3 Tips for Fly-Fishing with Kids

Written By: Jim Litchfield, Reno Fly Shop

One rod, a few flies and snacks are all that you may need.
All photos by Reno Fly Shop

Customers in our shop often ask how old a child needs to be before they can begin fly-fishing, and my answer is always the same: if your kid can walk on their own, they’re ready to go with you. There’s no need to try explaining the nuances to them; they’re just going to be excited about being outside with bugs, water, sun, and the chance of catching a slippery, wiggly fish. And that’s nice, because it means you don’t need vast experience of your own to enjoy the day, just a basic understanding of gear, knots, and casting. I taught my sons how to fish, and I suggest prioritizing the following three things to help guarantee a great time on the water with kids: 

Kids remember the smallest details forever. You can spark a lifelong passion in a single day.

1. Have Fun

There is something special about water that makes kids get excited. Embrace this excitement and let them dictate the pace and the direction the day takes. It can be as much fun to turn over rocks and find bugs as it is to have them wading and casting right away. Keep the directions simple, and you will keep their attention. Kids are highly intuitive and perceptive, and they’ll pick up on the littlest details. If you have a smile on your face and wonder in your voice, you will have those echoed right back.

2. Bring Snacks

Snacks are critical. Kids will be excited and distracted by all of the things you are showing them, so they won’t want to slow down to eat or drink. Shoving a quick snack in their face mid-stride will keep everything humming along more smoothly.

Never underestimate the power of a well-timed snack break.

3. Keep it Short

Kids are mostly looking to have fun and spend time with you, although from firsthand experience, I know that less is more on these types of outings. Plan to spend less than half as much time on the water as you think. Short breaks will not only help to prolong the trip, but they also help to reinforce the skills of getting in and out of the water safely.

Jim Litchfield is owner and operator of Reno Fly Shop in Reno, NV.

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