Sask. retreat offers women fishing and relaxation, without the men

Jon Fonos grew up fishing on the lake, but he always felt something was missing.

'I enjoy fishing just as much as the guys do'

A Reel Woman's Retreat participant dips her line in the water on Dore Lake, four hours North of Saskatoon. (Submitted)

Jon Fonos grew up fishing on the lake and it's become his entire life. He used to work at a fly-in camp with his father and now sells locally-caught fish at the Saskatoon Farmer's Market.

But he always felt something was missing.

"I've seen groups of men go fishing, but never groups of women," he told CBC Saskatchewan's Saskatoon Morning.

"And when you did see a woman go fishing, she was doing most of the same things she was doing at home. She was looking after the kids, she was cooking and cleaning. And where were the men? They were out fishing."

He began building a cabin and creating a business plan. The Reel Woman's Retreat was born.

'I enjoy fishing just as much as the guys do'

Two groups have participated in the retreat so far. Fonos operates his business at Dore Lake, about a four-hour drive from Saskatoon.

The groups are shuttled North to the lake, where a cabin — with a cook — awaits.

"I built it from the ground up with women in mind," said Fonos.

He said he wanted to give women an opportunity to fish and relax without the stress of taking care of everyone else.

A participant shows off their catch at the Reel Woman's Retreat on Dore Lake (Submitted)

Fonos supplies tackle and rods. Shore lunches are provided during the day, when Fonos filets fish out on the lake. The cabin cook prepares evening meals.

"I enjoy fishing just as much as the guys do," said Jessica Reimer, a past participant and avid angler.

She was pleased to be able to focus on fishing.

"Working in a corporate world during the week ... and being able to go a few hours North and enjoy that pristine beauty and that nature setting."

A few men have asked Fonos why they're not allowed to come, but he's sticking to his business plan.

"There's never been a man spend a night in the cabin — it's always just women."

Catch and release

Participants on one of Dore Lake's many beaches on the Reel Woman's Retreat (Submitted)

Participants can be as hands-on as they want.

"It's as much as you want. If you're one who wants to put the hook on your own line and bring in the fish yourself, you can," said Jessica Reimer

"But Jon can do that for you as well."

She said some women "don't want to reach in there and get it by the gills."

with files from CBC/'s Saskatoon Morning