|Maddie getting her line wet|
I just returned from a family vacation at Crane Prairie reservoir just out of Bend Oregon with my wife, daughter, son, parents and two nephews. The kids range from almost 5 years old to 10 years old. The kids wanted to go fishing so much that I got little relaxation time in my favorite camp chair, with a cold beer and a good snack. But even though I was exhausted at times, I still took them out. It was all worth it. The kids caught several of Crane’s large rainbows between 16 and 22 inches. Towards the end of our trip, my youngest nephew Ethan (not quite 5 years old yet) caught a 28 ½” 10 lb Crane Bow! It was one of the largest trout I had handled there in my 27 years of fishing Crane. The excitement of this huge trout surged like electricity through the kids. We adults were excited, but the kids, well I wish I could bottle that excitement.
|Ethan will never forget this one! Nor will I for that matter...|
So I would like to share some of my experiences teaching kids and parents about fishing. Sometimes it is hard for us that love to fly fish to want to do anything but fly fish. But, I have found that to keep kids interested you need to make sure they are having fun. Sometimes this means we have to set the fly rods aside and break out the old Zebco spin cast and drown some worms. I know that may not sit well with some of you, but think back to your earliest memories of fishing, and most likely, this is how you got started.
|Austin loves it out there|
When teaching kids to fly fish, I have found the best way is to start them out is lake fishing for trout, bass or panfish. The nice thing about a lake is that it is open and makes for easy casting. When fishing the fly rod I try to choose locations where good dry fly or popper action is almost a sure thing. Watching a 12” trout inhale a dry is a great way to show a kid why they should set down the old Zebco 202 and pick up the fly rod. In most situations I place the cast for them or help them cast. Then, I hand the rod over to them to fish. This cuts out the frustration. If fishing gets tough and I can see their interest start to wander, I stretch the line out behind the boat and start trolling. Trolling a fly rod is a great way for kids to use a fly rod with little complications. They can play in the boat, play with bugs, watch birds, etc… while the rods fish for them.
|Nice one Maddie!|
The more they see how successful a fly rod can be, the more they will want to do it! The goal is to get them hooked on fishing. The interest in fly fishing will come with exposure. Don’t force them or they will lose all interest. Work them into it gradually and they will get HOOKED!
|Colton on the net|
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