Fishing with our children is something we dream about someday doing. Passing down the love for the outdoors and fishing to the next generation. We hope to foster a deeper appreciation for nature and outdoor activities. Its also nice to have a little sidekick go along with you on your outdoor adventures.
Choosing the right age and time
First, there is no “great” or “perfect” time to take your kids out for their first fishing trip. Your first trip with them, most likely, will be a complete mess, but that’s not going to stop us as parents from trying. It is kind of like most things with kids, it will be hard but worth it…well hopefully!
So what is the best age to take my kid fishing? It will be different for each kid, you will want to consider their attention span and physical abilities. The hooks are sharp! The last thing you want is for a chubby Chernobyl #8 to get stuck in little Sammy’s neck OR YOURS! Take them out in the backyard with some yarn first, get the feel for casting, then throw a fly on.
We want to be sure we are creating a positive and memorable first experience. Generally, we recommend to wait until your child is around 8 to 10 years old. This is usually when they have developed the necessary coordination and concentration skills to handle a fishing rod and follow instructions.
Selecting the right time of year is also vital to a successful first trip. Early to mid Summer when fishing is best, weather is mild, and natural beauty is abundant, can provide the ideal backdrop for your child’s first fly fishing adventure.
Selecting the right gear for your little one will be crucial to a successful first fly fishing trip. First, we recommend the Orvis PractiCaster. It is a great and safe way to get kids interested and learn how to cast. It is short and compact, made for indoor use so it won’t break any of mom’s or grandma’s precious moments.
The best kid’s fly rod, in our opinion, is the ECHO Gecko kit. It comes in 7’9″ 5wt for trout and 7’4″ 4 wt for panfish, this shorter length makes it easier for little ones to manage. If you grab the kit it comes with the rod, reel, line, leader, backing and even a rod tube that everything fits in. Done!
For kid’s waders, you will want to check out Orvis Kid’s Clearwater waders. They come in small, medium, and large. For wading boots, Redding Crosswater Youth Boots are great, they are lightweight and have sticky rubber soles.
Then there are the other items you will want to consider including a life jacket, a pack, their own fly box, etc. Get them involved and let them pick out some of their own gear, it will help build the excitement! Let them pick out some stickers to put on their new fly case, they will love it!
Safety Tips & Choosing the right Spots
Before even heading to the river, it would help to go over a few safety tips with your little one and even discuss a safety plan should anything come up. Prepping your child and discussing step by step what is going to happen helps. When kids feel prepared and understand the flow of a situation, they’ll be less likely to be scared or act out. For example, wearing a life jacket is not fun for some so preparing them to wear it ahead of time could help.
If you are wade fishing you will want to be sure you head to a spot that has very easy access and easy wading, duh right? If you are heading out on the boat, be sure to go over some basic boat safety tips and choose a section of the river that is short and calm. No need to head out for 8 hours for their first fishing trip remember they have a short attention span and you want this to be fun not feel like a chore!
Making learning fun and engaging
Make it fun! The goal is for them to want to fly fish again. So when you have them using the PractiCaster make it a game or challenge. Throw some hula hoops on the ground and put some felt fish or print off some trout photos from the good ole’ internet and have them practice, offer goldfish or Swedish fish as a reward, get creative, and have fun with them!
When you head out to the river, it shouldn’t be solely about fly fishing. It is about getting them outside, in nature, and learning to appreciate the beauty we have access to. Have them go on a nature scavenger hunt, maybe that would even free up some time for you to get a few casts in. Take breaks often to enjoy snacks, a picnic, and just relish in being outdoors with your kid.
Fly Fishing with kids is an incredible opportunity to introduce them to one of your favorite activities. And how cool is it that we get a chance to teach our kids how to fish? It is like falling in love with fly fishing all over again through their eyes. Enjoy the process, and try your best to remove any pressure or stress you may feel about it. HAVE FUN!