Jeff Perin guided a trip that fished Central Oregon’s finest waters.
Jeff Perin guided a trip that fished Central Oregon’s finest waters.
Thirty-two women from across the country came to Sisters last month to go fly fishing.

This was no ordinary fishing trip - this was the 20th anniversary of the International Women's Fly Fisher's group, which was originated in San Francisco in 1996 by a remarkable woman named Fanny Krieger who, even at 84 years old, was in attendance in Sisters and fished four days in a row despite the unseasonably cool weather.

Mary Ann Dozer and Tina Perin from Sisters organized the event with the help of current IWFF President Rebecca Blair of California starting back in January. The hope was to attract 12 women to come out to Central Oregon and enjoy a week of fishing.

Word spread that this event was going to be held in a beautiful place with a lot of varied fishing opportunities, and quickly the group grew from 12 to 32 participants.

Many of the women who attended the rendezvous came from California and Washington. However, ladies from many other states, including a neurosurgeon who enjoys fishing with the group, came all the way from North Carolina, where one of the next rendezvous will be held near Asheville.

The week began with most of the ladies checking in to lodging at Black Butte Ranch (BBR). That same evening, The Fly Fisher's Place, led by owners Jeff and Tina Perin, hosted a party for the group, only eclipsed by the anticipation of the fishing to come. Most of the women had never been to Central Oregon before and didn't know what to expect, so Jeff Perin offered an overview and description of the area's fisheries and how best to approach them.

Many of the prior events were held in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, where it is very common to be able to fish from the moving drift boat to trout that are much easier to catch on flies called attractors. It was different for the ladies to come to Oregon, where it is mandatory to get out of the drift boat and wade on the Lower Deschutes, not to mention that Central Oregon trout-fishing usually presents more technical aspects than in the Rockies.

Over the course of four days, the group participated in roughly 31 guided trips, and some of the women fished on their own on the Middle Deschutes and Metolius Rivers or enjoyed classes held at Black Butte Ranch.

Mary Ann Dozer from Sisters, and Mia Sheppard, a guide from Maupin, offered spey casting classes one afternoon on the lake at BBR.

"We kept hearing from the group the great thing about this rendezvous was within an hour or so from Sisters the ladies were guided to the Lower Deschutes, the McKenzie, the Fall River, Crooked River and East Lake," Jeff Perin noted. "Fishing was above average despite rain in many of the venues and even a few snowflakes falling at East Lake. The fact that Sisters has so much fishing within an hour or so of town makes this a rare and unique place."

Midway through the event the group held a potluck at Black Butte Ranch and invited the Wild Women of the Water from Bend to join the fun and tell fishing stories over pasta, wine and desserts. Laughter was common and friendships were sealed over and over again.

The end of the week came too soon for most, with the fourth and final day of fishing on Saturday followed by a pizza party at the Bistro on the lake at BBR. Awards were given for the biggest fish and the smallest fish, the most fish and the best fish story. While there were a lot of good stories, none topped the one from a participant who fell in the Deschutes and decided to take off all of her clothes and dry out in the drift boat for a bit.

What happens on the river, stays on the river.

"It is a sure sign of a successful week when everyone raved about the fishing, loved all of the guides and left talking about making plans for a return visit to Sisters," Perin said. "From our front, it was a true success and a lot of fun to be a part of an event like this."

For more information on the International Women's Fly Fishers check out www. internationalwomenflyfishers.com.