I have long been an advocate for getting more girls and women involved in fishing. The vast majority of folks running boats on our lakes and rivers are still guys. But that is slowly starting to change thanks in part to some unique clubs for women and the introduction and growth of high school fishing teams with a real growth in girl participation.
There are many reasons that women have had a hard time breaking into the ranks of anglers. Of course, there are many girls and women who fish with family members, but I am talking about the single woman who is left out when it comes time to go fishing. It could be a divorce, a husband who doesn’t like to fish, or those who just simply can’t afford to buy the equipment.
For a woman who has never pulled a boat to a public landing, the idea of backing up a boat into the lake for the first time is very intimidating. There is help out there, and for a woman who really wants to fish in any season of the year, all it takes is an email or a phone call to make a connection and get the ball rolling.
The Minnesota DNR has a wonderful program called “BOW,” Becoming an Outdoor Woman. This is a course that teaches women how to fish, hunt and do other things in the outdoors. Two of the instructors are good friends of mine – Mandy Uhrich and Judy Koep. These two experts can do anything that any man can do and often better. To get more information on this program go to the DNR website for details.
Women Anglers of Minnesota is an organization that has been in business for 42 years and is one of the clubs that was inducted this year into the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame. WAM is an organization that provides opportunities for women and children to participate in the sport of fishing and improve their fishing skills to fish for a variety of species. Members in the group come from across the nation and Canada. They can be contacted at www.womenanglersmn.com.
There are also other organizations in Minnesota and Wisconsin that focus on helping women learn how to fish.
My daughter, Melissa Albers, has a son and husband who both love to fish. But she has always felt it would be fun to fish with some of her women friends who also enjoy fishing. So this spring she joined Women Anglers of Minnesota and started fly fishing for steelhead trout in the Duluth area.
She has fished with members of WAM and has had some success, but mostly she has really enjoyed learning the art of fly fishing and meeting so many wonderful women who also love to fish.
If you are a woman or young girl who wants to learn how to fish and meet wonderful new people, there are organizations out there just waiting for your phone call!
Ray Gildow is a northern Minnesota fishing guide and outdoor writer.