Editor’s note: If it’s December, it’s time for our 5th Annual Real Women of Northwest Fishing feature! Once again we’ve gathered some great pics and stories for our tribute to the fairer sex of Washington, Oregon and Idaho anglers. For one, it’s a self-taught love, others an activity that began down at the bulkhead or with Dad many years ago. For some, it’s come a long ways – Barb Koos tells us about her “all-female” crew now out on the Columbia, while Jennifer Stahl and Rebecca McClain enjoy working in the field, and Heather Hodson is busy bringing more women to the water. However they reached the water, we salute the Real Women Of Northwest Fishing in these and the following pages! –The Editor
by Summer Dunn
My love of fishing started at a very early age. My dad was quite the fisherman, and we would frequently fish for catfish on the Washita River in southern Oklahoma at night, for bass and crappie in the limitless ponds and lakes, and for sand bass and striper in Lake Texoma.
The tug on the end of the line was long engrained in me as a feeling of pure elation.
I’ve long since left Oklahoma and traveled in pursuit of my love for the outdoors and my career as a forester. In my time off from work (and sometimes during), I’ve found myself trying to catch as many different species as possible, from yellowfin tuna and wahoo in the Caribbean to musky, pike and lake trout in the Midwest; yelloweye rockfish and lingcod in Alaska to all kinds of trout in Colorado, Idaho, California and Inland Washington. And now I’m on to the spoils of the great Northwest – Chinook, steelhead, coho and sturgeon.
For me, it’s kind of about checking off a list, but mainly it’s everything that goes into actually getting to the point of feeling the tug and setting the hook or seeing your fly disappear. Like waking up at 4 a.m. to make sure you get a parking spot at the launch or the best spot in the hog line; the first cup of coffee from the thermos; finding the right Pandora station to listen to while you wait; seeing the first bite so that you know the rigging you chose actually works; putting a mend in the line just right so that your fly floats right down the middle of the seam; and seeing the Northern Lights while ice fishing in the middle of Lake Superior.
These are just a few of the reasons I find myself continuing this thing some call a hobby.
And while I have fished in many different places in many different ways, I’m excited to now be in the Northwest where I can continue my love for fishing, and I hope I can instill in my sons the same appreciation that my father gave to me for the great outdoors.