With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we want to feature the wonderful mother-daughter duo Stephanie and Evie Scott. These two have been gallivanting all over the PNW with their awesome fishing adventures, on and off the water.
Raised on a farm in the foothills of Mt. Spokane, Stephanie has been playing outdoors all her life. But six years ago, her body started to fail. She was dizzy and weak and getting sick all time, walking was difficult and she was having starting to have what looked like seizures. As a middle school teacher, this was problematic. As a mother, it was dangerous. After a battery of tests, doctors diagnosed her with auto-immune disease and an autonomic disorder called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, a disorder that affects the pathways and receptors between her brain and heart. For POTS patients, gravity is your worst enemy- the blood goes down, but your heart doesn’t always get the signal to send it back up.
Stephanie started treatment, was given a walker and began the adjustment to a new “normal.” It was a frustrating period for her as all she wanted was to get back outside in the mountains. So on a family vacation in Glacier National Park, she and her husband walked into a fly shop and asked if there was anywhere they could go nearby where she could easily access some safe water to try to fish. An hour later, a new Redington starter set in hand, Stephanie stood in the shade of a bridge, shin-high in a cool stream. For the first time in months, she wasn’t dizzy.
When she got home, she told her neurologist: “I’ve never felt as good as I did standing in that cold water. I felt like the old me.”
Her doctor explained that the cold had probably shocked her system enough that the blood was flowing to her brain like it was supposed to. She pulled out her prescription pad and wrote “go fly fishing.”
And so she did. Stephanie went to every fly-fishing event she could find and joined her local fly club. She also started bringing her daughter Evie along. It wasn’t a hard sell. The moment Evie walked into her first fly tying night, the old guys plunked her down in front of a vice and showed her the ropes. By evening’s end, she’d cranked out a half dozen flies, and was begging her parents for tools and materials. A few months later, Evie was helping teach other kids how to tie at the local fly fishing fair and swapping flies with her hero, April Vokey. She started an after-school fly fishing club for kids at her school (taught by her mom,) and helped her cousin learn how to cast.
And so, what started out as therapy for Stephanie, became a shared passion with her daughter. Though she says she prefers tying, Evie usually out-fishes her Mom when they’re on the water. And while they can’t walk very far, and Stephanie often has to stop and rest on the bank for a bit, the two have fished waters all over the PNW and Alaska together.
Evie is in middle school now, and Stephanie has stepped out of the classroom to better focus on her health and her family. She just completed writing her first middle-grade novel- a wilderness survival story about a mother and daughter who become stranded on a white-water rafting trip in Montana.
Stephanie volunteers as the Kitsap Olympic Peninsula TU chapter’s Women’s Initiative Chair and with her friend Becci Curtis- Lillie, co-leads “Tacoma Women on the Fly.” More information about their club and upcoming events can be found on Facebook and Instagram under @tacomawomenonthefly. For more information on POTS, go to www.dysautonomiainternational.org.