The famously finicky trout in the Battenkill won again today as my son Xavier, and I came up empty in what was just our second fly fishing adventure. 4.5 hours of searching. Lots of beautiful, deep pools near Eagle Bridge and some even nicer stuff upstream. To me, the painfully inadequate novice, it just looked and smelled like fish in there. Well, either I was wrong or they just weren't eatin' what we were serving up (Tricos, Sulphur Emergers, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Copper John, Sulpher Parachutes and a few vile expletives here and there). No rises to speak of. Not many flies at all. Saw a real cute and cuddly otter, but that doesn't count, does it?
Praying for patience from my 10-year old. I realized today that I need him to love this. I need this to be our common bond. I keep telling him that we can catch fish utilizing this strange and beautiful method. He believes me. Do I need to take to the water with a seasoned veteran? Are any of you that sage of sages? Guidance, words of wisdom and moral support would be welcome.
By the way: A quick trip to the Orvis HG in Manchester provided emergency aid to my son's young ego and sense of confidence after the failed outing. Unfortunately, I can't afford to end every trip with a visit to Orvis' hallowed halls.
I agree with sandfly... just catching fish will boost your confidence by leaps and bounds, so I don't know what you have in your area but if you can target some panfish and catch some it'll do so much for the both of you. If you can get some on the water advice with a more experienced angler then go for it, it'll also help a lot.
Good luck, and enjoy those fish you catch, when new to the sport each one is so memorable as you get it, it'll be worth it!
Michael: Bob and Nick provided some sound advice. I know nothing about the area you fish, but would suggest that you hire a guide for a day, that way he can show you how to fish in your area and get your son into some nice trout. If can't afford that, then try looking to see if there is a local fly fishing club in your area, maybe a trout unlimited chapter. Getting into a FF club would give you some great help, espcially localized help for the waters in your area. The other idea might be to do a Google seach for fly shops and read their river reports and hatch charts, that will provide some insight into what is happening on your local waters. When I visit new areas, I search out the local fly shops and go in and talk to them about the water I want to fish and ask them what flies they recommend and then I buy a few flies from them even if I have them in my fly box already. Good luck.
Thanks for the words of wisdom, all. Great advice that I'm going to follow. Going up to The Adirondacks in a couple of weeks, will be looking for a guide or maybe a few new-found friends that might spend a few hours with us. Also got a few poppers for some warm-water fishing. We'll get there. It'd be nice if we got some rain and some cooler weather. He has a great deal of patience for a youngster, he'll be fine.
The Battenkill is the major leagues and probably the toughest stream I've ever fished.
Back when a friend lived in Manchester, I fished there pretty regularly and didn't do much better than you.
I suggest that you and your son practice elsewhere and go back in the future after you've developed some skills and confidence
That place will just break you.
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Touching report,don't be discouraged you've already got great advice...some rivers are more difficult than others so why not try little back streams or creeks,fish on nymph too for fish feed under the water most of the time.I love fishing for dace ...during my three last outings I could catch bows and chub...but not the smallest daceso dace:3 JP:0 if we could catch as many fish as we want we would stop fishing wouln't we?
If you just want your son to get used to catching some fish on a fly rod AND if warm water fishing is in the works, then a pretty much 100% way for him to catch a LOT of pan fish, like Blue Gills is to find a likely spot- lilly pads, etc and crumble up some bread into little bits, size of corn, and toss the bread into the area. If blue gills are around they will start feeding on the bread- the bread bits will mostly be floating and you'll see the blue gills jumping around fighting for the bread. If there is no action after say five minutes- find another spot.
NOW after you got the fish in a feeding frenzy have your son cast in a light (i.e. bread colored) nymph. He ought to be able to hook up with a lot of fish. It boosts one's confidence and he can get a lot of practice landing a fish and playing them from a reel. You could even deliberately have some extra line on the water and let the fish run a bit until you can play the fish from the reel.
On the trout, others may disagree don't don't overlook small water that doesn't get fished that much. A big river has big fish but often the wind, current, etc can complicate things.
When you go to the Adirondacks, find some brookie streams. Those are the prettiest trout, IMO. And they're generally pretty easy to catch as they find it hard to pass up a potential meal. My son started fly fishing with me 3 yrs ago when he was 11. He loves it now. We have a system for when the fishing is tough. It still works to this day. I fish, as I find it very hard to give up. He plays in the stream or woods. When i get a fish on I call him over, and he lands it. Win Win. I don't have to leave and get to keep fishing, and he entertains himself til it's time to land a fish. Good luck with your son. He'll become your favorite fishing partner as has my son. Time spent with him in the woods and on the streams is precious.