Let’s face it we all want our children to grow up having the same interests as ourselves. Fly Fishing is no exception. Yet, the more we as parents push our kids to enjoy our hobbies the more they seem to turn away. My daughter at the young age of 8 took an interest in following her dad along the river banks and I couldn’t have been happier. Yet, keeping her focused along the way at that young age was a challenge. She was not unlike any other child. If the fishing was slow, the fidgeting began. Luckily, I  found the solution to continue our day on the water. Timing and of course, crayfish. 
Many customers ask at what age can they start teaching their youth. Of course it depends on the child but 8 years old seems to be a good age. Start them in the summer months where the water is warm and the crayfish are plentiful. Why crayfish? Smallmouth Bass love them. And if I may add,  if crayfish hunting was an Olympic sport then I would have won the gold medal hands down. When I’m teaching a young child we start our fly fishing lesson learning the cast. Kids can grasp this much quicker then adults. 40 minutes is all that is usually needed on dry land. Once we move to the river I find we have about 25 minutes before the fidgeting begins. Once this starts, we put the fly rod away and begin our search turning over rocks for smallmouth’s favourite food source. Usually 30 minutes of laughter and squealing will enable us to have the young ones back with the fly rod in their hands.
Picking through the fly box for a crayfish pattern that is similar to the one that attached itself to a finger is as fun as trying to catch these quick crustaceans. Yet when a nice smallmouth bass hits this hand picked pattern all boredom has left the river. Yes, the fly fishing lesson will be over shortly but the day will be remembered for a long time. Both by the youthful student and of course by Mom or Dad.
It’s not always about the technical part of fly fishing that is the most important. It’s also about the experience above and below the rivers that gives us happiness. My daughter still to this day will hunt for crayfish on our many Ontario rivers. Her passion for the art of fly fishing and her love of the river has made her a perfect choice to be our newest fly fishing guide for Calmwaters Fly Fishing. She also would be a Gold Medal contender to the “Crayfish Hunting” event.Alyx Parks