Casting for Recovery, Fishing, Nature Photography

Fly Fishing

Last year I attended a retreat called Casting for Recovery.  It’s a program for breast cancer patients and survivors–a three day retreat where you learn how to fly fish!  The retreat was held at the Northfork Ranch in Shawnee, CO.  Lodging is amazing.  Some stay in the large main lodge and others stay in cabins near the lake.  Participants arrive on Friday afternoon in time for a delicious dinner (the food there is incredible–every meal amazing!).  After dinner, there is a meet and greet where you give everyone a little insight into who you are and why you are there.

  • Saturday is a day of learning:
    • What do fish eat?
    • How to tie essential fly fishing knots.
    • What gear do you need?
    • An afternoon of practicing fly fishing casts.
      • You do this in a field where you can spread out to avoid whacking each other.
    • All of this in between more incredible food – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    • The evening is a time to recap the day and learn how this program started and why it is so helpful.

Then comes Sunday!!!  Early to rise and get all of your gear on (supplied by the program–courtesy of Orvis).  Each participant gets paired with a guide (I had 2 because of my balance issues after chemo), and you find a spot in the river to fish–the North Fork of the South Platt River runs right through the ranch.  Everything you learned about casting is now put to use.

Everyone except me caught at least one trout.  I hooked three, but wasn’t able to land any of them.  My reflexes aren’t that great, and I had trouble getting them hooked hard enough to bring in.  But that was OK.  When we all met after lunch to discuss our fishing, I could say I hooked one as wide as my open arms, and no on could argue, because there were no photos to prove otherwise!

I bring this up because I went to a fly fishing for women class last evening at Barr Lake State Park.  I have a beautiful Sage fly rod and reel that was a door prize at a function I attended about a year ago.  It’s been sitting in my closet ever since.  One of the things that we were going to learn was how to get your new rod ready for fishing.  I arrived early, and the rangers offered to go ahead and do that work for me since I have trouble with small motor things (essential tremors from chemo).  I was sooooo grateful for their help.  We learned about how to “read” the water–where to cast to catch the most fish, how to determine what flies to use, what the different flies emulate from the actual food in nature, and how to tie those all-essential knots (using shoe laces instead of fishing line).

Now, I have my rod and reel all put together, and I’m ready to hit the water!  One of the women last night offered to take me with her one day soon to a lake where she says they catch a lot of fish!  I can’t wait!!!