Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fishing Goddesses

Try to out fish this female angler and you may be in for a big surprised...(photo of Rebekka Redd)
Step back to a time when women were not even allowed to vote and their duty was to raise the children and run the household. She would never have the time to tie her own flies let alone take some time to herself to unwind in a nice peaceful stream casting to some delicious trout she could clean and cook for her family for dinner. It would be blasphemy for the woman to enter the holy sanctuary of peace that men claimed for themselves.

That was then and this is now where the old days of inequality among the sexes are long gone. There are still instances in the workplace where egotistical men still cling to the old ideals that women are simply inferior, but it may take a few years until those old sexists are pushing up daisies. I grew up as the oldest child of four with three sisters and a mother who was a strong feminist. She always preached to the family that women can do anything a man can do just as good or better. That is something I try to instill in my daughter as well.
Once a dream, now a REALITY!!!
One only has to browse the internet to see the success that many women anglers have enjoyed not just catching fish, but multitasking a passion with other interests as well. Mass media has become a way for people to seek and find information easily. If you do any basic search about fishing you will notice several of the videos posted are about women anglers.

This is an article I have spent a very long time thinking about. I wanted to honor these women anglers by showing you some of their own stunning visual imagery as well as their connections to a sport they love as well as any man. I consider myself an accomplished fish catcher, but if went head to head against some of these women I could very well be on the loosing end of a fishing duel. For the most part I am letting each one tell their own story. Many of the words here are their own.

I hope the men viewing this page have no delusions of grandeur, expecting half naked women holding fishing rods in exotic locations. Instead I present to you the new face of fishing and although they may be beautiful they are also deadly prey to the fish they chase. These are women of intellect and prowess with a kind enough heart to set their quarry free to swim once again. Many have a great talent for art, photography or are active in conservation and preservation. Some are even well know guides. Without further ado, I present to you, in no particular order, the Goddesses themselves....

Liz Tiffany hails from Washington State and is a diehard steelheader. She is absolutely in love with two handed spey casting. There has been some talk about Liz heading up a women's fly fishing team for Irideus. She uses a variety of products and supports any that have good quality gear.

Liz looking at her beautiful chrome steelhead just before releasing it back into the wild.
"I'm relatively new to the sport, about 2 years but the amount of time I've spent on the river since my first hook up equates to once or twice a week. That and my incessant desire to succeed has brought me loads of fun while out-fishing any guy in the boat. I've always loved the outdoors and getting down and dirty. I can't complain about spending all day on the river enjoying the view, joking around, and enjoying a cocktail, or two I'm also lucky to have someone in my life, the person who introduced me to the sport, that shares a similar passion. That tug on your line, the anticipation of finding out whats on the end, and the proud feeling of knowing your skill (and definitely a good guide) caught something WILD. There's also something that feels good about letting it go. I'm just thankful for the good time." ~ Liz Tiffany
Liz with a nice steelhead and even nicer smile :)

Kristin Dunn & Kimber Roberts. The next I wish present as a pair because they became fast friends through common interests, the foremost of which was a love of fishing for Salmon, Steelhead and Sturgeon in the great state of Washington. If you find one, it's very likely the other will be close by.
The only color Kristin paints her nails is PAUTZKE PINK!!!
"For me fishing is not just a hobby or passion...while it is both of those for me, it is a lifestyle. I started fishing for catfish every summer as a kid with my grandfather in Kansas. I grew to love it. I have many fond memories of fishing with my grandfather and wish he could still be alive to see me fishing now. I moved around a lot as a kid growing up in a military family but always had most summers to fish with him. Through high school and college I got out of fishing, but upon my grandfather's death and my move out here from the east coast, I longed to fish again the first time I laid eyes on the Columbia River. Every time I cast a line out it takes me back to my fishing days with my grandfather. It allows for me to reconnect to him even though he is no longer here and it has allowed me to connect with many great people with in the sport fishing industry that have now become great friends and mentors. Its a passion and lifestyle that suits me well with my passion and profession as an outdoor photographer as well. Its beauty in its simplest form. Most days you will find me walking the trails with a camera in one hand and a rod in the other. Its a life I wouldn't trade for anything!" ~ Kristin Dunn

Kristin with a nice springer!

 Kristin is a member of NW Steelheaders as well as their photographer and newsletter editor. She has only been living in Washington for four years, but she loves great year round fishing! Her smile says it all!!!

Winter steelhead smolts released in the Columbia River

Kimber has been attending The Columbia River Chapter of NW Steelheader meetings with Kristin Both are active within the group who recently put 20,000 winter steelhead in smolting pens released into Salmon Creek in April.

Falls on Wilson river

Kristin is an excellent photographer and has some of her work on her Facebook page, Visions Photography.
Click the picture to the left to go to her page.

Kimber with a chrome fresh spring Chinook Salmon.
Her whole life Kimber has been in love with fishing. She grew up fishing the Klamath River in California. She would stay with her family, who are Yurok Indians,  for three months every summer. She fished with her grandfather, uncles ,and cousins every change she had.

"I would get up early with my fishing buddy and we would meet whatever guide boat wanted us for the day and we would help tie up lines and bait hooks. The guides liked us because they said we were good and would save them money. I would have amazing trips up river. Some days we would hike into tributaries and hook what felt like a million 2 1/2 lb steelhead and then hop back on the boat and bounce eggs for Chinook on the way back down. Being raised close to the tribal culture gave me a greater love for the outdoors then the average person. Just to be out with my family and friends in nature brings peace and amazing memories. I have a young daughter who is following in my footsteps as a young fisherwoman and couldn't be prouder. Fishing is my legacy, my Prozac, and its way fun!" ~ Kimber Roberts

Kimber with a nice silver 30# King Salmon taken while back trolling on the Klamath River.
Judith O' Keefe started with a passion for fishing at the early age of ten which intensified when she met her husband Brian in 1993. Judith loves to fish the streams near her home in Oregon, but has fished in many locations around the world. She has fished in Chile, Nicaragua, Baja, and the Yucatan. She has fished from Florida to the streams in her home state all the way to the wilderness of Alaska stalking their world class Salmon and giant sized wild trout. She has even fishes some of the beautiful chalk streams in England. The fishing she enjoys most is stalking Bonefish on the flats.

Judith with an Alaskan Rainbow from the Bristol Bay Area.

"We view travel as life's great educator: there is no better way to learn about people, nature, and your place in the world. Stream to Sea is a travel company designed to meet the needs of those who fly fish and have a genuine interest in exploring the customs and cultures of other countries. While fishing may be the central focus, the experience doesn't have to stop on the water. Often fishing destinations are found in locations vastly different from our own. Having traveled extensively to the out-of-the-way fly fishing destinations for well over a decade; I understand most destinations offer much more than just a new place to catch fish. Stream to Sea is committed to offering flyfishing excursions that give the traveler the whole story." ~ Judith O'Keefe

Judith on the fabled Deschutes River with a colorful male steelhead
Judith is the founder of Stream to Sea and is board member of  International Women Fly Fishers (IWFF) which is the first and only international women's fly fishing organization.

Carrie Cartwright is an Ambassador for WFN (The World Fishing Network) and is the first female to receive the Top Ambassador Award from them. She is a Pro Staff member for Fishbum, X-Zone Lures, and Tacklestock. She enjoys fishing for Smallies, Musky, and Pike the most.

Carrie with a pair of VERY nice smallies!
"Fishing means many things to me. From childhood memories to creating new ones. There is no better way to get to know someone than sharing a small space with them for hours, even if few words are spoken. Fishing means exciting adventures and peaceful times. It always challenges the mind. The water holds mystery and answers questions all at the same time. It's the best antidote for stress. After time on the water I feel completely at peace." ~ Carrie Cartwright

Carrie sporting a nice Fishbum hat holding a decent steelhead.
Carrie is from Brantford, Ontario and competes in Bass tournaments against some of Canada's top professional anglers.

Ashley Rae claims she is an aspiring angler, girly girl and blogger on All of this is true except she is actually an accomplished angler who has a sort of bucket list trying to catch every species she can. Recently she started trying to catch gar and can't seem to stop. If anybody is an addict, it would be Ashley.
Ashley is an active blogger who posts tons of fish. this girl has some serious skills!
I asked each of the women who participated to answer a question or more. Most choose to basically make a long quote, but Ashley answered each question, so I will post them together.

1. What does fishing mean to you?
Fishing to me, is my passion. It's hard to explain in short form how much it means to me, but I will try. It's the pursuit, the victory, the heartbreak and always a learning experience. It's the sport/hobby that we often spend quietly on the water with friends or even alone yet it connects us all, especially now through social media. It's accessible for people from all walks of life, and a great way to spend any amount of time on the water. I'm hooked for life!
2. What is your favorite fish to catch?
I can't honestly chose a favourite. I am a multi-species angler so I fish for anything that swims and love chasing something new. Lately, it's been gar.

3 What type of fishing do you enjoy most?
I really love kayak fishing in my Hobie Outback. I love all types of fishing, but it's fun when it's just me against the fish. I don't have my own boat yet, so kayak fishing is my way of hitting the water when I'm not out with friends in their boats. ~ Ashley Rae

Ashley is the newest Ambassador for The World Fishing Network. Congrats Ashley!!!
Ashley with a big male Ontario Brown Trout. This is one of the most beautiful fish I've ever seen.

A.D. Maddox is a woman angler with a talent for painting. She has done work for Gray's Sporting Journal, Patagonia, and Montana Fly Company to name a few. Her artwork is simply amazing as you will soon see below.

A.D. Maddox is a fly fishing gal from good ole Tennessee. She lived in Jackson Hole, WY most of her life but returned to Nashville, TN.  She spends the summers in Emigrant, MT fishing the Yellowstone and small mountain streams. Fishing for Big Browns on Dry Flies is her all time favorite. The more remote the locale, the better!

When I asked her what fishing meant to her. The initial response was FUN with all capitol letters!!! Besides the fun part, she finds it relaxing AND exciting. It's the ultimate game in catching. What else would you expect from someone who is known to be speeding along on her Ducati...If your interested in seeing or maybe purchasing some of her artwork go to  A.D. Maddox Studios.

A.D. Hard at work in her studio

Becca Schlaff is another talented artist from Lansing, Michigan. She is relatively new to the sport, but she is eager to learn and catch more fish. Her future works may be influenced by the fish she catches. You can see more of her work at Becca Schlaff Studios.

This is my favorite of Becca's paintings so far.

"Fly fishing means to me: its time spent outdoors, in the water. You have to be present with nature to catch a fish, being patient with it..and then when the moment comes and you land a fish its all adrenaline and the superb beauty of seeing the fish. Releasing the fish back into the water makes the experience come back full circle. Even if I don't catch a fish I'm learning something and standing in a beautiful river. Its all inspiration for me. I'll come back and catch that fish next time." ~Becca Schlaff
Becca on the Muskegon River in Newaygo, Michigan. Congrats on catching multiple steelhead on her first time out.
My most popular post on my blog so far was the interview I did with her a couple of weeks ago. As you can tell by her smile she is hooked and will definitely be seen on the river again. I may even take her to my favorite spot on the Pere Marquette and see how she does with some big Chinook :)

Marcy Stone is employed at The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Oregon for over 6 years.She is an  established guide and Spey casting instructor. Marcy can be found chasing steelhead throughout the Pacific Northwest thorough the year. Ever since Marcy has learned to Spey cast, it's hard to get a rod out of her hands. She has recently started Spey casting competitively.

Marcy with a 26# Atlantic from the Umba River in Russia

She is smiley even when she isn't holding a fish.
"I remember being that person who thought about how silly it was to spend all of this time casting a line not to fish but just to see how far it would go. Now I am the one doing it! We’re all a bit crazy, I suppose! But as they say that about steelhead fishermen anyway, no one is a bit surprised that I am doing this now. I am all of the above: nervous, anxious, and excited! As this is my first casting competition and my first competition in anything since I was 12 years old, my goal is to step out into that pond and cast my best. To find out where I stand and to gauge how strong I am, knowing that I am a rookie amidst a bunch of pros! I think it takes guts to do this and I am curious as to how my body and brain will compete! This year for me is basically a test of where I will be for next year’s competition." ~ Marcy Stone on being a rookie in Spey-O-Rama in 2012

Marcy with a nice Steelhead and permagrin which is a side effect of her obsession with fishing and competitive casting :)

Rebekka Redd is an avid fly fisher. She likes to travel to streams and lakes near her home by horseback with her trusted cattle dog, Rebel. Besides fishing she is an artist, a photo journalist and is involved in conservation. She takes some amazing pictures and I had a difficult time choosing just a few and keeping it to photos only about fishing.

Rebekka and her fishing buddy Rebel looking out over the Kam River (photo of Rebekka Redd)
Rebekka is a woman of many talents and this quote by her says it all. Besides her incredible job working in the film industry and her many other talents she is working on a web page loaded with info and tons of great pics. I have had the privilege of getting a peek, but it's still in the works and once i get the OK, I will post a link to it here.

"You have to live spherically in many directions, never loose your childish enthusiasm and good things will always come your way." ~ Rebekka
Rebekka with a pair of her favorite game fish to catch. (photo of Rebekka Redd)
Rebekka chose to answer all of the questions as well. The more the merrier :)

1. What does fishing mean to you?
"Fishing is my passion.... my gateway to a sense of freedom and that I'm living life the way I want to. To me fishing is different from catching fish. "Gone Fishin" has been a term I've used since I was a young teenager. It not only meant to go fishing but I also meant to go on an adventure. It's all about the "getting there". If I didn't fish I would not have seen some of the worlds most gorgeous places and streams.
Fishing = adventure. Catching fish is a bonus"
2. What is your favorite fish to catch?
"OK, that's hard to just pick one! Lets go top 3:

 #1 for me is the Small mouth Bass. I love casting poppers to smallies on a warm day. They are super fun on the fly.

#2 Brook trout - how can you not love that gorgeous fish?!! They are tremendous. I grew up close to one of the best brook trout lakes in the world.

Right behind the brookie is the toothy northern pike.

LOVE the intense feeling of a pike stalking my fly. You can typically see them approach, follow & strike! "

3 What type of fishing do you enjoy most?
"That's simple : FLY FISHING!" ~ Rebekka Redd

Rebekka working from the North Shore Steelhead club at an outdoor trade show (photo of Rebekka Redd)

Bryanna Zimmerman is from Tacoma, Washington and is a Pautzke Girl! She has a blog for Steelhead University where she contributes weekly.

Bryanna caught this steelhead drifting spawn under a bobber.
Bryanna with another nice steelhead and her always present great smile!
Bryanna also gave me an in depth answer to each of the questions I proposed to her.

1. What does fishing mean to you?

"I think the better question is what doesn't fishing mean to me! Fishing is everything. It's what keeps me balanced and sane between a full time job and a full time student. It's being able to enjoy the same thing as my best friend and having someone to understand the obsession. It's being able to meet so many great people that can just sit and BS about nothing for hours. But mostly, it's being able to constantly challenge myself in something that holds endless rewards and something that will never stop teaching. You'll never know everything there is to know about fishing but we all spend our lives trying to learn more every time we go out on the water. There has never been a day that I don't come home feeling more knowledgeable and feeling like a better angler than I did before I left the house that morning and I know that I'll never stop learning."

2. What is your favorite fish to catch?

"Favorite fish to catch will have to always be a Chinook. And to narrow it down, a spring Chinook. I'm not strongest person on the rivers so the task of using my muscles and endurance to fight for what seems like an endless amount of time really gets my blood going. Plus I love the tap, tap, tap, slam! that a Chinook bite feels like."

3 What type of fishing do you enjoy most?

"While I haven't ventured out much past salmon/steelhead and have MANY fish on my "bucket list", I'd have to say my favorite is winter steelhead. The thought of a trophy steelhead absolutely entices me and the fact that they are quite a bit more difficult to catch than most salmon, challenges me and makes me want them more. There is also something a bit more rewarding about bearing freezing temperatures in search for maybe just one solo fish."  ~ Bryanna Zimmerman

Bryanna says "If it's chromey. it's going homey!"

April Vokey has become one of the most recognizable faces in the sport. April can be seen at many fly fishing shows across the US and Canada, she has fly tying clinics at fly shops and offers fly fishing instruction in addition to being a guide in British Columbia, Canada. She is an excellent blogger on her Flygal webpage. She has recently started a charitable organization called Flies for Fins, which recently donated $13,500 dollars to the Steelhead Society of BC for the Spius Creek (Thompson tributary) project. If you want to see her in action, just do a search for her on YouTube.

If fly tying is an art, then April is definitely one of our generations great fly tying artists.

If you are looking to book a trip or find where she will be appearing next you only have to look here. Her blogs are great and filled with many photos of her and others catching great fish worldwide. She is a guide for the Dean, Skeena, Pitt, and Fraser Rivers.
April with a large Steelhead on the Dean River.
Always loved this photo, so I had to share it with you.
Ms. Vokey has been a very busy girl and has just gotten home from a well deserved vacation. In response to my questions she responded that she just did a full on interview at Fly Fusion Magazine, where she is also a contributing writer.

She was asked a question very similar to one of them I posed to all the women angles here. What does fishing mean to you?

"Everybody fishes for their own reasons. Personally I fly fish because i believe the world is out of control; buildings, corporations, computer lifestyles... this is not what I believe human beings were intended to do. Fishing for me is the last and final activity that I can partake  in where I am able to just disappear from the world and actually do what I was born to do; stalk, hunt and spend my days outside and simply enjoy my time away from the man-made chaos." ~ April Vokey from her interview in the current issue of Fly Fusion Magazine
April practicing Catch and Release with a bright chrome steelie.
April is an excellent blogger as well on her website and tells a great story while adding many wonderful pictures of her holding fishing with her famous look of awe and reverence for the amazing fish she catches just before letting them go. Somethings change her for the better and although not everyone is a catch and release enthusiast. I will add Aprils last blog, it is somewhat short, but significant. I applaud April in your ever continued efforts in conservation.
"Well, it’s been a good run… but I have a mini announcement to make.
Spectacular fish with perfect down-turned eyes, flecks of green reflecting my smile, and large fleshy tails splaying open my fingers.I have held them in my hands, have shared them in my photos and have stored them in my heart.
But today I am convinced that I have had my fill of shared moments and am pleased to announce that steelhead grip and grins will no longer be a part of my personal photo albums.
While each angler is absolutely free to make their own decisions, I personally have made mine and will commit to this decision upon the pressing of publish on this blog.
Here’s to a quick release and a continued great steelhead season!" ~ April Vokey
Many goddesses have been known to have animal companions. Always helps to have a good fishing buddy!
This big fella is named Colby. He is a St.Bernard/Rhodesian Ridegeback mix. April rescued him from the pound where he was born at 8 weeks of age. He is now 3 years old and has re-ignited April's passion for fishing. She is hard pressed to go guiding without him.

This post has taken much more time than I expected, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I spent long hours getting to know many of these women anglers through conversation, e-mail, and research. One thing I found that they have in common is a great passion for fishing. It doesn't seem to matter what sort of fishing, it is just the love to be in the great outdoors, sharing time with others and catching whatever species it is they are chasing. Most of them fell in love with the sport almost immediately, you never know where the next great women angler is going to come from, so take a daughter, niece or cousin and get outside and go fishing.

The sport is better to have them all in it, their contributions, knowledge, art, instruction, guiding, and especially their huge smiles are greatly appreciated. I would gladly net fish for all of the 'goddesses' here or any kind souls I find in my travels.

I'd like to personally thank each and everyone of these women for giving me the time to get to know them, write about them and been given permission to use many of their amazing pictures. I hope that you section is to your liking.

 (photo of Rebekka Redd)

It is even possible that you may see some of these women anglers in upcoming articles or possibly an interview....who knows what the future holds, but getting there is half the fun.

May the fishing Gods (and Goddesses) always smile upon you!!! Tight Lines

There is a good possibility that there will be a part 2 on this post in the upcoming months as well as a Rebecca Redd interview and "something" with April Vokey, she does ALOT of interviews! I want to do something a little different ;)

If anybody is interested in being included in part 2 or maybe an interview or some other involvement send me an e-mail:


  1. Thanks for taking so much time to publish a great post on some of the great women anglers. These are remarkable women. I am envious they discovered this pastime in their youth. I am trying to pack in as much fly-fishing as I can as a retiree. I am fishing 52 rivers this year - one a week in my attempt to step it up. See my blog and (2014 book)

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