Fly fishing is a fun, educational and exciting activity that gives you a chance to bond with your kids and get them outside for a little fresh air and sunshine. Many parents – even those who fly fish themselves – are under the mistaken impression that fly fishing is too difficult for youngsters, but if your child is interested and willing to take the time to learn the necessary skills, even children of 8 or 9 can learn to whip flies through the air.
But if you want your kiddo to have a good time and enjoy him or herself, you’ll need to do everything possible to help them actually catch fish. Otherwise, they may become frustrated with the activity and lose interest in fly fishing altogether. Just keep the following four tips in mind, try to keep a positive attitude and your kids will have a good chance of catching a few fish.
Pick a rod of the correct size and power.
Instead of handing your child an adult-sized fly rod, which is sure to be too heavy and difficult for your son or daughter to control, set him or her up with a 7- to 8-foot-long, medium-action rod. A rod of this size will allow them to get familiar with the feel of the rod loading and work well with their smaller frame. Don’t spend a fortune on your child’s first rod, as they’ll outgrow it relatively quickly, but do try to obtain a rod of reasonable quality.
Fish in good locations with plenty of access and healthy fish populations.
You may like to trek several miles up pristine mountain streams to fish, but you’ll want to avoid this impulse when teaching your kids to fish. Instead, pick a place that is wide open and easy to access, with plenty of good casting lanes. This will not only help your child avoid snagging trees and other obstacles and give them a better chance of getting bites.
Target species that are easy for your kids to catch.
Wary brown trout may swim through your dreams, but you’ll want to target easily caught fish when heading out for your youngsters first few trips. You’ll want to concentrate on species like bluegill, shell crackers and other panfish, but farmed rainbow trout are sometimes aggressive enough to represent good quarry for novices.
Use the most productive flies possible.
While you may enjoy using obscure or homemade flies to tempt trout, you’ll want to stick with your most reliable flies when introducing your kids to the sport. Dry flies are generally the better suited for new fly fishers, as minnow-mimicking flies often require more complicated and difficult retrieves. You’ll also want to stick to the most productive colors and patterns (as always, you want to match the hatch when possible).
Fly fishing isn’t something your kids will learn overnight, but it is certainly a worthwhile activity that they will enjoy while perfecting their technique. Just be sure to keep a positive attitude, provide them with plenty of encouragement and do everything you can to help them get as many bites as possible.