LADIES’ DAY ON THE WATER
LDWF’s Women’s Fishing Workshops Teach The Basics, Instill Confidence To Enjoy One Of Louisiana’s Favorite Pastimes
story by Rebecca Hillebrandt, LDWF Fisheries Biologist
“I grew up fishing, but my dad always did everything, so I don’t know enough to do it on my own.”
“I would love to spend time with my kids fishing as I did with my grandparents, but I don’t know enough to take them.”
“I just want to feel more confident with the basics so that I’m not dependent on others to go fishing.”
Time and time again, these phrases are given by women when asked why they don’t go fishing even though they’d really like to. In an attempt to change that, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) offers Women’s Fishing Workshops to provide women the confidence to get out on the water and be more independent while fishing.
LDWF, in conjunction with the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana (CCA) and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF), will host two eight-hour spring workshops with corresponding weekend-long summer workshops at the Fisheries Research Lab in Grand Isle. Each spring workshop is limited to 30 women, with 15 randomly selected to attend the Grand Isle trip. All of the workshops are free of charge and open to women 18 years of age or older.
LDWF Biologist Manager Heather David said these workshops are an excellent opportunity for women interested in the outdoors to network and perfect their craft.
“Recreational fishing is a male-dominated sport,’’ David said. “But our women’s license sales are starting to increase. I think if you give female anglers more confidence and more training, they will be more prone to buy a license, get out there and fish on their own and introduce their children to fishing.’’
The spring workshops focus on the basics by covering skills like how to use a rod and reel and the baits and lines to use in different fishing situations.
“We go through everything one on one,’’ David said. “The ladies even prep their new rod and reel combo that they get to bring home.’’
Participants get hands-on experience fishing for bream and other pond species at each workshop.
The day winds down with fish cleaning lessons, fish identification of common Louisiana species and a boating safety discussion with an LDWF Enforcement agent.
In the days following the event, 15 of the spring workshop participants are randomly selected to attend a weekend-long event at the Fisheries Research Lab in Grand Isle where they can put their newly learned skills to work. This trip includes two nights of fishing under the lights, a full day out on the water inshore and offshore fishing (weather permitting), and the final morning learning to throw a cast net, trailering and cleaning the weekend’s catch.
Approximately 250 women have participated in these workshops since the program began in 2014. It has recently expanded to working with partner organizations to offer more opportunities to learn new skills and continue to build confidence in other areas such as kayak fishing trips in coastal Louisiana.
David said many ladies also have developed new friendships since attending the workshops.
“It’s a good community for the ladies to have,’’ David said. “They come from all parts of the state so they’re getting to hear about other people’s fishing experiences and even join them. A lot of these ladies have formed friendships that they probably would not have otherwise.”
For more information, contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to
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