The annual Sisterhood of the Outdoors fly fishing trip with Cowboy Drifters is a weekend I look forward to all year! Seriously…the day after I get home I’m already thinking, “362 more days…” It is such a fulfilling and enriching weekend on so many different levels.
For those who have never been around women on a weekend when they have been set free of responsibilities and kids and spouses…well, you might be surprised. We aren’t the stereotypical damsel in distress, waiting for someone to tie the “bait” on our “pole”. We let go and refresh our souls…complete with dares, dancing, laughing, jokes and songs, brews, tips to rehydrate, and good food. In my experience, we are invested in being around an expert for the day and we are soaking up as much as we can in the short amount of time we have.
During our weekend I saw women taking pictures of the setup their guides talked to them about, asking questions about the flies they tied on, taking notes on their phones about the weight and depth, and discussing different rods. Thankfully Cowboy Drifters has a shop full of flies that we used on the water and the ladies left with fly boxes full of flies they successfully caught fish with. Many of the flies are unique to Cowboy Drifters and developed by the owner, Jason Hamrick, based on the research he does on the river each day.
I also saw women make valuable connections and friendships over the few short days we were together. Every year the vibe is a little different depending on the personalities of the group. Some years they come to party and some years there is a more serious tone to the group. Every year, we get to know each other on a deeper level. We talk about family, health, life experiences. Some of the conversations bring us to tears and some of them have us laughing uncontrollably.
Our weekend starts off by meeting at a local restaurant for supper. Friday night was spent getting to know each other and sharing the connections that some of us had already made. This year we were joined by Misty, my friend since 7th Grade! Another local friend, Tanya, who I met through hunting and Tammi from Michigan, whom I had met hunting a few years ago as well. The other two women were from Montana, Kara and Rachel, and not only had they grown up together…they are now living in the same town and raising their own two kids as best friends! The conversation bounced around from childhood memories to Kara and Rachel’s adventurous drive to the wild state of Wyoming! After exhausting happy hour and enjoying salmon salads, burgers, and the famous Montana Ale Works Pizza (haha) we headed out to the lodge to settle in for the night.
Saturday morning came early, as we were fishing the Miracle Mile and had a bit of a drive ahead of us. We met our guides at the shop, grabbed our sack lunches, and hit the road. After dropping the boats, getting the rods set up and a few practice casts….we were on the water. I have been waiting years to fish the Miracle Mile, so I was beside myself with excitement.
And the day didn’t fail to deliver. In true Miracle Mile fashion…it wasn’t about getting the fish to hit your fly – it was about getting them to the boat. Time and time again I had a beautiful trout on the end of my line, just to have them throw the hook a few feet from the net. They gave glimpses of their color as they rolled just under the surface and my goal for the day was to land a Miracle Mile Brown.
The first trout I brought to net was a gorgeous, fat, healthy Rainbow. I released it back to the water, more determined than ever to find my Brown Trout. We hooked into a few more, but couldn’t land them, as Miracle Mile trout play a different game than your typical North Platte catch. It was a fantastically hot day and we spent our time cooling off with beverages and wading and floating into the river during our lunch break. So, near the end of the day, when I finally scooped up my last catch and it was a gorgeous 21 inch Brown, you better believe I joined that beaut in the water. I held her up as I knelt in the water and smiled so big. I did it! As I climbed back in the boat I said, “There’s just something about a person’s smile when they are holding a fish…you can just FEEL it.” Lenny, my guide, commented,”Yeah I never thought about it…but you’re right!”
My boat mate was anxious to land one last catch and threw her line in the water. All of a sudden we hear, “My phone!” Her line wound around her phone and launched it to the water and we watched it sink to the bottom of the Miracle Mile. We jumped in and tried to find it, got pretty close to snagging it up, but the current was just too strong to hold steady and keep ahold of it. Fortunately she had everything saved to the cloud and it was just a matter of buying a replacement phone. Unfortunately, all the pictures and videos of my catch hadn’t yet made it to the cloud, so they are still sitting at the bottom of the Platte. And somehow, it kind of makes the experience of catching my Brown even more valuable because it will always only be shared between myself, my friend, and our guide Lenny. We wrapped up our amazing day of fishing with steaks on the grill, cooling off at the cabin, and exchanging stories from the day.
Sunday brought another sunny day and we hit the shop to stock up on flies to fish Grey Reef. We enjoyed a day of wading into the North Platte and fishing different spots along Grey Reef, sometimes relaxing in the grass on the side of the river while we worked on a tan and napped. We hit up a local dive bar at lunch to escape the heat and cool off. Nothing but fun was on the menu as we enjoyed Rocky Mountain oysters and the best burgers in the area. We fired up the juke box and danced to our favorite tunes and sang at the top of our lungs while the locals joined in and escalated our good time.
Our group hugged through goodbye’s and see you soon’s. Some of us needed to be heading home and some of us went back to the river. We waded deep to avoid the heat and ended up back floating in the cool water. Every once in awhile a boat would float by and ask how our fishing went yesterday…recognizing us from the Mile the day before. We ran into another friend of mine who is a guide and he brought his boat to shore while we chatted with his anglers. Before they loaded up he shared several flies with us that they were having success with that day. Never have I met friendlier folks than the ones I have met on the North Platte. As the afternoon continued on, we decided it was time to pack it up. We were all reluctant to leave, because it meant our weekend was over.
Keeping in touch on social media is one of my most favorite parts and after effects of a Sisterhood fly fishing weekend. I see posts of their kids and family or life accomplishments and I am filled with excitement or pride right along with them! I love seeing other women who were with us for the weekend commenting on their pictures and supporting them online.
One of the most important things you can do for your mental health is have a network or connection of people in your life. That feeling of community and family helps you feel celebrated during the good times and supported during the tough times. And I see that over and over again through my Sisterhood fly fishing trips. These are the connections and friendships that will last the rest of my life.
If you haven’t signed up for a Sisterhood fly fishing trip, now is the time to invest in yourself and get signed up at https://www.sisterhoodoutdoors.com! Also, one of our guest anglers this summer is a guide and owns her own fly fishing apparel business, Yellow Sally…she has generously shared a discount code with us! My favorite prints are She’s So Fly, Lady Trout Wrangler, and Trout Party!! Don’t sit on this deal! Use the code FISHING15 at https://www.yellowsallyfishing.com to snag your discount, or click on the link below!