I think all fly fishermen and women have a responsibility to pass on their passion for the sport to their children and grandchildren. Fly fishing trips with the kids or the whole family are ideal opportunities to bond with nature and each other. You will be warmed with a sense of achievement as your children, over time, catch the fever and come to appreciate the sport as you do.
The task and the teaching may not be easy and will not occur overnight. As a parent, you will have to exercise patience and understand your child’s point of view and interests. Attention spans may be short and interests will be varied. This means that, depending on age, sessions with an actual hook in the water may last only 15 minutes at the beginning. Sightings of frogs, insects and other wildlife can quickly become distractions. This is all good and do not be frustrated when this happens. After all, fly fishing is, as you know, a total experience.
Remember too that demanding teaching sessions can be overwhelming to younger children. Gentle guidance is a best approach. Tone down the classroom style instruction and focus on a hands-on experience. Let them experiment and try things on their own in their own time, under your watchful eye of course.
Prepare to make the entire experience as comfortable as possible. This means, for example, packing sufficient clothing to match changing weather, providing for insect protection, and bringing along treats, drinks and appetizing meals.
When they are ready and your child is excited to own a rod of his or her own, remember that many manufacturers offer gear specially designed for young anglers in the $100-200 range. For example, you might want to check out a combo rod and reel package with a smaller rod that features a grip shortened for smaller hands. The Echo Carbon rod is a favorite entry level fly fishing rod. Redington offers a family of fly rods designed specifically for the beginning angler.
Celebrate this milestone by taking your kids to the fly shop to pick out their first rods. My favorite spot is Minturn Anglers in Denver. Their friendly staff love working with younger budding enthusiasts who are the future of the sport. They might even spark interest in joining one of the fly fishing camps at some later date.
Patience and careful nurturing on your part is the key. The effort is an investment in your children and in the sport. The return is golden, with healthy relationships, fond memories, and shared passion for fly fishing in Colorado waters.