of fire and will. In the cold of winter and the heat of summer, they keep their fire. Steelhead stole my heart and they feed my soul. Chasing them fulfills a part of me that nothing else compares to.

Through true desire and want I’ve become a Reel Mom, a true fisher, and I am proud of that. Hearing my children say their mom is the best fisherlady in the world warms my heart beyond measure.

Fishing the rivers allows me to be a better woman and a better mom. I can step away from the bank feeling at peace and thankful for my time on the water, ready to take on the day and whatever might come my way. Fishing is the first thing I have ever done solely for me, but as it continues to unfold, I realize this isn’t just for me. I am meant to share this passion and my photography with others – my children, my husband, my niece, my friends, anglers and other women out there who might be a little scared to get to the bank on their own. So if I can inspire other women to follow their dreams, no matter the dream, then that is awesome. I feel a true sense of happiness that comes from pursuing and catching the fish, so my advice to every man, woman and child alike is, if you have the desire to pursue something, pursue it! Go outside your comfort zone, explore a new side of you, be willing to learn, give yourself the chance to see what you are made of. Chances are you just might surprise yourself.

The journey that lies ahead is a mystery, but I like that! I am thankful to be who I am, embracing my life on the rivers with my children. I have found my calling. My heart is on the river, and I couldn’t change it, even if I tried.

Editor’s note: For more on Sara’s adventures, see For The Love Of The Tug on Facebook.

Road Trip!

A weekend hall pass and I-90 lead to three trophy trout waters for Tacoma anglers.
By Al Schultz

Early in April of last year, I got three days off in a row and I knew just how I wanted to  spend them: fishing my way across Eastern Washington. I didn’t want any wasted time. I wanted the trip to be productive, with plenty of time for fishing, catching quality trout and enjoying time with a friend.
In January at the Western Washington Sportsman’s Show I’d obtained a “show special for two” flyer from the good folks at the Ellensburg Angler Guide Service, so I called them up and asked if the flyer was still good. They said it was, so I booked a trip for two floating the Yakima River. Day one was planned!
I contacted my friend, Leo Pierson, and advised him he was being included in another one of my harebrained outdoor adventure schemes.
“Oh, by the way,” I added, “don’t forget to load up your camper.”
Leo is a retired meat cutter and butcher who worked for over 30 years at the old Hi-Grade Meat Packing Plant that used to exist in Tacoma before it closed down and headed south. At 80 years old he still gets around well and is the best company and my first choice for a partner on any trip. My “plan” called for his camper with my boat towed behind. We would fish for trophy trout on three distinctly different waters open to the public year-round without having to spend more than two and a half hours on I-90 between fishing destinations, except on our way back.
I had to work right up until an hour before we were scheduled to leave, so I told Leo to meet me at 7 a.m. at my house. We’d hitch my boat to his truck and head straight away east to Ellensburg, where we were scheduled to meet our guide at 10 a.m.

ZERO HOUR ARRIVED, and three hours later Leo and I found Stefan Woodruff patiently waiting for us. We parked, grabbed some coffee, our fly rods and vests, and jumped in his rig and headed to the launch where he readied his drift boat. One thing that jumped out in my mind about the guide service is how thorough, organized and, above all, competent they were. In no time at all we were loaded up in Woodruff’s boat and drifting the Yakima.
Our guide had a plan: Due to the cooler temps and overcast sky, he opted for us to fish nymphs beneath a float, which he deftly and expertly rigged up and attached to our fly rods. Then in true guide fashion, he headed right for some holes he knew to be choice lurks for lunker rainbows. Remember how I didn’t want any wasted time on this trip? The folks at Ellensburg Angler, especially Woodruff, got it. We were on the water promptly, drifting and fishing one productive hole after another, no wasted time.

Floating the Yakima, Leo Pierson casts a dry fly  during an afternoon hatch. (AL SCHULTZ)

Floating the Yakima, Leo Pierson casts a dry fly during an afternoon hatch. (AL SCHULTZ)

“Fish on!” I nearly shouted, despite the fact that the only people around were in the same boat as I. I was amazed at the solitude. It was hard to believe a trophy trout stream so close to Puget Sound would be so devoid of people. The fish I’d hooked had shoulders and used the current to its advantage, bowing my 6-weight fly rod nearly double, stripping line off the reel and causing my drag to whir. I had heard of the quality of fish on the Yak, but to actually experience the wildness and tenacity of the trout that inhabit this beautiful river was something else!
While I played the fish, a beautiful, brilliantly colored 16- or 17-inch rainbow, Woodruff landed our drift boat on a gravel bar. And when I brought the fish to hand, he quickly stepped out, expertly netted the fish, then gently and reverently removed the fish so I could take a quick photo prior to releasing it. As I watched him carefully handle the fish I was struck by how truly special this fishery was to him, and it was apparent how much he loved it and felt responsible to be a good steward of it. I have fished a lot of places all over the world and have never seen anyone exemplify stewardship the way Woodruff did throughout the day, beginning with this first fish. As we drifted there were certain shallow gravel-bottomed pools that Woodruff stated he would rather not fish because the trout were spawning and had made redds there. He didn’t want to drag an anchor or anything through those areas and possibly  destroy or disturb the redds.
We continued drifting and catching fish and soon it was lunchtime. The folks at Ellensburg Angler offer hot shoreline lunches and Woodruff turned out to be a grill master! As I cast from shore, Leo settled in to enjoy some fruit and a beverage, while our guide began grilling steaks and preparing a salad. Before long we were all enjoying a delicious shoreline lunch. Afterwards, we helped pack everything back aboard the drifter and resumed our journey downstream in pursuit of more trout. Sometime in the early afternoon the sun broke through the clouds and almost instantly the air seemed to still and warm. Then, one of those magical moments happened: Mayflies began to emerge and in some of the stillwater eddies, trout began to rise. We quickly switched our rigs to dry flies, and while Woodruff worked the oars to keep us in the pocket, Leo and I had a ball catching fish on dries. After a while we resumed our drift and lucked into a few more grand fish before we reached the take-out. We had a terrific time and I learned a lot about the fishery and fishing, and how to be a good steward of the river, all simply by watching and listening to Woodruff, a man half my age. Our Eastside fishing trip was already awesome and it was only day 1!

LEAVING ELLENSBURG, WE headed towards Day 2’s destination: Ephrata for dinner and camping along Rocky Ford Creek. Rocky Ford is a shoreline fishery only– no floating or wading. Bank access was good, but, as ever in the Columbia Basin, the wind and brush can wreak havoc on novice fly anglers’ casts.

Next stop, Rocky Ford, where a young angler brings one of the creek’s rainbows to the net. (AL SCHULTZ)

Next stop, Rocky Ford, where a young angler brings one of the creek’s rainbows to the net. (AL SCHULTZ)

As daylight broke the horizon, we rigged our rods with Czech nymphs (scuds) and plied the spring creek’s warm waters for huge rainbows. Rocky Ford is known far and wide as a trophy catch-and-release fishery, and fish 24 inches or larger are not uncommon. But hear ye, hear ye, lest ye think that it is like shooting fish in a barrel, understand that these trout have been caught and released who knows how many times and they have the scarred noses and lips to prove it. They know every fly by its catalog number and they’ve seen every presentation, good and bad. They are not easily fooled. To catch one of these behemoths is not only a reward but a validation of one’s competency with a switch and string! Leo and I wandered our separate ways in pursuit of our own dreams (and validation!), and later in the afternoon we returned to the camper where we had a late lunch and shared respective stories of monsters lost and minnows landed.
As an update, more water is flowing in Rocky Ford this spring, so places we were able to stand on shore last April may be flooded now. With increased current, anglers are also reporting a need to use more weight, per se, in the form of a beaded fly and dropper setup to get their offerings down to the level of the fish.

WE PACKED UP in late afternoon and motored to our next destination, Four Seasons Campground and Resort along the west end of Sprague Lake. We checked in with our hosts Scott and Jane Haugen and hastily set up camp to get a little fishing in before dark. The resort has wonderful campsites and a good launch, as well  as ample dock space for bank anglers.
Fishing here has benefited from the lawsuit settlement between the Wild Fish Conservancy and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. As it prohibited releasing most of the 2014 crop of early-timed winter steelhead smolts into Puget Sound rivers, 369,000 of the young fish went into Sprague, which has no access to the sea. After just a year in the rich lake, many of those steelhead were over 2 pounds and 16 or 17 inches in length, and they’ll be even bigger this spring. Leo and I fully intended to capitalize. The evening of Day 2 found us trolling Rapala Minnows, and within 30 minutes of launching I had landed a 4½-pound rainbow that I promptly released after taking a quick picture.
That night we had moose steaks for dinner and the conversation was filled with excitement and anticipation about the fishing we would find in the morning. We were both pretty excited after catching such a nice rainbow after trolling for only half an hour. trout trip 4
Day 3 found us on the water after a delicious breakfast of ham and eggs. I frequently marked fish on the Hummingbird Fish Finder and we regularly caught cookie-cutter steelies in the 15- to 17-inch range. Actually, we landed so many that I got a little bored and began pursuing other fish that inhabit the 1,800-acre lake, like largemouth. Running a deep-diving crankbait over a submerged boulder field, I managed to hook a nice 4-pound bucketmouth. After releasing the bass, I took a moment to look around and absorb the sun’s rays. I couldn’t believe there were only four other boats in view on the lake. Amazing!

Sprague Lake anglers like Cye Logsdon and friends not only benefited from the release of nearly 370,000 steelhead smolts into the landlocked Channeled Scablands water, but from the 2007 rotenone and restocking of rainbows and largemouth bass. (AL SCHULTZ)

Sprague Lake anglers like Cye Logsdon and friends not only benefited from the release of nearly 370,000 steelhead smolts into the landlocked Channeled Scablands water, but from the 2007 rotenone and restocking of rainbows and largemouth bass. (AL SCHULTZ)

We resumed fishing, but as it  turned to afternoon, my hall pass was about to expire, so we motored back to the launch. There we met three amigos also wrapping up their day after limiting on nice steelhead and rainbows off Four Seasons’ dock. As I spoke to them, a family arrived to take their kids fishing on the dock. It was wonderful seeing everyone enjoying this remarkable fishery.
When Leo and I got ready to leave, I noticed the wiring harness  pins on my boat trailer were broken and my trailer didn’t have working lights. Haugen went into his shop, found a replacement plug and all the necessary tools to make the fix, and assisted as I spliced the wiring and replaced the plug. He and his wife define hospitality for sure!
Once the repair was made, we thanked our hosts for another tremendous time and made for home. It had been an amazing 72 hours! NS

Between Seattle and Spokane, I-90 provides access to a number of great trout fisheries, and none may be more productive than Sprague Lake, where author Al Schultz caught this nice rainbow on a Rapala. (AL SCHULTZ)

Between Seattle and Spokane, I-90 provides access to a number of great trout fisheries, and none may be more productive than Sprague Lake, where author Al Schultz caught this nice rainbow on a Rapala. (AL SCHULTZ)

RWONWF: Pat ‘Brings Home The Bacon’

Editor’s note: This December marks our 6th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing, and this year’s is our biggest yet! As always, we hope this popular feature helps tell the stories of how local gals got into fishing and what they get out of the sport.

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From discovering a new passion to helping bring more women into the sport to deckhanding and captaining their own boats to competing in tournaments, 2015’s ladies share why they love fishing here. While the reasons are many, Tammy Morgan summed it up most concisely: “I fish because I love it!”

Enjoy this year’s edition of Northwest Sportsman’s Real Women of Northwest Fishing!

By Doug Johnson

Pat Johnson is as comfortable with a group of business people at a fancy dinner as she is reeling in a Chinook salmon with a lot of boats around her.

(PAT JOHNSON)

(PAT JOHNSON)

Retired from being a commercial loan officer some years back, Pat is known for pink clothing that she wears most days fishing.

You can find her in the Cascades fishing Diamond Lake for big trout or Odell fishing for kokanee, but her favorite is fishing the deep channels  or the shallow water in Coos Bay for salmon.

Matching Pat’s pink attire, she has a pink Okuma fishing rod along with her Lamiglas salmon rod that has pink/purple wrapping along with pink pearlescent eyes. She has named them “PINKY” and “SISSY.

(PAT JOHNSON)

(PAT JOHNSON)

Pat is pretty competitive and has some hardware to prove it. She won the women’s division one year on the Rogue at Gold Beach and was the first women to win the Coos Bay Salmon  Derby. The biggest salmon.

Patricia has caught was a 48 pounder on the Nestucca River. She has also landed Marlin and other warm water fish in Mexico and Panama.

(PAT JOHNSON)

(PAT JOHNSON)

She is now teaching her middle aged daughter the fine art of salmon fishing, with pretty good success. Also when time allows,  to help her granddaughters  catch trout at the Junction City pond and each win a rod and reel in the local derby. She is also a real go getter when it comes to Clamming and Crabbing.

Pat is also into hunting having bagged wild hogs in Florida, California, and Oregon. Buffalo in Montana, Black Bear in British Columbia, and deer in Oregon. She is headed Moose hunting in British Columbia this November and she has hunted all over the US for Turkeys.

You could say Pat “ Can bring Home The Bacon and Fry it Up In A Pan “

(PAT JOHNSON)

(PAT JOHNSON)

RWONWF: She’s Hardcore!

Editor’s note: This December marks our 6th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing, and this year’s is our biggest yet! As always, we hope this popular feature helps tell the stories of how local gals got into fishing and what they get out of the sport.

logo

From discovering a new passion to helping bring more women into the sport to deckhanding and captaining their own boats to competing in tournaments, 2015’s ladies share why they love fishing here. While the reasons are many, Tammy Morgan summed it up most concisely: “I fish because I love it!”

Enjoy this year’s edition of Northwest Sportsman’s Real Women of Northwest Fishing!

By Kari-Lynn Smith

didn’t grow up fishing; I was very much a “city girl,” as that’s just not what my family did. When I met my husband Derrick 12 years ago in high school, he introduced me to a whole new world I never knew existed! He took me fishing for coho on our local river one day after school, and five minutes in I caught my first one and have been hooked ever since.

Kari-Lynn Smith chases quite a range of freshwater and saltwater species. (KARI-LYNN SMITH)

Kari-Lynn Smith chases quite a range of freshwater and saltwater species. (KARI-LYNN SMITH)

We brave the elements year-round, hitting whatever rivers are fishable for salmon and steelhead, rain or shine – and when I say rain, I mean raining so hard you have to run your bilge pump all day! That’s not where we stop, though. I also head out to the ocean every summer to target halibut, lingcod and rockfish, and make a yearly trip to Eastern Washington to fish for walleye for a week. There are not many other girls out there who brave the harsh conditions like I do, so when I have the opportunity to meet them, it’s a friendship I cherish forever.

(KARI-LYNN SMITH)

(KARI-LYNN SMITH)

There is only a short window when I’m not on the water, and that’s from mid-September to the end of October, when we switch gears to hunting mode for a few weeks. Between hunting and fishing and our drift boat and jet sled, I take advantage of every opportunity I have to be outdoors. Some people think I’m crazy because winter steelhead fishing is my favorite time of year. There are times where you are sitting in the boat in freezing fog with no heaters and all the eyelets on your rods are covered in ice, but there’s still no stopping me. I couldn’t be more thankful for my husband who introduced me to fishing all those years ago. I couldn’t have asked for a better fishing partner to guide me.

(KARI-LYNN SMITH)

(KARI-LYNN SMITH)

RWONWF: The Time Of Their Lives

Editor’s note: This December marks our 6th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing, and this year’s is our biggest yet! As always, we hope this popular feature helps tell the stories of how local gals got into fishing and what they get out of the sport.

logo

From discovering a new passion to helping bring more women into the sport to deckhanding and captaining their own boats to competing in tournaments, 2015’s ladies share why they love fishing here. While the reasons are many, Tammy Morgan summed it up most concisely: “I fish because I love it!”

Enjoy this year’s edition of Northwest Sportsman’s Real Women of Northwest Fishing!

By Kristin Bishop

This year has been a phenomenal year. The page my friend Sara Dodd and I created, Reel Women of Fishing NW, has exceeded our expectations. We’ve been fortunate to meet amazing women who share a passion for a sport we love. We traveled to Montana to fish for walleye and pike earlier this year, headed south to the Rogue for half-pounders, then up to Snohomish to fish a derby. We fished for halibut, as well as spent countless hours in Astoria for Chinook and coho. In February we are headed to Idaho to fish with girls we’ve met through our page.

Kristin Bishop and Sara Dodd – here with Sara’s new drifter and a few fellow anglers – fished all over the map this year, chronicling their adventures on their Facebook page Reel Women of Fishing NW. (KRISTIN BISHOP)

Kristin Bishop and Sara Dodd – here with Sara’s new drifter and a few fellow anglers – fished all over the map this year, chronicling their adventures on their Facebook page Reel Women of Fishing NW. (KRISTIN BISHOP)

And as always, we’ve hit our local waters as much as possible. It personally was my best springer year yet, and I can’t wait to drop my drift boat in the water for winter steelhead! A few other highlights have been appearing on Outdoor GPS, as well as being asked to speak at the Tualatin Valley Steelheaders meeting. We have an outstanding rod sponsor, Wraptor Rods, and are constantly learning new techniques and water.

(SARA DODD)

(SARA DODD)

The best part is I’ve had a blast along the way and have been able to share this adventure with my best friend Sara! I’m looking forward to what this next year holds for us. And one last bonus: I’ve hooked an amazing boyfriend who happens to also be a phenomenal fishing guide mostly in Washington waters. Put us on a boat together and we are unstoppable. This has been a fantastic year and I’m having the time of my life!

(KRISTIN BISHOP)

(KRISTIN BISHOP)

RWONWF: Proving Her Coho Skills On New Water

Editor’s note: This December marks our 6th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing, and this year’s is our biggest yet! As always, we hope this popular feature helps tell the stories of how local gals got into fishing and what they get out of the sport.

logo

From discovering a new passion to helping bring more women into the sport to deckhanding and captaining their own boats to competing in tournaments, 2015’s ladies share why they love fishing here. While the reasons are many, Tammy Morgan summed it up most concisely: “I fish because I love it!”

Enjoy this year’s edition of Northwest Sportsman’s Real Women of Northwest Fishing!

By Trishana Israel

know there are lots of amazing women who can catch fish, but I keep hearing from fishermen that most girls don’t do this sort of thing. They say their partner will hold up a fish for a photo or reel one in, but that it’s still surprising for them to watch me start my little two-stroke, run it, cut my plugs while trying to keep the gear straight, then try to drop my little manual downrigger in stages while I adjust my kicker, catch/net/fish at the right speed, etc.

Phew, I’m tired just saying that all!

I spent the entire summer fishing and actually even was a guide/deckhand on the Columbia at Buoy 10. You should’ve seen the looks from the guides on boats around us. I was the only female I saw out there, and in two days got us into 10 nice silvers.

Asked if she was up to the task of deckhanding at Buoy 10, Trishana Israel stepped up to the challenge and succeeded – and how! (TRISHANA ISRAEL)

Asked if she was up to the task of deckhanding at Buoy 10, Trishana Israel stepped up to the challenge and succeeded – and how! (TRISHANA ISRAEL)

Guides were yelling things across the water like, “Hey, you run that 24-foot North River just like you do that small boat,” meaning my 10-foot Livingston that I refurbished and was featured in a recent issue of Northwest Sportsman.

Guide Jerry Brown saw my article and challenged me to join his boat and see if I was up to being his assistant guide/deckhand out of Astoria for a few days. Keep in mind that I’ve mainly fished Puget Sound, so this was a new type of fishing. At times I made myself nervous, but then calmed down and reminded myself that I know exactly what to do, and to just to do my thing.

(TRISHANA ISRAEL)

(TRISHANA ISRAEL)

I had hardly ever been out fishing in such strong currents and unpredictable water before, but after two days of revving the kicker to set the hook when the bite was on, as well as without instruction moving the boat from fish that tried to go underneath it, Jerry said. “Girl, you should really be very proud of yourself. Are you aware that you’ve successfully brought us into no less than 10 nice Columbia coho the past two days and numerous kings, which we had to release?!”

  

RWONWF: Yep, Women Become Tuna Addicts Too!

Editor’s note: This December marks our 6th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing, and this year’s is our biggest yet! As always, we hope this popular feature helps tell the stories of how local gals got into fishing and what they get out of the sport.

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From discovering a new passion to helping bring more women into the sport to deckhanding and captaining their own boats to competing in tournaments, 2015’s ladies share why they love fishing here. While the reasons are many, Tammy Morgan summed it up most concisely: “I fish because I love it!”

Enjoy this year’s edition of Northwest Sportsman’s Real Women of Northwest Fishing!

By Kristina Anderson

Fishing has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl who went trout and salmon fishing with my dad. And since meeting my husband and experiencing offshore fishing for the first time, it has without a doubt become an addiction. From bottomfishing for halibut and lingcod out of La Push to albacore fishing out of Westport, I have been lucky enough to experience it all. However, nothing will ever compare to my first wide-open live-bait tuna fishing trip with Capt. Kerry Allen and my husband, Dave Anderson, with Offshore Northwest.

An “insanely epic” albacore fishing trip prompted Kristina Anderson to tell her story. She also enjoys fishing for halibut, lingcod and ocean salmon. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

An “insanely epic” albacore fishing trip prompted Kristina Anderson to tell her story. She also enjoys fishing for halibut, lingcod and ocean salmon. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

We sold our boat, Dave became fully involved as a deckhand and we had an amazing summer getting to know Capt. Kerry and his family, as well as world-class offshore fishing with an awesome charter. The one thing that impressed me the most about Kerry is the emphasis on having fun and the experience as a whole. Family is also very important to him, and including his twin daughters and wife on trips is a priority and something I truly admire and respect. Daughters Jessica and Kristina even help clean tuna for clients at the end of the trips.

Nothing beats the fight of a salmon, especially seeing them smack the Deep Six near the surface or break the downriggers and take off!  However, nothing compares to the fight of an albacore. Having heard about tuna fishing and the addiction that so many people have acquired, I was ready to experience it firsthand. My first tuna trip was in August with some friends. Unfortunately, we had some bait issues, so we had a hard time converting to a live-bait stop, but we were able to pick up several tuna while trolling swimbaits. That was fun, but on Labor Day weekend I discovered there’s nothing like live-bait tuna fishing.  It makes me giddy just writing about it and reliving the experience!

(DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

(DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

I was on a trip with the fishing manager, her husband and the fishing department lead from Sportco. We left at daylight and the weather was beautiful – we even had whales breaching in the path of the sunrise. Once we got to the grounds, we immediately found birds and tuna feeding on the surface. We started our first bait stop and were able to pick up a few tuna before boat traffic pushed the birds away and sent the tuna deep. It took a little while, but once we moved deeper, it was on! We had tuna boiling all around us. We all grabbed the live-bait rods and the crew helped us rig the live anchovies. Once I put the bait in the water and opened the lever drag, the anchovy swam off. After no longer than a minute, I felt the tuna grab the bait and take off. That feeling is something so hard to describe, but is the most exciting part of tuna fishing, in my opinion. At the same time, the hardest part is letting the tuna run for at least 5 seconds before closing the lever drag and watching the rod buckle over!

After hooking up with and fighting multiple tuna, my back and arms were beginning to fatigue, but I kept going back for more bait and more of the fight, because nothing is as fun as experiencing the thrill of the tuna taking that bait, often times right at the surface. We were able to plug the boat in very little time and left the tuna feeding all around us.

(DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

(DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

That trip was the highlight of my summer and I can’t wait for the next one. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to live in the Northwest and experience this fishery firsthand.

I’m also very lucky to share this passion with Dave and family. I’m looking forward when we can share our love and passion of the outdoors and fish with our own kids.

RWONWF: Seeing The Good

Editor’s note: This December marks our 6th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing, and this year’s is our biggest yet! As always, we hope this popular feature helps tell the stories of how local gals got into fishing and what they get out of the sport.

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From discovering a new passion to helping bring more women into the sport to deckhanding and captaining their own boats to competing in tournaments, 2015’s ladies share why they love fishing here. While the reasons are many, Tammy Morgan summed it up most concisely: “I fish because I love it!”

Enjoy this year’s edition of Northwest Sportsman’s Real Women of Northwest Fishing!

By Toni Pollock-Bozarth

The beginning of forums and social media on the Internet has opened up several ways for anglers to keep up to date on catching reports. This can also lead to what I call the good, bad, and the ugly of the ’Net. I am only going to concentrate on the good.

Toni Pollock-Bozarth, Brianna Bruce and Cynthia Seafeldt, who all first met online, smile over a stringer of pinks they caught on the Snohomish River this season. (BRIANNA BRUCE)

Toni Pollock-Bozarth, Brianna Bruce and Cynthia Seafeldt, who all first met online, smile over a stringer of pinks they caught on the Snohomish River this season. (BRIANNA BRUCE)

My initial contact with Brianna Bruce was in the online fishing forums several years ago. We met face to face at the Sportsman Show in Puyallup, while I helped with the Washingtonlakes.com booth. This led to a few fishing opportunities with Brianna before she even became a guide. I enjoyed myself, so when she, through her guide service Livin’ Life Adventures, offered a special for 2015’s pink salmon run on the Snohomish River, I booked the boat.

2015 has been a year of both health issues and outboard motor problems for me, so I wasn’t able to go fishing as much as I wanted to. Therefore, the Snohomish trip was much anticipated. I took my brother Richard Pollock, sister-in-law Kim Elliott and my 8-year-old grandson William. Brianna had hurt her back, so her fiancée Cody Servo came aboard to help her out.

During this trip, William got his first salmon, and Brianna let him bonk all the fish on the head. She was extra patient with him as he tried to reel the fighting pink salmon in on a 7-foot rod. His best moment was when he reeled in a salmon on the 6-foot rod-and-reel combo I brought for him to use. He was very excited and named that fish Wiley!

That trip was so fun that when Brianna advertised for an all-girls trip on Facebook, I joined in. Another girl on this trip was my Facebook friend Cynthia Seafeldt, whom I had never met face to face before. Brianna taught us how to reel the lure through the slot where we got our limits. Cynthia had never hooked a salmon before, but with the instructions from Brianna, she did. She reeled that fish in while she was jumping up and down with joy! Since then Cynthia has caught several salmon in the rivers, and says of Brianna, “I always repeat in my head how she taught me to reel in.”

Without Internet fishing forums and social media, we would not have had these great experiences.

RWONWF: The Tug’s Sheila’s Drug

Editor’s note: This December marks our 6th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing, and this year’s is our biggest yet! As always, we hope this popular feature helps tell the stories of how local gals got into fishing and what they get out of the sport.

logo

From discovering a new passion to helping bring more women into the sport to deckhanding and captaining their own boats to competing in tournaments, 2015’s ladies share why they love fishing here. While the reasons are many, Tammy Morgan summed it up most concisely: “I fish because I love it!”

Enjoy this year’s edition of Northwest Sportsman’s Real Women of Northwest Fishing!

By Sheila Larrson

My daddy took me fishing once when I was a little girl in Minnesota. I caught a sunfish that was so pretty – and I was hooked! He was surprised when I showed little mercy for that sunfish and wanted to cook him for dinner!

Originally from Minnesota, Sheila Larrson calls Northwest Montana her home these days, and she enjoys chasing everything from largemouth and pike to mountain trout. (ANDY LARRSON)

Originally from Minnesota, Sheila Larrson calls Northwest Montana her home these days, and she enjoys chasing everything from largemouth and pike to mountain trout. (ANDY LARRSON)

I like to fish for anything that pulls hard on my line. That’s my favorite! If you twist my arm, I’d say northern pike fishing hits the top of the list. I like that moment when you realize you’re not snagged on a tree or limb, rock, etc. – that epic pull and the way they charge the boat. Landing a big fierce-looking, cool pike always feels like an accomplishment!

(ANDY LARRSON)

(ANDY LARRSON)

I love the water. It’s always been that way. Fishing gets me on the water and reminds me of happy times with my dad and years of memories in Minnesota. We used to go “smelting” when they would run up the streams and rivers. Smelting season was an exciting time; we would wait for the call, “They are running!” and we would load into Dad’s old bus and head for the stream.

That was an entirely different kind of fishing, but oh were those the days! They didn’t make up the saying, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work” for nothing.

My husband Andy and I have invested in good gear, great boats and get out every chance we can. I’d have to say we have bonded more while fishing than during any of our other pastimes. We fish for pike in the rivers and lakes of Western Montana, lake trout in the big lakes, bass in the mountain lakes and ponds near our home, perch off the dock with our grandchildren, and for anything anywhere else we think a fish may be lurking.

In mid-August we flew into Fairbanks, where a couple hours after landing we were fishing for Arctic grayling. I caught my first grayling that day and couldn’t have been happier. During the next week we fished our way to Homer, with stops in Talkeetna, Whittier, Seward, Soldotna and any stream in between. We broke two poles fishing for salmon on Montana Creek. We caught more silvers, humpies and chums than you can shake a pole at. A day trip out of Homer onto the saltwater yielded some great bear photos and a limit of halibut.

(ANDY LARRSON)

(ANDY LARRSON)

We are in hunting season now, but rest assured, in our hunting gear are a couple poles. It may be a rainbow or brook trout that’s only 12 inches long, but we will find something to fish for!

RWONWF: She’s Found Her Place In The World

Editor’s note: This December marks our 6th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing, and this year’s is our biggest yet! As always, we hope this popular feature helps tell the stories of how local gals got into fishing and what they get out of the sport.

logo

From discovering a new passion to helping bring more women into the sport to deckhanding and captaining their own boats to competing in tournaments, 2015’s ladies share why they love fishing here. While the reasons are many, Tammy Morgan summed it up most concisely: “I fish because I love it!”

Enjoy this year’s edition of Northwest Sportsman’s Real Women of Northwest Fishing! 

By Valerie Holmberg

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a morning person. Five years ago, if you had told me that I would be getting up at 2:30 a.m. to drive two hours to fish Buoy 10, the Wilson or the Deschutes, I would have laughed in your face and said, “You’re crazy.” To be fair I did start out fly fishing for trout, which are evidently not morning people either. I was lulled into a sort of false security by being told not to bother starting to fish till the “hatch goes off” at 10 a.m. or so. Then someone introduced me to steelhead fishing and all that changed.

Valerie Holmberg has learned many ways to catch Northwest salmonids. (VALERIE HOLMBERG)

Valerie Holmberg has learned many ways
to catch Northwest salmonids.
(VALERIE HOLMBERG)

Now I’m up at all hours seizing opportunities to fish coastal streams for steelhead or hit the ocean for ’Nooks and coho. I’ll head southeast for redsides on a dry fly and steelhead on a spey rod, northeast to troll Super Baits for Chinook at the mouth of the Klickitat. I’ll make my way west for big spring and fall Chinook on the Columbia. This year I caught fish on 10 different rivers in two states, from sleds, rafts, drift boats and the bank. The common denominator here is opportunity.

(VALERIE HOLMBERG)

(VALERIE HOLMBERG)

Most fishers I know tend to stick to one style of fishing, without a lot of love lost between factions. So aside from the novelty of me being a woman who fishes, I also fish in a lot of different ways. Gear, bait, fly – I do it all because for me it’s about more than just catching fish, it’s the total experience. The more techniques I learn, the more opportunities there are. The only time I’m not fishing is during rifle deer and elk season because, well, I’m hunting.

(VALERIE HOLMBERG)

(VALERIE HOLMBERG)

I never imagined that learning how to read a tide table or having water flows texted to my phone would be so important. Learning to row a drift boat is one of my proudest accomplishments, along with backing up the trailer. I’ve been stunned to see whales roll off my bow in Nehalem Bay and overjoyed by baby beavers slapping their little baby beaver tails on the Deschutes. I’ve tested my resolve and perseverance by learning to spey cast. I’ve learned how to tie knots, cure eggs and read water. I’ve been hypothermic from wet-wading after the sun’s dropped below the edge of the canyon. I’ve learned that the world gets real small when you feel the take on a swinging fly, your body humming in anticipation as you wait for the fish to turn and to set the hook themselves. I swear to God I can hear angels sing when that happens.

(VALERIE HOLMBERG)

(VALERIE HOLMBERG)

Best of all are the people who’ve taken the time to teach me what it means to be passionate about fishing. It means something to find your place in the world. For me, that just happens to be standing in a river at 5:30 a.m. with my waders on and a rod in my hands. And coffee – lots of coffee.

(VALERIE HOLMBERG)

(VALERIE HOLMBERG)