Fly Fishing With Kids
A few days ago I took our 2 boys out for an afternoon fly fishing trip. We had a great time at a mountain lake and even caught a few fish. They are 9 and 6 which is probably too young to have the coordination and determination to really fly fish but I've found a few tricks to keep them interested and allow them to actually catch a few fish which may help them develop a real love of fly fishing later.
Every kid is different but it's usually a good policy to simplify everything you can. For this reason we fish lakes and ponds for now. Current and wading is probably too much to put into the equation at an early age.
My boys show a lot of interest in casting but not a lot of proficiency. For now we just practice for a few short minutes before and after actually fishing. It keeps them interested but doesn't mess up actually catching fish.
When it's time to catch fish I usually cast out either a dry fly with a dropper or an indicator with nymphs dropped off of it for them. I let the indicator or dry sit still and have the kids watch it like a hawk. I reel in any extra line so that when it comes time to set the hook they can do so and then just reel. Sometimes I have to set the hook, especially for my 6 year old. They always get to reel them in though.
I find that if we keep our sessions short it works much better. Don't expect to go out and spend a day on the water. It's best to fish only as long as the kids' attention spans, which isn't generally very long these days. We do about an hour and that works great for us then we move on to something else, usually throwing rocks. It's better to keep it fun. Be ready to move on even if you haven't caught all that you know you might.
Depending on the child, kids can usually start to do most everything on their own at around 12 years old. It's a good idea to get them into a class or go with a really patient guide so that the parent isn't the bad guy if things don't always work out (this is also a good policy for significant others as well).
Get your kids out on the water as much as possible. Fishing is something they can enjoy for a lifetime, it will generally keep them out of trouble, and it will be something that you can do together for a long time to come.