2008 Rendezvous at Mt. Shasta – Fifth Year Anniversary

By Mary Nishioka; Peninsula Fly Fishers, Shasta Mayflies, San Jose Fly Casters, Golden West Women FlyFishers, Golden Gate Angling Club, International Women Fly Fishers, Federation of Fly Fishers

The Mt. Shasta Rendezvous participants celebrated the fifth year anniversary at the Mt Shasta Ranch B&B in glorious fashion! It came complete with multiple fish for nearly all 21 participants, a trout plant (who new?) for everyone, a fabulous double haul casting clinic for those wanting to perfect this skill, and “Sangria by Susan” at the Saturday evening party — always a popular event.  This year’s organizers, Rebecca Blair and Susan Baer, were applauded and lauded and deserve all accolades for a spectacular event.

The first Mt. Shasta Rendezvous was organized by Fanny Krieger, Pat Magnuson, and Joyce Silva with the assistance of a local club, the Shasta Mayflies. Since then, subsequent organizers have expanded upon the original Rendezvous concept, adding their own expertise and creative ideas. The group is obviously doing something right as there are multiple repeat participants and the event is virtually sold out each year. This learning from experience and diversity is what makes each Rendezvous distinctly different from the prior one.

One of the first things that you notice on arrival at the Rendezvous is the diverse mix of women. For this event women typically come from three different states and represent more than a half a dozen local clubs. Some are beginners, and have never been to a fishing event, and some are veteran anglers. You see old friends and start meeting new friends right away.  This focus on fishing and fun opens us up and we all get very social, very quickly. Add food, wine, chocolate and several friendly dogs and we're off to a great weekend.  As a new participant, I asked several women what they most enjoyed about the Mt Shasta Rendezvous. The common thread over the past five years is the wonderful camaraderie they feel.  

Thursday night – The Welcoming Party


The weekend commenced Thursday night with a potluck organized by Susan and held at Judith Brown's unique house in the woods near Shasta City, only five minutes from our B&B. The house is a cottage designed and built by a Buddhist monk/architect which is half built back into the hillside and looks down on a creek.  We're talking total charm.

Following the dinner, we went back to the Shasta Ranch for a presentation by Bob Grace of the Ted Fay Fly Shop located in nearby Dunsmuir.  He shared information on where to fish and the best ways to fish all of the available water. Then Vince Cloward, Executive Directors of the Upper Sacramento River Exchange shared his experiences with the Upper Sac clean up after the toxic spill in 1991. During the presentation, two of the attendees questioned him on where to find and catch the McCloud River redband trout which they needed to complete the California Heritage Trout Challenge. He told, they went, they caught. Congratulations to both Glenda Smith and Tina Viera who are another step closer to completing the Challenge.

The evening ended with distribution of clever name badges compliments of Pamela Anderson and gift bags complete with fishing “goodies” thanks to the efforts of Rachael Andras, as well as a commemorative potted trout plant from Tina and Glenda.  What a unique gift! Who knew trout were both aquatic and herbautic? 

Friday – A Fishing  Day!

Friday was a fishing day and we made the most of it with people fishing the Upper Sacramento, the famous McCloud, Hat Creek, Squaw Creek, etc. etc. etc.  We covered the water. 

My story: I told my guide, Chuck Volckhausen, I wanted to fish like a guide, not a client, and he took me at my word.  We covered a long section of the Upper Sac starting at noon and ending at about 8:30pm.  We fished hopper, dropper, dropper and two dries hitting each (and I mean every each and every one of them) pockets, 3 - 5 casts and catching fish in almost all of them, including an 18" beauty out of a deep pool. Chuck had me climbing up and down cliffs and wading upstream through high, fast water. I can categorically and emphatically say that we fished our beat thoroughly. He really knows the river and took wonderful care of me - I had a fantastic time.                                                 

But things happen. We were hiking the three miles on railroad tracks back to my car when we heard a train coming and had to run a short distance to get to a wide spot so there was room for the train to pass. The train went by and by and by… for a long time. Then it stopped and started up and stopped again.  We commenced hiking alongside it - which wasn’t always easy as there wasn’t much room – until we got close to my car which was parked on the other side of the train tracks. I told Chuck to go ahead as I wanted to make a pit stop and would catch up.  Just as I was buckling up again, the train engineer walked past.  One, that could have been embarrassing but two, he should have been on the train. 

I caught up with Chuck who said that the power was out on the train and we were stuck for several hours or until rescued.  He called a few friends but they either weren't home or weren't in condition to drive. (Did I mention that Chuck is in his 20's which means his friends are as well?) We climbed over the train to gather the stuff (rods, reels, clothes) that we didn't want to leave all night, climbed back over the train and then hiked up the hill to the freeway off-ramp where Rebecca was kind enough to come and rescue us. It’s not typically a co-organizer responsibility, but she came through for us.

 Saturday Morning - An Opportunity to Acquire and/or Enhance a Fishing Skill

In the morning Rachel Andras and Vanessa Downs taught a wonderful double haul class on the lawns in front of the Ranch which for many participants was the highlight of the event.  Rachel and Vanessa, both guides and casting instructors, did a team teaching/coaching session that was tailored for all skill levels. As for me, I have no sense of rhythm, but even I can now say that I can double haul.


Saturday Afternoon – Free Time to Fish, Shop or just Explore the area

Some women fished, some napped, some hit local fly shops, and as for Rebecca and I?  Well, after envying a necklace purchased by another attendee in Shasta City, we did some serious damage to our pocketbooks when we visited a local jewelry/gem shop.  Ah well, it’s all about supporting the local economy, right?  We did our share!

Saturday night – Time to Celebrate

Saturday night was our last dinner and we celebrated the Mt. Shasta fifth year anniversary as well as the 30 year anniversary of the Mt Shasta Ranch B&B under the current ownership, Bill and Mary Larsen.  We presented Bill with a beautiful trout plaque made by IWFF member and artist, Mary Kay Jenkins. We also capped off Saturday night with a slide show, which was truly a group effort. Organized by Judith and Rebecca, with equipment loaned by Reb’s husband Bill, and put together by Tina and Glenda, we viewed everyone’s pictures for the event. (And a shout out to the inventor of the digital camera!)  Several women said that this look-back opportunity was the best part of the weekend as they got to see their own and everyone else's pictures and it allowed them to share in everyone's adventures.

Sunday Morning – Wrap up and depart

Sunday morning was our final breakfast and wrap-up session. Participants shared their favorite moments.  Nancy Leavens most enjoyed scrambling over rocks in tiny creeks and catching fish on Guide Vanessa's 00 wt rod…Ruth Ann Tsukuda was thrilled with landing an 8" rainbow on her third cast on the first day she fished.  It was an omen of more good things to come…Susan Bostwick most enjoyed catching fish in three different venues; creek, river, lake.  Judy Brandi liked float tubing in the lake…Coral Ann Cory said she enjoyed the good times, the conversation, the pool games (be afraid of Cheryl Bell, she comes with her own custom pool cue), and all of the new friends.  For me, it was a special treat to be able to share and compare Argentina fishing experiences with Diane Whitehouse.

When I asked the group “What one thing stands out that you are taking away from the event?” the double haul class from Rachel and Vanessa was the big winner. Those of us who took class came away with a genuine sense of accomplishment and a confidence that we really improved our fishing skills.  Thank you again, ladies.

Several of us had unexpected challenges and accomplishments. Elaine Almquist broke her 5 year Mt. Shasta Rendezvous skunk…While fishing, Tina and Glenda met a teenage girl curious about fly fishing. Tina gave her a quick lesson and then beamed maternally when she caught her first fish on a fly. The rain shower on Saturday morning was unexpected for many of us who knew the typically warm and dry weather for that area. Ever the organizer, Rebecca had included “bring a rain jacket on the trip-list” and many of us just tossed ours in, not thinking we would need it. (She ended up being the only person without hers.) My motto: always bring the rain jacket and rain pants - if nothing else, it prevents it from raining.  Wendy Parfrey, a new participant, said the most unexpected moment was sharing so many varied life experiences with so many interesting women, and Taylor Gehweiler, a repeat participant, felt re-inspired by all of us and our shared adventures.  And we were all in awe of Pam Anderson and her basket of maintenance products. Well done, Pam!

Next Year, Same Time (of Year), Same Place!

This is an event where IWFF has had no challenges in getting organizers – each year, new women step up during the closing recap session as volunteers for next year's event. During the session, feedback (positive and negative) from participants is given to assist next year's organizers with their planning. This is also why the event has become so popular and well-organized. In 2009, the co-organizers will be Chrissie Clapp, Elaine Almquist, Susan Bostwick, and Judy Brandi.  Everyone agrees – The Mt. Shasta Rendezvous just gets better every year!

Note from Judith Brown – IWFF Rendezvous Coordinator

IWFF is looking for women interested in hosting a Rendezvous in your part of the world, where ever that is.  And IWFF will help you organize, communicate, and facilitate. At this year's Mt. Shasta Rendezvous, award winning documentarian and IWFF angler, Barbara Klutinis, filmed many of the events to develop a “how to” DVD for future Rendezvous.  Judith hopes that this article and upcoming DVD will inspire you to host your own rendezvous.  If you hold it - we will come!

For more Mt. Shasta Rendevzous pictures please click http://community.webshots.com/album/564140436KWqtYu