Hey folks, new member (sort of). Registered on the site a few years back but moved from eastern PA to Northwest Ohio (Toledo) and have barely fished since...life got in the way with the job, kids never-ending activities, etc. I recently met up with an old buddy for a fishing trip a few weeks ago and it re-ignited the fishing passion. Since then I've been re-reading the fishing books on my shelf, back at the vise, and re-organizing my gear.
Just yesterday my daughter, who turns 10 on the 14th, said she wanted me to take her on a 'real' fishing trip and teach her to fly fish for her birthday. We've done some fishing for panfish with worms over the years together but this is the first she expressed any interest in learning to fly fish. She's a pretty athletic and coordinated kid so I'll think she pick up a basic cast pretty quickly.
I'd like to take her up into Northern Michigan for a night or two, mostly since I haven't made it up there since moving to Ohio. I want to see the area for myself and see this as the perfect excuse. So I am looking for advice on streams that wouldn't be too difficuly to wade, allow enough room to struggle through casting together, and provide at least a chance to catch a trout or a smallmouth. Likewise, seeking suggestions on a lodge or a not-too-sketchy motel to stay in. I'm trying to pull this together on short notice as we're looking to go in the next 1-2 weeks. I appreciate any advice anyone could give with locations as well any helpful tips on teaching a young kid to handle a fly rod. I couldn't be more excited about to possibility of getting her hooked on the sport as well. Thanks!!!
Mark: Welcome to the forum! I can't help with your destination as I have never fished there, but hopefully some of the other members can give you some ideas. I would suggest that you find a guide in that area and do a half day wade trip, he would be able to help with the casting issues and raise the chances of your daughter getting into fish and for youngsters that really would make her day.
Mark, are you able to hire a guide? A guide who enjoys kids can be a big help, teaching how to cast and fish is important for laying a good foundation and your chances of catching fish will be higher. I have a young daughter also and have learned it is the overall experience that will have her asking to go again. If she shows any signs of getting tired I won't wait for her to say so or complain, we lay the rod down and have a snack, look for wild animal tracks or sit in the grass and dad listens (with interest) to whatever she wants to talk about. Most important for me was to never criticize, focus on the positive and leave my rod on shore.
Mark, are you able to hire a guide? A guide who enjoys kids can be a big help, teaching how to cast and fish is important for laying a good foundation and your chances of catching fish will be higher.
+1.....If it would not work into the budget to stay at a "fishing resort" or even hire a guide, I'm not so sure that I'd make Trout and streams the first prey of choice for a 10yr. olds introduction to fly fishing.
In fact, personally I'd make still-water and warm water species that initial target in that the fish will be much more abundant (so more chances for success), the water easier to access, get around, and very likely will often have better back-cast clearance.....If it really must be Trout, I actually think I'd consider heading to one of the rivers where folks canoe a lot (many actually Blue Ribbon Trout waters), and make it a weekend like follows.
Set up camp or get your room. Have one of the Canoe rental places take you upstream, then drift down possibly her casting a bit, yet looking for spots you can pull out and easily fish a little, then move on and do it again and again....One or two days of that, and you'll cover a heck of a lot more water, it will be more of an adventure, and you can really pick your spots vs. just settling for where you walked into.
Serious Trout fly fishing is not really ideal for most first time adults let alone kids. Also plan on NOT fishing yourself, you're the guide, porter, net-man, knot tier, etc.. If you accept that from the start and in fact plan on it, it will make the trip MUCH more rewarding for both of you.
For one, hiring a guide is certainly a possibility. I have had some good and some not-so-good guide experiences. So that would be another thing I would look for a recommendation from someone. I wouldn't want a weird guide-client dynamic to sour her on the the experience.
And I am aware of the issues involved with fishing with kids. I don't expect to fish much. I've taken my girls (my younger is now 7) to ponds for bluegill, bass, and crappy several times over the years beginning when my older daughter was 4 but never with a fly rod. Interestingly, my daughter prefers to work things out on her own with a "leave me alone, Dad, I'll figure it out" mentality. So I stay close but no too close and provide the occasional suggestion or help with knots, etc.
As far as type of water, the suggestion of a pond is a good one. Though, since I've always preferred moving water I haven't done much stillwater fishing myself. So I was trying to stick with what I know. And I love the canoe idea. I'm going to have to look into that!