Family Fishing Is Fun

Sure, it takes a little planning and a lot of patience, but getting the kids out there on the water is a whole heck of a lot better way to spend an early summer day than yard work. This weekend’s bumpy water on the lower river meant the fish were happy to eat PMDs and caddis underneath before finally coming up for evening hatches, which meant the fishing in some areas took a step back from the dry fly frenzy of the salmonfly hatch but was still excellent. The fish were still willing to play, and having the kids along on a quick close to town float made for lots of fish in the net and smiles on the kid’s faces. Fishing with kids from a boat can be a little bit of a chore, but getting the kids on the water is just the first step. Get them used to the river, comfortable on floats and involved in the searching for bugs and other river fun. Kids love them bugs. Then you can hand them a rod or a net and let them get involved, which is when the fun really starts.

I call this photo “Accidental Renaissance with Brown Trout.”

As a guide who loves when clients bring a kid along, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for keeping things interesting when the sun is beating down and the fish aren’t cooperating. To all the parents out there, I’m giving you these for free, even though they are as valuable a tip as a secret spot. You want to bring the kids along and end your float smiling instead of dealing with a kid in full meltdown mode? Get yourself some props. Like a sad comic past his prime, the real crutch of the act is props. Props, and lots of ’em. Cheap dollar store stuff becomes magical when you’re stuck in a boat. Sure, you can buy the expensive water cannons, but mine cost a couple of bucks and we got more of them. Why? Cause kids like to stick them in the mud and see if that works. Then they like to step on them. And throw them. And use them for swords. Which brings me to swords. Foam ones. Again, from the dollar store. Piratical adventures require swords, and hats if you can find them. An eyepatch and some plastic gold coins make the next sandy bank a treasure spot. Buckets, shovels, magnifying glasses and plastic jars for holding bugs. These are some of the props that change the game for kids on the water, and will turn your float into a memorable experience that they want to do again, if the fishing bug hasn’t quite caught them yet.

Fishing with kids requires excellent line management. And a proper grip and grin.

Get the kids on the water, and make sure you’ve got plenty of juice boxes. Lots more snacks. Get the not healthy stuff. This is no time to force them to eat their organic trail mix. Gummy worms. Sunscreen. Floppy hats. Long sleeve and short sleeve stuff because sunburns are no fun. An umbrella, rain or shine. They come in handy when a kiddo takes a nap in the bow. Bring your kids. And most of all, bring your A game cause the kids don’t like it when you don’t catch fish.

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