Last weekend, I was participated in the 2023 Casting for Recovery Oregon North retreat at Lake Creek Lodge, in Camp Sherman, OR. While I’ve been a River Helper in previous years, 15 happened to arrive, so I volunteered to be the photographer for the day.

2023 CFR North Participants & Riverhelpers |

If you’d like to support another retreat similar to this, there’s an opportunity at the bottom of this post.

Casting for Recovery (CfR) is a retreat designed to help women in various stages of breast cancer enrich their lives through fly fishing. 

About CfR

“…provides healing outdoor retreats for women with breast cancer, at no cost to the participants. CfR’s retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life, and experience healing connections with other women and nature. The retreats are open to women with breast cancer of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery. For over 25 years, women from all walks of life have benefitted from CfR’s inspiring program model.”

Casting for Recovery website

CfR’s mission is:

“…to enhance the lives of women with breast cancer by connecting them to each other and nature through the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.”

Casting for Recovery website

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

River Helpers show up on Sunday and are paired with one Participant, helping them fly fish for a couple of hours.

After breakfast, Participants don their waders…

…get their rods ready…

…and head to the pond to fish for the first time. Here are a few Participants with their River Helpers.

And the rest of the Participants with their River Helpers.

The owners of Lake Creek Lodge stocked 750 fish before the retreat, hoping to improve their chance of hooking a few trout.

I took a picture of the pond the previous day.

2023 CFR Oregon North - Lake Creek Lodge Pond |

And here are the women scattered around the pond.

2023 CFR Oregon North - Women Fishing on Pond |

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!

And more joy…

This is Shawna putting her new found knot tying skills to work on the pond.

2023 CFR Oregon North - knot tying on the pond |

Here are a few more images from the pond.

This is what happens when bending over a little too far. Yes, Judy’s hat is falling off in the left image and full of water on the right side!

And one bad step.

2023 CFR Oregon North - one step too far |

But worth getting wet!

Done for the day.

2023 CFR Oregon - done for the day |

These are amazing women, brave enough to leave their homes for a weekend, came together to share and learn from each other. Their support for each other was visible. They also learned to fly fish…but the retreat really isn’t about the fishing. It’s an excuse to get together.

2023 CFR Oregon North - great way to end the day |

If you or someone you know might be interested in attending one of these retreats, please go to the Casting for Recovery WEBSITE.

If this Casting for Recovery post resonates with you and you’d like to help fund a future retreat, I’ve started a Gofundme page with a goal of $15,000 which would fund most of one Oregon South retreat where my wife is the Program Coordinator and Retreat Leader. Just click the button below and you’ll be taken to the proper page.

Here are images of the volunteer staff responsible for the retreat weekend.

Lastly, here are other posts about CfR you’ll find on RiverKeeper Flies.

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. I can’t wipe the smile off my own face. Hats off to Karen and you for putting smiles on all these wonderful women!

  2. John, what a great way to start my morning to see your photos and all those smiles. Thank you to all for what you do for these ladies. And very best wishes for health and happiness to the survivors and their families.

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