Steelhead Camaraderie

What makes up your favourite day of fishing? Can you define it? Is it the number of fish hooked, the secret haunts traveled to or the chance to disconnect? For me, it’s a combination of all three but it’s also about the people. The like-minded anglers who share your passion and excitement; who offer to tail your fish and who truly admire its beauty as you release it together. Albeit, fishing with a companion will keep you honest on your ‘big fish’ stories but they always turn good days into great days.
As I sit here on this snowy Nova Scotia evening, admittedly counting down the weeks until April 1st, I am reminiscing on my favourite memories from this past season. One day keeps resurfacing and it just happens to be the last time I was on the water. It was a bitter November day, spent with Frontier Steelhead’s, Andrea Soto. We fished hard despite the wind and freezing rain and were luckily rewarded with several fish. Some landed and some released at a distance.
As much as I love hitting the water with my male counterparts, there’s something special about bonding with another female angler on the river. It’s a sisterhood like no other and it leaves you feeling uniquely fulfilled and empowered. We have different perspectives, challenges and insights, so it’s a privilege to chat strategy and technique with someone with whom you have so much in common. On this particular day, Andrea and I shared stories and laughs; strengths and weaknesses. We teamed up to land and release some epic fish.
  
It’s nothing short of a high to be waist deep in the water, casting away, only to hear “Fish On!” You happily reel up and scramble over to share in the excitement. Watching Andrea’s line and backing peel off the reel and then seeing her strategically gaining on a large steelhead was magic. Back and forth we traded off, landing one another’s fish and feeling that rush of connecting with something so beautifully wild.
Riverside fires to dry our gloves and warm up those chilly fingers and toes were welcomed on that late Autumn day. We were fortunate to have had head guide, Joel Gourley, there with us so we could keep fishing while the fire was kept roaring. Short warm-up breaks between hookups,  where we sipped on hot soup and the occasional celebratory swig of fireball, made for a perfect day on the river.
Moral of the story, if you’re a woman who has toyed with the idea of fly fishing, all I can say is dive in and try it. If you’re not quite sure where to start, reach out to the ladies in your community. Social media groups and local events are popping up everywhere, chock-full of passionate women eager to learn and share. Regardless of your experience level, you will grow together and make friendships that last a lifetime. But most importantly you will have a blast! And if all else fails, just remember to pack the whisky.

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