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Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

Updated: Jul 28, 2023


Fly fishing is a timeless activity that offers a unique connection with nature and the thrill of catching fish. When it comes to sharing this wonderful experience with the younger generation, fly fishing with kids can be an unforgettable journey. Their first fish on a fly rod, whether a trout in a stream, or a sunfish in a farm pond, introducing a child to fly fishing is always my best day on the water. In this guide, we will explore the joy of teaching kids to fly fish, the essential gear needed, and some tips to make it a fun and successful adventure for both parents and children.


Kids Fly Fishing Gear

Before embarking on a fishing trip with your kids, it's essential to equip them with the right fly fishing gear. Stop off at the local fly shop along the way for some fishing fun. Here are the basics you'll need:


Fly Rod and Reel

A well-suited fly rod and reel can make all the difference for a young angler. A light weight rod, such as a 5 or 6 weight, is ideal for kids to handle comfortably. Paired with a balanced reel, this setup will make casting and reeling much easier for them. Let them pick up a few to get used to how it feels. They'll be surprised how far away the tip of the rod is. Just watch out for ceiling fans.


Fly Line

Selecting the appropriate fly line is crucial, as it affects the casting performance. Choose a weight-forward fly line that matches the weight of the fly rod. Explain how it helps the line to shoot accurately toward the target. Eyes usually glaze over here so step over to the flies.


Teaching Kids About Flies

Teaching your child about different types of flies can be a fun and educational experience. Demonstrate how flies are artificial lures made to resemble insects, small fish, or other prey that trout feed on and how work in catching a fish. Show a selection of flies that are commonly effective for trout fishing and the difference between a dry fly and nymph. If they have a fly tying section even better. All the fur and feathers and colors are amazing. It's only natural they want to explore.


Fly Box

A fly box is a handy accessory to store and organize the fishing flies. Let your child pick their favorite flies to add as kids want the sense of excitement and ownership to the fishing experience. If they catch their first fish with their first fly you've done well.


Teach Your Child Patience and Understanding

When teaching kids to fly fish, patience is key. Understand that every child is different, and their learning pace may vary. Be patient and verbally reward their efforts and progress, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement will boost their confidence and encourage them to continue learning. I do stress to take them fishing where there are plenty of fish. Remember that you're fishing with short attention spans so give the kids a chance to catch.


The Art of the Fly Cast

Casting is a fundamental skill in fly fishing, and teaching kids how to use your fly rod and make a fly cast to work is an essential part of the process. Show them how to hold the fly rod correctly and make a few practice casts in an open space. Keep the sessions short and engaging, allowing them to enjoy the learning process. If you get thirty minutes with them holding their own then it's time to take your child to the water. Make sure you focus on rod tip high and help teach getting the line over the top when casting. Keeping the rod high make sure they are coming to a full stop and understand the need to stop the tip. Also teach how to set the hook.


Fun Fly Fishing with Kids

Make fly fishing trips with kids enjoyable and memorable. Choose a scenic and accessible fishing spot where kids can comfortably go fishing. Make a few casts in front of likely fish-holding areas. Although fly fishing isn't just about catching fish but know your child is trying. Make it fun and spend quality time together in nature.


Be Flexible and Adapt During Your Fly Fishing Trip

Every kid is different, and their attention spans may vary. Kids learn to love fishing by having a good time overall. If your child seems eager to explore other aspects of the fishing outing, be flexible and adapt the plan accordingly. It's essential to let them enjoy the experience in their way.


Safety First

Before heading out, ensure that both you and your child are familiar with the safety guidelines for fly fishing. Make sure they understand the proper technique for holding a fly rod, especially if there are other anglers around. Tangles are bound to happen. Bring the fly rod gentle to the ground and take time to fix it. Learning how to fly fish takes time and we shouldn't expect perfection. Pinch those barbs.


Fishing Buddies

If you're an experienced fly angler, consider inviting your child's friends and their parents along for a fishing outing. Fitting this in with a busy schedule is hard, but having a friend out for a little fishing and eating a picnic takes the pressure off of "fishing only" time. Having fishing buddies can make the experience even more enjoyable for kids as they learn together and share their excitement.



Fly fishing with our kids can be a fantastic bonding experience and, as long as it is time, to introduce them to the wonders of the natural world. With the right gear, patience, and a fun approach, you can create lasting memories and instill a love for fishing in your child. Whether they catch their first fish or not, the joy of spending quality time outdoors and learning new skills will leave a lasting impact. So grab your fly rod, head out to the waters, start fly fishing journey with your little anglers. And have an excuse to stop at the fishing store on the way.

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