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Top 10 Tips for Fly Fishing with Your Kids



Here’s a few tips and tricks I picked up after

Launching/running a kids fly fishing camp.


  1. 25% fishing 75% mountain playtime. What set our camp apart from other “famous fishing camps” was our lack of structure. We threw rocks, built boats to race, tied logs to rods to “fight a huge one”, caught hoppers by the bucket load. We sold out camps every year because it wasn’t about entomology, knots and presentation.

  2. Long fast action rods are best. The biggest mistake in the fly fishing youth retail market are short, slow action rods. Really the only benefit to a youth specific rod is the size of the handle for smaller hands. Having a stiff 9 ft rod with a short 7 1/2 ft 2x leader and the drag set heavy keeps the cast simple(pizza slice) and fly loss to a minimum

  3. Fish a big easy to see fly. If you can’t see it they can’t see it.

  4. Fish a big easy to see fly with no barb. Seriously this is a no brainer for the ease and health of both fish and fisherman. After 7 years and over 150 kids we only had one hook to the face. Just on the outside of their sunglasses. It was debarbed and came out quickly.

  5. Sunglasses are an absolute must. We did not fish without eye protection. Sounds cheesy but was really our only rule. Doesn’t mean they had to wear them all day, remember 25% fishing 75% mountain fun.

  6. Snacks. Lots of snacks. Catch grasshoppers so the trout have snacks.

  7. Just cut out tangles, don’t bother trying to untangle them on the spot, cut it off and deal with any salvaging later. Have a ton of pre-rigs made up. Even better have another rod ready to swap out. Nothing would dampen the spirits of the campers faster than the feeling of always getting tangled which of course just leads to more tangles.

  8. Lifetime warranty rod. Kids break stuff. Another fail by most rod makers is not including a “lifetime warranty” on the youth rods. Most common ways we broke rods: tripping/falling, “un-sticking a very stuck fly”, sword fighting, attempting to poke fish and last but not least declaring it broke while in the throes of fighting a potential state record. Break, ship, repair and repeat was my daily mantra.

  9. Know what’s in your own backyard. We ran 3 and 4 day camps and the last days fishing location we would always vote on where to return…The river, high country lake or the bluegill infested bass pond by a water treatment facility. 9 out of 10 they voted on the pond…why? Because we would absolutely crush those little bluegill on beadheads 6 inches under a bobber, we didn’t have to drive 45min and had lots of shade structures. My point is fish what’s close to home as it often will surprise you.

  10. Know the rules and regulations, practice what you preach, wet your hands or "keep em wet", set it and forget it(Ron Pauls chicken Rottisserie cooker), #nopebblemine, 10-2, and last but not least if a fish keeps eating your bobber tie a hook to it.


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