Catching More Than Fish. The Value of Fishing for Young Women

Photos credit Kaitlin Barnhart
 

I’m ecstatic when I see a young woman out fishing because I know she is gaining imperative experiences that will impact more than just her ability to reel in giant fish. This time she spends fishing can influence not only how this young woman feels about herself, but how she goes about handling the life ahead of her. Here are three of many reasons fishing is incredibly valuable for young women:

1. Fishing Brings her to Adventure

One of my  favorite moments is when I bring teens to the river in the Fall and they put on waders on for the first time. After their initial comments about how weird they look, most teens are enthralled with the magic of being able to walk in the water and the freedom that’s found with waders. The entire day of fishing is filled with new adventurous moments, where the angler has to make choices and learn from their mistakes in order to successfully trick a fish. When a young woman is challenged by adventure she learns to fight fears, overcome obstacles, and she leaves the river feeling braver and more capable of handling other areas of difficulty in her life as well.

2. Fishing Gives her Mental Rest

Studies show that when youth spend time in nature, it reduces their stress level, calms anxieties, and encourages positive thinking. While focused on matching the hatch, or netting trout, young women are distracted from dwelling on problems they are facing at school or home. This time in nature improves cognitive functioning while also allowing the teen to unplug from their chaotic world, and find a healthy coping mechanism in the sport of fishing.

3. Fishing Gives her New Perspectives

Fishing provides hands-on learning opportunities for youth, and offers them a front-seat to the nature show, which they may have only read about in books. When teens discover the beauty of the great outdoors, this new space becomes a place of value to them. Their perspectives of themselves can also be influenced by fishing, as they learn new skills and build self-esteem through successes. Developing an identity of a female angler can lead to a future full of adventure and valuable experiences.

Teenage girls receive much from time fishing in the outdoors, but the outdoors receives much from her as well. In a world full of technology and entertainment, it’s difficult to educate youth on how to care for the environment because for most, it’s a place they have not connected with and do not understand on a personal level. The more youth who are anchored in the outdoors, and find value in this great playground we all enjoy, the more future advocates we have to care for it.

If you would like to take your girls fishing and boating and don’t know exactly where to go, check this places to fish and boat map. Tap in your zipcode and find the best spots to enjoy nature, have fun and catch some fish.


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Kaitlin Barnhart

Kaitlin Barnhart

Kaitlin Barnhart is an outdoor-focused freelance writer, mental health professional, and the co-founder of The Mayfly Project, a non profit that supports children in foster care via fly fishing. She is a mother of three wild children and uses fly fishing as a tool to manage her busy life. Kaitlin is known in her community as the “Fish Lady” and tries to stay true to her name by introducing new anglers to the sport and taking kids to the river as often as she can. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University, and joined the www.takemefishing.org movement in 2018. You can find information about TMP at www.themayflyproject.com and find more of Kaitlin's work under the name @mammaflybox.