Fly Fishing with My Kids: Summer Trip Report

Both my sons caught their first fish on a fly this season and are now converts to this wonderful sport of ours

This great trout season we are enjoying this year has helped dispel the bitter memories of those “lost” seasons we suffered through while locked indoors.

One of the many positives of this season for me has been getting my two sons involved to the extent of catching their first fish on a fly.

They’ve been lukewarm at best on fly fishing til now. They’ve always been happy to tag along, with a day outdoors and a pub meal being sufficient lure to get them to come along.

They’ve only rarely asked to have a cast, and have instead been content to swim or play together on the river bank as I fished.

But the prolific fishing we are enjoying, and the fact they are a bit older now (12 and 14), seems to have sparked a latent interest in them both.

Daniel’s Big Brown Trout on a Dry

Fly Fishing With Kids Daniel with a nice brown
This one took a cicada pattern

I worry for the youngest, Daniel. He’s potentially been spoiled for life. His first fish on a fly was a sight-cast brown taken on a cicada in the crystal clear waters of the Goulburn! I haven’t had the heart to tell him it doesn’t get much better than that.

Before you think I am one of those parents prone to claiming their child is some sort of prodigy, I should add that this fish was very unlucky!

Daniel (who in fairness is a complete novice) slung out a sloppy cast that landed a metre and a half behind the fish from a range of less than two rod lengths.

But it was hungry enough to spin around and swim back to grab the fly even though it was staring straight towards the two of us as it honed in on its prey.

Fly Fishing With Kids Daniel with a nice brown 1
There were some decent browns feeding that day

I yelled “strike”, but, as is the way with novices, it took a second or two for the message to translate to action. Truth be known, a quick strike would have likely pulled the fly straight out of the fish’s mouth, whereas the delay ensured the fish had turned before the line finally drew tight and he was pinned right in the corner of the mouth. 

To Daniel’s credit he steered the fish out of the weed beds nicely in spite of my garbled and panicked instructions and we high-fived as I swept the net under a nice 1.5lb brown. A special moment indeed. A few quick pics and we released the fish to get older and wiser.

Sam’s Rainbow Trout

Fly Fishing With Kids Sam with a nice rainbow
Sammy’s rainbow took a Stimulator pattern

My older son, Sam, had his first taste of fly fishing success on the Goulburn too. He was set an easier task as I let him loose on the stocked rainbows that escaped the fish farm in the floods.

He cast a #10 Stimulator into a pocket at the head of a nice run and sure enough, up came a decent bow. We must have a slow-striking gene in the family and I reckon this was a good two seconds before the rod even began to lift!

I swear the bow was chewing the Stimmie like a wayward teenager with a wad of gum.

Sammy eventually got the rod tip up and played the fish nicely til I got the net underneath him. Sam was all smiles and starting to twig to what his Dad saw in this mysterious fly fishing caper.

Again, we shot a few pics and released the fish back into the river.

These were two magic moments that will certainly stay with me, and hopefully with the boys too!

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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