Last weekend, I was honored to be a River Helper at the 2018 Casting for Recovery retreat at Lake Creek Lodge, in Camp Sherman, OR. It was my 6th year helping out at CFR – Oregon North.

2018 CFR |

The mission of Casting for Recovery (CFR) is “to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique retreat program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.”

Casting for Recovery hopes women find:

  • inspiration from other participants
  • find renewed energy for life
  • experience healing connections with other women and nature

Fourteen women learned to tie knots…cast…tie a few flies…and identify bugs on Friday and Saturday. Sunday is when they get to put their new-found skills to work and fish.

That’s where I come in. River Helpers show up on Sunday and are paired with one of the participants and fish for a couple of hours.

My goal as a River Helper is to share my passion of fly fishing and pass along a few tips to shorten their learning curve. And hopefully, catch a couple fish!

We were very lucky this year. The owners of Lake Creek Lodge stocked 400 fish before the retreat, hoping to improve their chance of hooking a few trout.

It worked! You could hear the screams across the small lake whenever one of the ladies hooked a trout. Their joy was shared with shouts of encouragement from the other ladies.

This is what pure JOY looks like!

CFR - Tammy with Trout |
CFR - Alicia with Trout |

Most of the time, I work with one lucky lady…a one-on-one experience. But I was lucky enough to help two women this year!

I think I was able to help with their joy when I told them to kiss their fish!

CFR - Tammy Kissing Trout |
CFR - Alicia Kissing Trout |

I am in awe of their courage and happy to share my love of fly fishing with them. I hope in the short time I was with them, I was able help in their healing process. I hope they find their own ZEN.

It just so happens October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Not only do I celebrate these 14 women, but my wife is a survivor as well. So I celebrate her journey and continue to help wherever I can. She has chosen to give back as a River Helper and leads the CFR – Southern Oregon retreat.

This is the pin she wears.

CFR Pin |

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  1. Fish mojo!
    Thank you so much for being a river helper to myself and Tammy! I was very lucky to have you help me catch those fish! I am so happy that fly brought you luck!? I’m hooked, and will be putting the skills CFR and you taught me to land a gigantic trout!

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