BOZEMAN — Passion and desire are what inspired Sue Kerver to get women, and women veterans, into the water and start fly fishing more. She founded Two Gals and a Boat, a way to teach women about fly fishing.
“I've had a lot of women approaching me, getting really excited about getting into fly fishing,” said Kerver.
As a Coast Guard veteran she has a passion for the water but often found herself being the only woman in many classes.
“I was often the only female angler in those programs,” said Kerver.
According to the Outdoor Foundation, across the United States only 36% of women participate in fishing.
“There's a lot of barriers involved and I think the biggest barrier really is fear, and I think that fear comes from not knowing what to expect,” said Kerver.
One future student and Air Force Veteran seeks to grow her outdoor skills.
“I've done different kinds of fishing, but I've never really fly-fished,” said Donna Andresassi.
Tapping into a smaller but growing community.
“Sue is a veteran, I'm a veteran. I hope we get a lot of veteran women,” Andresassi said.
According to the VA, around 8,000 women veterans currently call Montana home. That number is expected to hit a little over 9,000 around 2025 and is expected to hit 10,000 women veterans around the year 2035.
“The program is built on the fundamentals, and like I said, the ability to sit with other women and build a tribe over the course of a 10 month period,” Kerver said.
Expanding on the fundamentals and building a community among women and women-veterans with a passion for fishing.
“Encourage, educate and empower women to get together and fish in our beautiful streams and rivers,” said Kerver.
Kerver’s goal is to break away the fear to help women gain a feeling of empowerment on the water.
“When you empower a woman to do great things, maybe in a space where she is uncertain that she has that fear, you've just opened up a world of opportunity, and she will take those skills and translate them and be able to do amazing things,” she said.
Classes with Two Gals and a Boat begin March 30th, and spots are limited if you are interested in joining. You can find more information here: https://twogalsandaboat.com