A couple of months ago, a co-worker of mine had suggested I get in touch with an organization that encourages women of any age to participate in outdoor activities that they do not normally get a chance to do or have tried before.
The group, called the “Outdoor Women of South Dakota (OWSD)”, has members state-wide and they've organized many outings for their members over the past several years to go on pheasant hunts as well as archery lessons and hands-on game processing and cooking tips and, of course, fishing trips.
I reached out to one of the officers and asked if they would have any interest in doing an ice fishing trip here in the Hills. Happily, they agreed. I would provide hubs, rods, bait, flashers, and heaters to any members who made the trip and that trip was this past weekend.
A total of seven women, along with a few husbands, came out for the morning trip. After getting the area on Stockade Lake set up with three hubs and a heater in each, drilling a few dozen holes, and laying out all the flashers I owned or had borrowed along with ten rigged up rods, the group showed up and I went to meet them as they got ready for the ice.
They were excited to be there and ready to learn more about ice fishing. Most had never used a flasher, so that was the first lesson. Then I demonstrated some jigging techniques for them to try. Once they'd grabbed a flasher and a rod, some chose to use maggots while others chose to give plastics a shot.
At first, most stayed in the hubs, but once I caught a few fish a little further out, they all came out and were soon hole-hopping around looking for perch and bluegills. It was very slow day as far as finding fish was concerned, but happily, everyone caught at least one fish, including one lady who'd never caught a fish in her life!
So, I was happy when she caught one nice perch and could scratch that off her list. Most tried their hands at drilling holes with the K-Drill and found it easy to use. We also enjoyed a great meal of grilled elk brats for lunch cooked by one of the husbands.
In the end, they all thanked me for helping them with the trip and for providing all the gear to help make it a successful outing. One of the officers attending, has even asked if I would be willing to put on a shore fishing trip once open water returns. Of course, I agreed.
I love doing these kinds of trips and helping to educate others on how to be successful on the ice or at the very least improve their chances. Not only is it important to get youth involved in the outdoors, but it's also important to get women involved as well, especially those who want to learn something about the outdoors they may not have tried before. It was a very rewarding experience and I look forward to the next trip with these eager ladies.