Every fly-fishing parent has a dream—a dream that their children will follow their footsteps down that muddy trail to the river and take up fly fishing. In another age, it was very likely that if you fly fished and shared a love of the outdoors with your kids, they would follow suit.
Today, with competition from video games, the Internet, and the general urbanization of our culture, it’s becoming a rarity. Most kids today would rather spend their time adding friends on Facebook than tying flies or looking under rocks for stoneflies, but here’s how you can turn it around.
First, start your kids early—and don’t start with fly fishing. The idea is to first get them interested in the fish. How they catch them is not important here, so don’t be a purist with four- and five-year-old kids. A carton of worms and a bobber is a fine way to get started fishing—that’s how most of us started anyway, right?
Once they learn the thrill of anticipation, and the joy of success, they’ll up the ante and ask for a fly rod. Just make sure they see you fly fishing from time to time and the table is set.
When they do start fly fishing, don’t just unload your old tackle on them. Children are small, but that doesn’t mean they are second-class citizens. When they catch a sunfish by themselves they feel a sense of accomplishment—and pride of ownership of legitimate fly tackle not only encourages them to become more familiar and proficient with the tackle, it also gives them the independence they need to succeed outdoors. Teach a kid to fly fish.