Tag Archives: RWONWF

RWONWF: Avid Fisherwomen Team Up On Sturgeon

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! 

7th-annual-real-women-logo

by Ashley Burows

Ashley Burows (left) and Natalie Travis, both of Tri-Cities fished the Columbia River in Richland on the second to last weekend of sturgeon season 2016.
(FISHING PHOTO CONTEST VIA ASHLEY BURROWS)

(FISHING PHOTO CONTEST VIA ASHLEY BURROWS)

Natalie, who fishes for sturgeon a great deal, had yet to catch a keeper for the season and this was Ashley’s first time for sturgeon.

Both avid fisherwomen, Ashley fishes frequently for bass on the Yakima River while Natalie chases the migratory species.

The day was going very well for us when Natalie’s drag started to sing, giving Ashley the opportunity to reel in a 72-incher, her first sturgeon ever!

Having three rods out we were able to play with a few shakers before having this dandy on.

“I felt bad not handing off my rod to Ashley, but knowing I felt a large keeper on the other side I chose to fight him myself,” says Natalie.

It paid off. After measuring the fish three times in the water, we finally lifted him into the boat with a final measure of just under 54 inches.

RWONWF: Power Of The Pink Rod

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! 7th-annual-real-women-logo

By Troy Rodakowski

She has this pink rod and I believe it’s magical. I witnessed it first-hand on a trip with her – guess which one of our rods went off? Yep, Vicki Tindall’s hot pink one.

“I don’t ever remember a time when my family didn’t hunt and fish growing up. I always loved helping my dad gut anything he killed. Fish, deer, elk – it didn’t matter, I loved being there and watching my dad,” recalls the Springfield resident.

Good thing, too, since her father was a fishing guide on the Umpqua and McKenzie Rivers for many years. Tindall has endured struggles in her life, with family members abusing drugs, and the loss of her grandmother and father very recently, but fishing is what has kept her grounded and alive inside.

(TROY RODAKOWSKI)

(TROY RODAKOWSKI)

Tindall’s become good friends with local guide Guy Springman and they’ve spent countless hours on the water fishing together. Both have been good therapy for one another through tough times and losing close family members.

“In spring we decided to do the Scappoose Bay fishing derby. I was super excited, and Guy came over with a present – a hot pink fishing rod! I couldn’t wait to fish with this new rod. It has caught a crazy amount of fish, and it saved me from dying inside,” she says.

Fishing is more than, well, just fishing for Vicki Tindall. Her favorite moments on the water?

“I think seeing someone catch a fish for the first time is very special, and just being around to help is rewarding,” she says.

“Of course, catching fish always makes me happy, especially when it’s given me a great fight.”

RWONWF: Fishing A Field Trip

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! 7th-annual-real-women-logo

Teresa Schmeck, a seventh-grade history and English teacher at Ochoa Middle School in Pasco, has become an excellent angler over the last five years.schmeck-1

“My personality of calm peace in my thoughts, patience, attention to detail and competitive tenacity make fishing perfect for me,” Schmeck says.

Friend Andrew Templeton says she enjoys bass, crappie, kokanee and lings, but walleye and salmon are her faves.

(FISHING PHOTO CONTEST, BOTH)

(FISHING PHOTO CONTEST, BOTH)

“Fishing has helped me as a teacher of Washington history,” Schmeck adds. “I’ve seen so much of our state’s amazing geography, natural beauty and influential history while travelling the state and fishing.”

“I always want to be learning. Steelhead next, please!”

RWONWF: Lemonade From A Lemon Of A Salmon Season

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! 

7th-annual-real-women-logo

By Toni Pollock-Bozarth

This year saw the gloomiest salmon predictions for the areas I usually fish – Puget Sound and Sekiu – but in July, I was able to seek them in new locations. I journeyed to Neah Bay for a salmon/bottomfishing trip with my brother and sister-in-law. Though it wasn’t too successful, I was able to experience humpback whales that were so close I could see the baleen in their mouths. That was something I couldn’t even imagine.

I returned home from that trip on a Tuesday and was in the Southern Washington port town of Ilwaco by Thursday morning. Fishing with a group of ten other anglers I was last to get my limit. However, it was worth waiting for: an 11.9-pound coho, the biggest salmon of our trip.

The first week of August I was honored to fish out of Westport with friends. There I was blessed to catch a 17-pound king.

(TONI POLLOCK-BOZARTH, BOTH)

(TONI POLLOCK-BOZARTH, BOTH)

pollack-bozarth-1

The most challenging year for salmon fishing turned out to be exciting as I traveled from one tip of Washington state to the other to catch some beautiful salmon and lasting memories.

Editor’s note: Toni builds and sells tackle through wannafishalure.com.

RWONWF: 2016 A ‘Turning Point’ For Valerie

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! 7th-annual-real-women-logo

Buoy 10 and Lower Columbia fall Chinook weren’t just fisheries for Valerie Holmberg. They were learning experiences and provided a “very real turning point,” she says.

Holmberg spent a good part of August and September on the big river catching big beautiful kings while fishing and deckhanding with ace guides.holmberg-1

“The best part about Bouy 10 for me this year was the amount of confidence I gained by watching how so many different masters created success for their clients,” says Holmberg. “I learned a great deal about targeting big fish and combat fishing in general – boat-handling skills, bait prep and running six rods at a time. I really focused on the process involved in running a sled, trolling and how fishermen work together to find fish.”

(VALERIE HOLMBERG, BOTH)

(VALERIE HOLMBERG, BOTH)

At last check she’d carded nearly 30 salmon and said she wasn’t done fishing yet. Stay tuned for more from Valerie Holmberg in the future!

RWONWF: Healing And Learning

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! 

7th-annual-real-women-logo

By Troy Rodakowski

was always drawn to fishing but never really had anyone in my world who fished, so it was just something I might do ‘someday,’” says Gretchen Dearden.

The smiles of happy anglers and the peaceful scenes from the water intrigued her, but also were intimidating for the Everett resident.

That is, “until a few years ago, when I went on a guided tour with Mr. Dave Perez and got my first salmon ever,” she says.

Since then, Dearden has made sure to visit the water regularly, and not just to catch as many as she can but also to absorb all that she could about baiting hooks, the gear and how to manage her own. She has done a pretty good job over the last few years and now spends even more time fishing.

“I wanted to spend all my free time on the water; I wanted to learn everything,” she adds.

Dearden’s life has not come without challenges. In August 2015 she lost her ex-husband in a tragic canoeing accident while her two boys watched during a Boy Scout trip in Montana.

(Gretchen Dearden)

(Gretchen Dearden)

“It took me months to be able to leave my boys and even think about fishing again. But when I finally did, with that first sunrise on the Columbia I knew it was where I belonged. That spiritual moment of feeling close to their father and talking to him and God, telling them to please protect my boys,” says Dearden.

Being on the water with nature helps to cleanse the soul and heal her heart.

Dearden has also been blessed to meet Jay Johnstone of Wraptor Rods and become a part of that family. Everyone there has been so helpful to Dearden. Several people have taken the time to teach her something.

“In all honesty, they saved me and kept me believing I could fish and be good at it,” she says.

Folks like Bill Monroe Jr., Sara Dodd, Jay and Julie Johnstone, Pam Magley, and Dan and Corin Snider all are very special to her.

Dearden wants to continue with her passion and never give up. She wants to be that grandma who is taking her grandchildren fishing and creating a lifetime of memories with them.

RWONWF: ‘I Just Want To Go’

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! 

7th-annual-real-women-logo

By Troy Rodakowski

I think the thing I love about fishing the most is the adventure with the water!” exclaims Sasha Mord.

The angler from the southern Willamette Valley enjoys chasing different species and exploring all the nuances that each adventure offers.

“When I was young, the only fishing I did was on the Long Tom River,” she recalls. “We had a pond on our property, and to keep me entertained my grandpa would give me a 5-gallon bucket and send me down to the murky water. I would sit down there and fish with whatever pole and reel we had lying around, using worms that we dug up in the yard around my grandma’s flower pots.”

It was these special times with her grandpa that Mord remembers the most. As she grew older, she fell in love with the McKenzie River and its beautiful waters.

(TROY RODAKOWSKI)

(TROY RODAKOWSKI)

“I spent a lot of time there, met a lot of fellow fishermen and made summer money flipping cars for local fishing guides on their trips,” says Mord.

Shortly thereafter she was fishing the Siuslaw and other local rivers for Chinook, finding that there’s always something more to learn about the fish and waters. It intrigued her and she knew at that time she wanted more.

Two years back Mord fell in love with Montana’s Clark Fork River, where her interest in fly fishing was born.

“I still don’t care if it’s fly fishing a new river, trolling for Chinook in the big water, chasing pretty chrome steelhead on the riverbank in January, going 40 miles out for tuna in the dead of summer, or taking my 8-year-old daughter out after carp in that old murky water I grew up fishing, I just want to go, “she explains.

For Sasha Mord, fishing isn’t just about the catch but about the adventure, the community, the water and the circle of life.

RWONWF: Camaraderie

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! 

7th-annual-real-women-logo

By Kari-Lynn Smith

Fishing and hunting have been male-dominated industries for as long as they’ve been around and us girls were always left waiting on the dock, figuratively speaking. Well, not anymore, ladies! Every year more and more women get into fishing, and over the last five I have had the opportunity to meet some pretty amazing ones who I am proud to call my friends. There is no greater feeling than sitting in a boat full of other female anglers sharing stories. Whether on our boat, deep sea and tuna fishing, or the all-girls tournament this year on the Big C, we share the same passion for fishing, and it’s very empowering.

Kari-Lynn Smith (right) and a few of her friends take a moment before leaving the docks at Westport for their deep sea fishing adventure this past summer. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Kari-Lynn Smith (right) and a few of her friends take a moment before leaving the docks at Westport for their deep sea fishing adventure this past summer. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Every summer a group of us girls from beginners to experienced get together for a trip of a lifetime. About 25 of us book out a charter boat in Westport. Spending the day out in the ocean hoping to catch the big one while surrounded by other women is the best feeling in the world. From the deckhands teaching us how to filet our day’s catch to throwing your rod in the holder to help out the girl next to you bring her catch in, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

And following this year’s deep-sea trip, a few of us girls stuck around another night to embark on a new adventure – tuna fishing! I tell you, that was a whole new adventure. I still have yet to catch my first tuna but I am no stranger to reeling in sharks! It only makes me push harder next year to finally get that first tuna!

(KARI-LYNN SMITH)

(KARI-LYNN SMITH)

And now on to the next adventure – come on, winter steelhead season!

RWONWF: She Sets That Hook!

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! 

7th-annual-real-women-logo

By Randy Woodward

Lisa Woodward grew up fishing Tacoma’s Commencement Bay with her dad, but had not really spent much time fishing afterwards. Now she is on the river year-round with me. She spends winter on the Wynoochee, spring on the Olympic Peninsula and late summer and fall on the Puyallup, Carbon and Satsop. woodward-1

Float fishing is Lisa’s favorite. She float fishes for big kings, silvers and chums every year. When that float goes down, she knows to set that hook!

(RANDY WOODWARD, BOTH)

(RANDY WOODWARD, BOTH)

It is fun to watch guys get out of her way, thinking Lisa is just some woman who will cast over them and tangle their gear, only to watch her make pinpoint casts and hook fish after fish. Last year she walked into a combat zone on the Puyallup, made 10 casts and hooked eight fish, including two 10-pound silvers – see ya, guys!

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! 
 7th-annual-real-women-logo

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.