All female fishing club grows to more than 450 members strong

Members of WI Women Fish enjoying ice fishing for perch on the Bay of Green Bay.
Members of WI Women Fish enjoying ice fishing for perch on the Bay of Green Bay.(WBAY)
Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 2:21 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - What started 15 years ago as a small group of women who wanted to go fishing has evolved into a fishing club with hundreds of members.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, Willow Voegtlen discovered her love for fishing at a very early age.

“My parents gave me a gift when I was like 3 or 4 and it was one of those little girl bathtub poles with magnetic fish and I stuck with it ever since, actually getting into fishing, one of our co-workers at the farm, they took me out babysitting one time and I was hooked then and I’m hooked now,” explains Voegtlen.

Attending college at UW-Madison, Willow connected with WI Women Fish, an all female group of diehard anglers.

“I came out here to Wisconsin, to meet a club of 400-plus women fishing with a huge passion in it, is really inspirational,” says Voegtlen.

“We actually have members from 20 states and two Canadian provinces, we have about 450 members total,” says Rikki Pardun, WI Women Fish Vice President.

Over the next four days, around 40 members will be on the Bay of Green Bay, ice fishing for perch.

Pardun says the club’s calendar is full year round with activities throughout the Midwest and Canada.

“We do everything from group events like this with a guide, Zach is taking us out today, and we hold classes and workshops, we have a whole bunch of instructors, so we like to have fun, but we’re really a big mentor program,” explains Pardun.

Members range in age from 18 to 86 and their fishing skills are impressive.

“I enjoy having this group of women out, as you can see from the video, they’re having a blast, I mean they’re running around, doing most of the work themselves where I really don’t have to do too much for them, they’re a very good group of women,” says Zach Burgess, owner of Why Knot Charters and Guide Service.

“Our theme for our fish camp this year was ‘They Think We’re Just Fishing’ and everyone joins it because they love fishing, but the friendships that are formed are amazing. Oh fish on,” says Pardun as another member pulls a perch through the ice.

WI Women Fish, where members catch fish and have a ball sharing their passion with each other.

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