By Anthony A. Mestas The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.
Sharon Hanson and Sharon Lance ventured knee-high into the cool, crisp Arkansas River as it flowed swiftly Saturday morning at the foot of the Pueblo Dam.
The sun gave just enough warmth for comfort along the river's frozen banks as the two Sharons prepared to participate as the only women's team in the fourth annual Frostbite Fish-off, sponsored by Pueblo's Chapter 509 Southern Colorado Greenback of Trout Unlimited.
A few minutes before their foot plunge, Hanson, of Trinidad, and Lance, of Centennial, were busy untangling a fly fishing line.
"We are the only women's team out here today and I think the first one ever in this event," Hanson said, holding a line with a net strapped over her shoulder.
Hanson said last year she watched her husband in the event and decided that it looked fun.
"My goal for this year was to have a women's team and Sharon was silly enough to agree to fish with me," Hanson said with a laugh.
Lance, who has been fly fishing for 20 years and is heavily involved with Trout Unlimited, guided Hanson into the shallow river to find a perfect fishing hole.
"It's not going well so far out here so we are going to go fish where that guy is fishing," Lance said, pointing to a young man casting his line down the river.
"We are going to go take him out," Hanson added with a grin.
Lance was teaching her partner how to nymph fish, a form of fly fishing.
Their team, "Nympho- Matics," was one of 18 teams competing in the event.
The event raises funds to help mitigate areas along the Arkansas River in Pueblo.
Ben Wurster, president of the Chapter 509 Southern Colorado Greenback of Trout Unlimited, said the group donated $29,000 to Pueblo that went into the river erosion mitigation project.
"It's been an incredible morning. I am thankful to all the people that help put this all together," Wurster said.