Tag Archives: fishing

How to get HOOKED on fishing this year!

By Sara Schlesinger, NPC Land Steward Specialist

If you’re looking to improve your fishing skills, or even try fishing for the first time, I highly recommend checking out the programs that Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission hosts for anglers. And the best part is, these programs are all FREE!

I have been fishing since I was little, and fly fishing for about 7 years, but had never really had much guidance. Looking to improve my skill set, last summer I signed up for the Women’s Intro to Fly Fishing online program. The online learning taught me the thought process behind different leader and tippet selections, how to read the water and much more. Signing up for this course also qualified me to participate in the Women’s Intro to Steelhead Fly Fishing trips in Erie, PA.

I attended the Women’s Steelhead Fly Fishing trip last fall, where I caught my first steelhead, and I was HOOKED! I recently had the opportunity to attend this event again, where I again expanded my knowledge, improved my casting, made new friends, and danced with some chromers (steelhead) – and suckers, which fight even harder than the steelhead.

Sara and her steelhead

Not only did I catch a bunch of fish, I also landed great connections and new friendships. This program is a phenomenal opportunity for networking with like-minded people. Women from neighboring states of West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and New York were in attendance as well. The first time that I attended this event, I went completely alone, not knowing another person – each time I go, I make more friendships and connections, expanding locations for fishing opportunities via offers from other female anglers who offer open invitations to hang out and fish in their home waters.

Don’t be afraid of trying something new because you are alone, or afraid of not being good at it! As a female angler looking to get into the sport, or advance your skills, it is easy to be intimidated by a male dominated activity. I implore you to push past any thoughts of self-doubt or intimidation, and I promise you will be thrilled with what is waiting on the other side! That is what sets this women’s fly fishing program apart from others, the inclusivity and encouragement from a variety of mentors.

New experiences lead to newfound friendships

The group consisted of people ranging from those who have never touched a fly rod, to women who have been doing it for years, but never for steelhead, volunteers who are local guides, Fly Fishers International Certified Casting Instructors, well-known fly tiers and authors of fly fishing books. Each and every person there supported and encouraged one another, so if you arrived alone, you left with new friends and a sense of belonging.

Women’s Intro to Steelhead Fly Fishing trip in Erie, PA

We, as Pennsylvanians, are blessed to have more miles of streams than any state, other than Alaska, along with superb programming and mentorship for anglers provided by PA Fish and Boat, many active chapters of Trout Unlimited and several other groups encouraging and educating anglers. Those who actively recreate are more invested in the conservation of our natural resources.

Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy will be partnering with PA Fish and Boat to host 2 upcoming fishing programs: Introduction to Fly Fishing on May 4th at Montour Preserve, and Family Fishing Day at Rose Valley Lake on June 29th. I love learning and teaching others about fishing, whether I’m working one of these events, or you want to reach out to me directly, I’m always happy to share what knowledge I have – and there’s always more to learn!

And don’t forget, NPC is a fishing tackle loaner location. Spinning rods and fly rods are available to check-out for free so you can enjoy fishing and improving your skills without the investment.

Happy fishing,

Sara Schlesinger
Land Steward Specialist
Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy