Heather Hodson

HEather Hodson

Heather Hodson mining for gold on Utah’s Provo River. Photo by Michael Griffith.

In what capacity are you currently engaged in the sport of fly fishing?

My fly fishing capacity continues to grow.  I founded Spokane Women on the Fly (SWOTF), a women’s fly fishing group for the women of the Inland Northwest in March 2014.  I host at least one weekend women’s outing a month with SWOTF as well as go out a few times during the month to help teach brand new women angler’s the basics.  I helped develop and teach a Women’s Fly Fishing 101 class at the Silverbow Fly Shop in Spokane, WA and am a fly designer for Catch Fly Fishing out of Billings, MT.  I just recently started a Blog, “Tales, Tangles and Tight Lines” with future plans of writing about my many adventures and women’s specific fly fishing articles.  In the fall/winter I host and teach a monthly tying night called “Hackle and Hops”.  I’ve spoken at a few events about how I’ve been successful at getting women involved in fly fishing and how others can do the same thing.  I also try to get my own personal time on the water in search of a tight line with my “Catch of Lifetime”, Britten.

How were you introduced to the sport?

Like many other women, I was introduced to Fly Fishing by a several men in my life.  I was born in Alaska, my dad was a hunting guide and my uncle owns Tikchick Narrows Lodge in Bristol Bay Alaska.  So you could say that being an angler has always been in my blood.  I was destined to have river water running through my veins.

What is it about fly fishing that “keeps you coming back”?

I just can’t get enough.  I love the serenity and the zen of being outdoors with no other distractions.  Being a critical care nurse, my day to day life can be very hectic.  While fly fishing, there are no alarms continually going off, no one’s life in my hands, I don’t have to respond to an email and there’s no service for social media.  I’m away from it all.  I’m with the ones that I want to be with and doing what I love.

Family Photo - My parents, Britten and I fishing the Skwala Hatch in Montana.

Family Photo – My parents, Britten and I fishing the Skwala Hatch in Montana.

Who were your biggest influences or mentors, male or female?

I definitely wouldn’t consider myself as a daddy’s girl.  Lord only knows I gave my parents grief growing up.  However, I’d say that my dad has been an amazing inspiration to me.  I actually helped get my dad back into fly fishing when I started in 2009.  Now we’re on the phone at least once a week chatting about our next adventure.  I also had a friend, Kurt, who took me under his wings.  He showed me the ropes and helped me develop my accurate cast.  Of course there are the many strong women of fly fishing who prove everyday that it’s not only a man’s sport; that girls can fish too.

What would you consider your home fishery and what do you find so alluring and special about it?

I live in eastern Washington state so I am very fortunate to have so many rivers to choose from.  What I consider my home fishery are the beautiful rivers in northern Idaho.  These rivers hold a special place in my heart.  It’s where I learned how to fly fish and where I caught my first cutthroat.  I feel so comfortable and safe going to these rivers alone.

What environmental challenges are faced by your fishery?

Like so many rivers this year, the low water levels, warm water and continual pressure have been hard on our local fisheries.  I’ve made it a goal to educate people on proper catch and release tactics.

Brown Trout - On a Women's Fishing Weekend on the Provo RIver in Utah - Photo taken by Tracy Moore "Montana Fly Girl"

Heather with a nice Provo River brown. Photo by Tracy “Montana Fly Girl” Moore

When you are not fishing, what are you doing?

I have this crazy goal of getting a half or full marathon in every state.  So if I’m not fishing then I’m either trail running, mountain biking or training for my next race.  I have 26 states under my belt and hope to get all 50 before I’m 40.  Throughout my travels in the US running different races, I’m also trying to find the most delicious IPA’s at a local brewery of the area.  You don’t get this amazing body drinking light beer!!!

You have the day off. What are you fishing for and where?

It all depends on the time of year.  Most of the time I’ll be fishing for trout within a 3 hour radius of Spokane, Washington.  During the fall and winter, you’ll find me chasing steelhead on the rivers of Eastern Washington.

What charitable organizations or causes do you support? Why is this important to you?

In June 2015, Spokane Women on the Fly joined forces with the Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited (SFTU) Chapter.  SWOTF is now a committee of SFTU as a part of the Women’s Initiative for Trout Unlimited.  We are the future of keeping America’s rivers cold, clean and fishable, and this is an important goal of SWOTF!  I’m very excited to be a part of the group that other committees of the women’s initiative aspire to be.

Steelhead - My first Steelhead on the Swing - Photo taken by Britten Jay

Steelhead – My first Steelhead on the Swing – Photo taken by Britten Jay

Where would you go to fish if there were zero restrictions on expense, travel, etc…? Why?

Where wouldn’t I go?  Someday I will get a grand slam.  Anywhere tropical.  I’m really not picky!!!

Please provide links to your business, blog, or favorite charities and causes.

Spokane Women on the Fly has created a large following on both Facebook and Instagram.  Our website is www.spokanewomenonthefly.com.  I can be found on Instagram and Facebook as Northwest Fly Girl.  My blog is Tales, Tangles and Tight Lines http://talestanglesandtightlines.blogspot.com/.

Some Extra Thoughts on Women and Fly Fishing

Whether it’s fly fishing, learning how to ride a mountain bike, book clubs, outdoor adventures, photography, or any activity; the power of women supporting women is pretty incredible.  I’ve witnessed this personally after starting Spokane Women on the Fly.  Everyday I’m amazed at the number of women who contact me and want to be apart of the organization. Even my mom is on board!

The idea behind SWOTF is to give the women of the Inland Northwest, whether new or experienced, an opportunity to connect with other women fly  fishers.   SWOTF is not intended to be exclusionary. With this all-women fishing group, it provides a safe, open and not intimidating avenue for gals to get “hooked” on fishing.  We come in all shapes and sizes, young or older, wise and less wise, beginner or experienced.  We’re “REEL” women have a passion for the outdoors, love to fly fish, drink beer/wine, pee in the woods and don’t allow any drama.

Perhaps one day I’ll be able to travel around the country running marathons, drinking good beer, speaking, teaching and fishing with other women anglers!!!

Spokane Women on the Fly Photo - Inaugural Trout Unlimited "Summer Suds and Cast Off" Picnic - Photo Credit Brian Palmer

Spokane Women on the Fly Photo – Inaugural Trout Unlimited “Summer Suds and Cast Off” Picnic – Photo Credit Brian Palmer


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