|Photo is property of Josh Ott and cannot be used without permission.|
Kids are naturally curious. This curiosity is how you should introduce your kids to Fly Fishing. My kids love looking at pictures of trout in my magazines and they love to "help" me organize my gear, so to feed their curiosity I let them (with supervision of course). Many people ask how to start kids fly fishing and the answer really starts long before they ever step foot in a trout stream. Feed their curiosity at home.
Ever since my kids have seen a vise and a box of tying materials they have been drawn to them. So to get them interested in tying all I had to do was let them watch and hold materials. Here are some keys to fostering an interest in fly tying with your kids (this also applies to grand-kids nieces nephews, kids of friends, etc.):
1. Let them sit in on some cool ties. They may not be as interested in a size 24 pheasant tail, but if you start tying something with some color and flash, like a big streamer for instance, they probably will eat it up. Try to keep that from literally happening.
2. Keep the tying area organized and clean. Pick up all the extra stuff floating around, especially stuff that can be harmful if swallowed.
3. Manage your hook. Singular. Only 1 hook out of the closed container at a time. While you're at it show them how sharp the point is. If your kids are young you can always clip the point off of a couple hooks ahead of time. Don't do this with kids around as the snipped piece can fly uncontrollably across the room.
4. When they are ready to start give them a simple fly that requires as few steps as possible. I find the caddis larva to be the best. It takes very few steps and they can play with different colors of dubbing. Who cares if it is a pink larva, as long as they like to tie it (these work on landlocked salmon and stockies)?
5. Go at their pace. It is supposed to be fun. Don't be a pushy parent, forcing your kid to sit at the vise longer than he or she wants to. Who cares if you are getting everything out and putting it away after one fly? The investment will pay off when you are too old or too tired to tie your own flies. By then your kid will be filling your fly boxes for you.