At what age do you teach your children to fly fish?
I I get asked this question a lot, and I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to it, and it’s highly situational.
I river fish quite a lot. For my two daughters, their ability to be strong swimmers was very important from a safety perspective. For them to go out on some adventures with me, they had to be able to swim a mile and tread water for 30 minutes. I’m a safety-first guy and being a strong swimmer is a skill that will serve them well in life.
Learn on the Lawn
As all parents know, each kid is different. Maddie was ready to go at 7 and Olivia was 8. Both kids picked up a fly rod around 6 though. We at first learned to cast in the yard. I think young ones tend to pick things up quicker. They are more conditioned to learning, and they have no bad habits to correct. This makes for some very productive casting sessions.
Well before hitting the river, I would take the kids puddle jumping. We’d hit local ponds and we’d fish for sunfish. I like putting a small popper on. This gets the excitement and juices flowing for the kids and is a great way for them to learn the patience you need in setting the hook. I’d combine this with a picnic. It’s very important to teach the kids right and part of the rite of passage in fly fishing is the obligatory lunch packed with various processed meats, jerky, chips and a variety of foods Mom would never allow in the house!
That’s it for now my fishy friends! Get your kids on the water, and teach them right…..pack it in, pack it out. If we don’t take care of mother nature, who will?