15 tips for Teaching a Kid (teenager) to Love Fly Fishing


  • There are no rules, other than It must be fun.  It has to be a happy day. Dad needs to be in a good mood, the entire time.  It’s like training a puppy. It’s not about demanding that the puppy obey, it’s more about building a bond and establishing a rapport with the puppy and teaching it that training is fun. The indoctrination period has no goals except to make the kid desire to go out again. With you.
  • Start ‘em young and bring food. If no fish can be caught, bring copious amounts of food, good food, which probably means chips and pop and candy.  Or, promise Pizza and shakes and burgers and produce on those promises. There is a burger place in Maupin that can ease the pain of “getting skunked steelhead fishing on the Deschutes” extremely fast. Really nasty brutal outings may require supplemental milkshakes.
  • If the kid is old enough to drive, the kid gets to drive if the said kid wants too.  This is a great time for a kid to learn to drive a stick shift if traffic and road conditions permit. Again, this must be fun. Dad must bite his lip and practice patience and a good attitude and learn to appreciate Charlie Puth.
  • Kid gets to pick the music. If the parent can not deal with this rule he can must at least deal with a 3 to 1 ration of kid music to dad music, meaning the child gets to listen to a Justin Beaver,  Miley Cirus and Image Dragons before Dad can listen to one Merle Haggard. Such a ratio can be brutal for both parent and child with the risk that they could strangle one another before they reach the fishing spot.  This is a chance for Dad to lay down his life for the greater good.
  • The kid can fish with bait.
  • The kid can fish with Powerbait.
  • The kid can fish with pickled Sturgeon candy if he wants.
  • At any point, the kid can opt to fly fish with his dad’s fly fishing gear.
  • Dad must remember that the kid is more important than his beloved $850.00  space-age carbon fiber fly rod he is sharing with his favorite fishing partner.  Breath into a brown paper bag if you need to.
  • The kid can pose for a hero shot with any fish caught by his parent or by himself.
  • The Parent must fly fish only and take every precaution not to grab the spinning rod from the kid and say, “Let me see that thing.” (fail)
  • The parent is allowed to pose for a photo with the child but not the fish, even if the child acts like a fish.
  • The child is allowed to clean any fish kept,  providing he checks the stomach content for dietary samples to provide the father with intel for fly fishing, such as the fish is chocked full of green and yellow Powerbait.
  • There are REALLY no rules if mom chooses not to come.
  • It’s ok if the spey casting or fly casting is not perfect. The goal is to build desire and a relationship, not perfection!

Well, there you have it, folks.  A recipe for building desire in your offspring for the great outdoors.  Also, it will build character in you as well as overexpose you to the music and Lyrics of Charlie Puth. Now everybody please join me in a rousing rendition of “I’ll Fix Your Flat Tire Merle.”

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