On the first weekend of October, with a fresh dusting of snow up high, a group of gals gathered on Saturday morning at Atkinson’s Park in Ketchum, Idaho. With hot cups of coffee to warm up frosty fingers, a weekend of fishing fun lay ahead. Though the weather forecast was less than stellar, warm smiles and fresh faces looked ready and raring to go. Twelve participants attended our Fly Fishing 101 event. Starting Saturday off, local lady anglers showed up to help guide our ladies through the bare essentials; how to tie on your first fly, how to set up your rod and reel, casting practice on the grass, and basic knots and tools. The participants, ranging from true first timers to those who had fishing experience but never anything formal, ambled from station to station, learning new casting techniques, digging through fly boxes, and getting tangled in line. Making new friends and encouraging people to try something new, we had many giggles watching girls wriggle into waders, as we wrapped up the morning and went over the plan for the following day.
Sunday morning, bundled up in wooly socks and warm hats, we met in the parking lot of the local YMCA, ready for a full day on the water. Even though there was now a thick layer of snow coating the mountains, we piled into a few trucks and made our way over Trail Creek Summit, en route to the Big Lost. Our first stop was Idaho Basecamp, our “home base” for the day. Scenically set along the banks of the river, this unique space is like a giant outdoor playground, complete with labyrinth like pathways, bridges, beautiful beaches, and even a wood burning hot tub. Here we gathered up and chatted while waiting for some fresh pizzas, made on site in their homemade pizza oven. After making new friends with the local ranch dogs and snagging a few bites to tide us over, everyone was split into small groups to set out and try to snag some fish.
Each of our awesome Lady Leaders took two girls, and made out to find their own little spot along the river. Cars caked in mud and sufficiently spread out, the weather holding off, we waded into the water. Surveyed from the banks, it made for quite the scenic adventure with the backdrop of snowcapped mountains amidst bright fall foliage. With the smaller groups, our local angling pros were able to give the girls some great tips, had them spotting fish in their favorite hidey-holes, learning how to set, and what to do when you land your own lunker, resulting in almost every participant scoring at least a fish or a good strike on their fly. Even as the weather started to sprinkle, faces were smiling as the contagious thrill of landing a (sometimes not so) big one spread down the river.
As the day wound to an end, we gathered back at basecamp for a quick snack and to share stories from the day. I think more than a few of the girls went home with fish fever, and look forward to hearing about their future adventures. With such a great group, it was easy to walk away with big smiles and warm heart. The weekend was a huge success, made possible by our wonderful volunteers, Idaho Basecamp, the amazing team at Silver Creek Outfitters for getting us all geared up and ready to go, and most importantly the girls who came out, even in seriously frost conditions, to jump up and into something new.