Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

Encouraging children to fly fish

Getting children started in fly fishing can be difficult if there is no one around to provide the instruction and the guidance, plus take them fishing.

About 25 years ago I was fishing the Credit River, below a waterfall where it runs through a park. There was a small, stone stairway down to the water that visitors could use to see the base of the falls and the plunge pool. A family came down composed of mother, father, older girl and younger boy. The adults and the boy took note of me fishing then ignored me, but the girl was transfixed. She just watched the fly line cast the entire time her family was down at the bottom of the stairway. She practically had to be dragged back up as the family left. It was obvious that she found fly fishing fascinating and I always wondered if she ever had a chance to actually try it.

Recently I received an email from a mother discussing how her son has become interested in fly fishing. Her email made me think of that girl once more. Think how we all got our start in fly fishing and we were probably introduced to it by a parent, family member or a friend. Very few of us just wade in and start up on our own, completely cold with no support.

Without a mentor of some description, it's hard to get started and even harder to keep going. Children who want to get into fly fishing face an uphill challenge when there's no one around having the necessary experience to help them out.

Obviously hiring a certified instructor such as myself, would help to get things started on the right track. After the session, how is the momentum maintained?

Docks can be a great source of panfish fun, provided there's room and not a lot of traffic. We wouldn't want someone getting hooked on a backcast. If there's someone to help lookout for others, casting small wet flies to sunfish can certainly fill an afternoon with fun.

Our fly fishing clubs could step up with kid days. This is done with regular fishing so there isn't any particular reason why it can't be done with fly fishing as well. A parent could also approach a club to see if someone was willing to help out.

Whatever we choose to do, kids need more of a helping hand to get going in fly fishing, so the in the sport should be willing to help our youth stay interested and involved with fly fishing.