This month United Women on the Fly is featuring Sherry Peterson. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Sherry exactly one year ago in Ellensburg WA while hosting a Trout Unlimited Women’s Event. Sherry is feisty, determined and becoming a better angler each day. I spent three full days with her in North Idaho fishing for cutthroat and watched the wheels turn as everything she’s learned started to fall into place. When I got back into service my phone was buzzing with photos of beautiful cutthroat that she caught “all by herself”! I’m beyond proud of her and happy to call her my friend. Here’s her story… Happy Fishing!!! Hopper
“My Grandma Fran was the only other woman I knew who fished. Grandma Fran lived to fish. She lived for the weekends when Grandpa Roger would get off work on Friday. Grandma, Grandpa and I would squeeze into his Dodge pickup, stop for a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken with all the sides and head out to Lake Tanwax where their trailer was parked for the summer.
In the mornings, before the sun began to peek over the horizon, Grandma Fran was on the dock, bundled in blankets, sitting in her green webbed lawn chair, cup of coffee in one hand, cigarette in the other, fishing rod between her knees watching for that bobber down. There was always a fishing pole next to her waiting for me.
Thus my love for fishing was born. For many years fishing was in my blood, but except for a few charters, fishing was not a part of my life. Not because I did not want to fish, I did not know how. And no matter how many fishermen I asked, I had no one to help me learn. I was too intimidated to just learn on my own. Where to even start? Walking into any sporting goods store’s fishing section I was overwhelmed.
Serendipity. The universe responding to my needs/wishes. The eclipse in 2017 brought an opportunity to try fly fishing. A year before the eclipse the only camping spot available was at a fly fishing camp on the Deschutes River between Madras and Warm Springs. I booked it.
The fishing camp was packed with campers from all over the world. Waiting for the moon to slide over the sun, there wasn’t much to do for a few days. Here was my opportunity to learn fly fishing. I enlisted fellow travelers to sign up for a casting class on the first day. After the class I talked a few of my classmates into a walk-in guided trip the next day.
Once I stepped into that river I was home. The air above the river was different. I breathed deeply filling my lungs. The water moved around my legs as I found footing in slippery boulders. I was fly fishing. Finally.
I lost count of how many bites I had that got away that day. Instantly, I was addicted to the tug of the line when there was a fish on. The anticipation with each cast as I mended line and watched my bobber float along a seam. Catching my first fish sealed the deal.
After the eclipse, I left the fishing camp with a set of waders, boots, a wading staff, a fly rod and reel, and a bunch of flies. The best thing I left with could not be purchased—information there were other women who fly fished, in fact a whole group of them. And if I went on Facebook I could find them.
In October 2017 I took the Fly Fishing 101 class in Ellensburg put on by United Women on the Fly. I learned to fly fish for cutthroat in salt water at Potlatch State Park and around the Olympia area with Oly Women on the Fly. I went to Montana and caught my first trout on the Missouri River with United Women on the Fly. I camped on the Clearwater in Idaho where I caught my first cutthroat with Spokane Women on the Fly.
My dream is to catch a steelhead on the fly. I am like a kid at Christmas waiting for my trip to the Grand Ronde to fish for steelhead with Spokane Women on the Fly and Palouse Women on the Fly.
Life is about learning, about finding peace where I can, standing in those moments that fill me with awe. Spending time with women who lift each other up is where I want to be at this time of my life. United Women on the Fly and each of its chapters I have made friends at is what sisterhood is about—sharing knowledge and experiences.
You will find me at our Women on the Fly events wearing my crown and fishing like a Queen—even though I still am learning. I feel so accomplished when I tie my own knots pick my own flies and catch my own fish.
We are all Queens inside and I am here to remind you of that. Let’s keep fixing each other’s crowns when we get together, hugging like there is no tomorrow, helping each other learn more about fishing and being the sisters and friends we have become.” – Sherry Petersen