There is no easy road to raising kids in this day and age especially when it comes to raising them with an appreciation for the outdoors and a passion for fly fishing. Rachel Andras has spent decades working in fly shops, running fish camps for families, guiding in Southern Oregon and all while raising her own family and juggling sports schedules and busy social calendars.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Rachel and ask her how she does all of these things with such positive energy and passion for the sport and her family.
How do you balance fishing in your life… with a husband as a guide, fishing as a personal passion?
I hope to offer encouragement for those guides who want to start families and continue to pursue their passion of being on the water. You can do both! You can be a Mom/Dad AND a flyfishing AND a Health Coach…. etc. There is no need to put a ceiling on ourselves.
Being a mom is not easy, being a mom that is married to a full-time fishing guide is even harder, and being a mom WHO LOVES to fish married to a fishing guide might be the hardest…. I feel so much gratitude in knowing Jim and I understand each other. We love to fish together, with friends, clients, and also alone. We know we always come back home better- more grounded and kind to the rest of our family. Jim and I also understand how some days last longer than expected. With all the flyfishing travel & schools, and guiding we have done these last (28+-yikes!) years we understand the special relationships and responsibilities we both have with the work we do. It is wonderful work, hard work, and meaningful work, and we are grateful for it all. The good news about the parenting aspect is that we both understand that too. Jim is very engaged and a wonderful Papa to the kids. Again, I am very grateful for it all. I think it is important everyone understands life is a hot mess too. We are committed to each other and to our family. My message is that we all need to expect life to be hard, no one ever is promised easy. You can create the life you desire you just have to get good at getting up because you will be knocked down many times.
You have pretty fishy kids… do they enjoy fishing or is fishing something mom and dad do and then they just do with them when they get brought along?
We started out by just bringing them with us so we could go fishing. We would bribe with Dairy queen some days. We have had seasons where only one kid was better than both in the boat. We also encourage them to notice other things outdoors too… bald eagles, agate hunting, taking turns rowing, singing goofy songs about snacks, you know. :) Our son James has just recently been distracted by basketball and friends and sometimes gripes about going fishing. He is 14 now so it is expected. But he loves asking Jim about his guide day every night, planning camping fishing trips together, and does dream of going fishing in Bolivia and Alaska one day.
As a mom, what responsibility do you feel for getting your kids out on the water or outdoors?
We chose to live in a place where we could ‘do life’ and go fishing for a few hours if that is all we have that week. We take them to community meetings to protect Wild Steelhead to show them it is important to protect their waters. They see Jim cleaning up the river on his days off, working with ODFW on stream projects, speaking to classes, and see us as Native Fish society river stewards. We know they are watching our every move - how we choose to react - shoot, they sure don’t seem to listen like we wish but we know they are watching us do important work. My goal is to encourage their adventurous spirit, be functioning, compassionate community members, fall in love with learning and growing, and being a kind human. Yes being in nature does all of this.
Do you take the kids out on your own fishing or is it something that you do as a family?
We call it quality family time. Sometimes there are micro moments of greatness but reality is there is a lot of arguing and craziness….but we truly are better outside.
Are there days you just need to go fishing on your own or do you feel guilty leaving the kids at home?
No more guilt. We all come back better. They go plenty of times so I feel balanced and also try to understand where they are in life too.
Do your kids realize how good they have it when it comes to access and opportunity to fish?
Hell bells NO! But have faith they will one day. Fingers crossed.
Do your kids have any friends that fish?
We have a family we adore that we go camping with every summer. We camp, swim, fish, and kayak, and paddleboard together. It is so fun to see them bonding on the water. I love watching their confidence grow each summer in who they are a humans.
Best tips for getting kids “into fishing”?
Be chill but safe. Take sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, towels for forts in the boat, snacks, wear waders, drawing tools, and no expectations of the day.
What does fishing provide kids that Organized sports or other more traditional activities don’t?
So many sports offer many of the same things but I believe fishing is a lifelong activity. One can have micro moments with ourselves yet still be in a social setting too. It is the best of both worlds. We slow down and notice the NOW…. the present. So many opportunities to listen, move, and breathe. After our town went through the Almeda Fire I knew we needed to get to the river. So I loaded up and went to my favorite walk-in spot. We stood together in the water and talked about how the anxious feelings we will continue to have after evacuating, etc will pass through us at times - like the water running by.. we will feel them. Then they will be gone and we will be ok. The river can teach us so much if we pay attention.
Rachel Andras @andrasoutfitters @flyfishing4health