Salmon Fishing in the San Juans

This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to go salmon fishing in the San Juan islands.  It was my first experience with salt water fishing, completely different from what I’ve done before!

We started the morning on the water at 5:30am and went to pick up another couple heading out with us.  It was a beautiful morning—calm water, perfect temperature, and beyond stunning surroundings.

We started trolling an area with one other boat, there were three lines in the water.  Three of us were new to salmon fishing so we decided to take turns with who would reel in the lines.  I was standing in the back to watch the lines and take pictures, it was a breathtaking view.

I noticed one of the lines starting to bob up and down and mentioned I thought a fish was on the line.  They yelled to grab it, but being totally honest, I froze up a little.  I knew this was expensive fishing gear and I had the worry I’d either mess something up or drop the pole in the water to never be seen again.

The main guy taking us out came back and got the pole then handed it to me while saying, “Reel!!”  Having only reeled in small catfish in a tiny lake, reeling in a bigger fish with a current was a bit harder.  I reeled and eventually got the fish to the surface, several yards behind the boat.

It was a salmon!  I kept reeling as he got the net ready to scoop up the fish.  I was worried the salmon might get off the line as it got near the boat, but it was close enough for him to net it and get it into the boat.

My first pink salmon!

We spent the day on the water trolling for more salmon.  One more was caught that day.  A few made it on the line but were lost.  It was an incredibly fun day. 

I also caught another first, but I’ll post about that next week.  Here’s a hint, you can only catch it out in salt water!

Women’s Outdoor Retreats

Women’s outdoor retreats, a weekend geared toward women learning new skills in the great outdoors. This year, I’m attending the Washington Outdoor Women’s weekend workshop to learn new hunting and fishing skills. I’m really excited!

Here is a snapshot of some of the workshops offered this year.

Through the course of the weekend, you take three workshops. I’m hoping to take archery, duck hunting, and fly fishing. Regardless of what I’m able to take (workshops can fill up and you get your second or third choice), I’m really looking forward to learning new things in the world of hunting and fishing! 

I’m also really looking forward to meeting other female hunters. Part of the reason I started this blog was to connect with women hunters and hear their stories. It’s great that there’s an event in my area that allows me to meet several other women also interested in the outdoors.

Check to see if your state has a similar weekend. My quick google search showed similar retreats in several other states.

I can’t wait for September! A great event to kick off hunting season.

Have you ever attended a women’s outdoor retreat? Did you like it? Share your experience below!

Failure to Launch: Learning How To Fish

Female Hunter Fishing

For this post, I’m taking a trip down memory lane to the time when my then boyfriend taught me how to fish.  It’s a tale of frustration and triumph.  I can’t help but laugh every time I think back to how ridiculous we must’ve looked out there trying to fish in the dark.

To set the stage, I’ve only had two real fishing experiences growing up.  The first was when I was 4 years old and we were using my dad’s super secret bait—beans and cheese.  I’m sure you’re surprised to learn it didn’t work and we caught no fish.  The second experience was when I was a 14 year old who wanted nothing to do with forced family bonding time.  We spent a few hours at a lake, but no one caught a fish then either.  This meant, I had never dealt with actually catching a fish.

Fast-forward to now.  My boyfriend at the time tells me we’re going fishing this weekend.  I was excited.  I hadn’t been in over a decade and wanted to learn more about his favorite hobby.  With the word “weekend,” I assumed we were going Saturday morning.  He, however, had other ideas.  Night fishing, his favorite.  When we got to the lake, the sun was setting and I took in how pretty it was.  We had a secluded lake out in the country all to ourselves.  It seemed like it would be a good night of fishing.  We started setting up our spot, getting out the lantern and spotlight for when the sun went down.  We covered ourselves with bug spray since the bugs were out in swarms.  Pro tip: Don’t get bug spray on your lips, they get all numb and tingly.  Plus it tastes repulsive.

My first task was to learn how to bait the hook with worms.  I’ve never had a problem with worms.  Digging in the dirt at recess was pretty normal growing up.  My friends and I heard if you cut them in half they’d grow back whole, so obviously we had to experiment.  Young curious minds!  This meant grabbing a worm to put on the hook wasn’t bad… until I stabbed it on the hook and the thing squirmed between my fingers.  I’m sure I’d squirm too if someone was trying to poke me with a hook!  But I had a job to do, and after a little bit of finagling the worm was securely on the hook.

The next lesson, how to cast the line.  This I vaguely knew and was decent at, if memory served me right.  Well… my memory was wrong, very wrong.  My boyfriend said to cast it straight in front of me.  I brought my arm back, then forward and let go of the line with my finger…  and watched it as it veered far to the right, almost into a bunch of lily pads.  I can’t tell you what happened, other than I wasn’t the best and my boyfriend really didn’t like the line being that close to the lily pads.  I tried again, carefully focusing on what I needed to do.  This time, the line actually went straight!  And right smack dab in the water a mere three feet from my shoes.  In a nutshell, I was awful.  By this point, the sun had nearly set and the night sky was becoming our only light.

For some reason, I couldn’t grasp the concept of letting the line out slowly.  I say it’s because I couldn’t see what I was doing.  My boyfriend maintained he could see great in the dark, unfortunately I’m not equipped with the natural gift of night vision.  My boyfriend was annoyed that I either let the line out too fast or wasn’t holding the reel correctly to let it out.  I can’t tell you what I was doing because I couldn’t see the seemingly foreign object in my hand.  The realization started to sink in—I knew nothing about fishing.

Continue reading


Before being involved in hunting, I didn’t realize that conservation was so heavily supported by hunters.  The money made from hunters (hunting licenses, tags, guns, ammunition, ect.) is put back into conservation efforts for wildlife management.  As someone who wants to preserve the outdoors, I was happy to learn that the money I would spend for hunting was going toward a cause I believe in.  Even though I didn’t get an animal last year,  I know the money I spent on tags was put toward a good cause.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has a great article on conservation called “25 Reasons Why Hunting Is Conservation.”  Below are some of my favorite reasons, click here to read the full article:

“Reason No. 2 why Hunting Is Conservation: In 1900, only 500,000 whitetails remained. Thanks to conservation work spearheaded by hunters, today there are more than 32 million.

Reason No. 6 why Hunting Is Conservation: Habitat, research and wildlife law enforcement work, all paid for by hunters, help countless non-hunted species.

Reason No. 7 why Hunting Is Conservation: Through state licenses and fees, hunters pay $796 million a year for conservation programs.*

Reason No. 10 why Hunting Is Conservation: An 11% tax on guns, ammo, bows and arrows generates $371 million a year for conservation.*

Reason No. 14 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunting funds conservation AND the economy, generating $38 billion a year in retail spending.*

Reason No. 17 why Hunting Is Conservation: A wildlife management tool, hunting helps balance wildlife populations with what the land can support, limits crop damage and curtails disease outbreaks.

Reason No. 21 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunters provide for conservation—and for their families. Hunting is a healthy way to connect with nature and eat the world’s most organic, lean, free-range meat.

For more information on conservation, check out the following links:
Fish and Wildlife Service Information on Conservation
National Shooting Sports Foundation on Conservation