The Fly: Enjoying a family fishing vacation

This week we welcome guest blogger Jon Sutton from Outdoor Empire, which is a great website for fishing and hunting enthusiasts.

Most people associate dude ranches in Colorado with riding horses, campfires, and beautiful vistas. But that’s only the start of the story at Vista Verde Ranch: Summers at Vista Verde offer a litany of outdoor recreational opportunities, including paddle boarding, yoga, mountain biking and hiking.

And while these activities are all great ways to enjoy the great outdoors alongside your family, if you ask our fly fishing guides they’ll say fishing may very well be the most fun. Fishing allows you to teach your child a variety of life lessons, and you’ll have a blast while doing so. Most kids love to learn how to fish, even if they normally prefer sitting inside playing video games and watching TV.

However, to make the most of your day on the water, you’ll have to follow a few key tips to maximize your fun and success on the water. Five of the most important things to remember include the following:
1. Select a good location. There are a number of lakes within a few minutes of Vista Verde, many of which offer great opportunities for your kids to learn how to fish. Hahn’s Peak Lake, Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake are three of the most popular local fishing holes, and they are full of various trout species and grayling. There are also a number of local mountain streams and rivers in our area, but it will be easier for your kids to fish in still, rather than moving, water.
2. Teach your kids to use simple fishing equipment at the outset. Most adults who venture to Vista Verde love to get out with our fly fishing guides and see if they can tempt a trout with a delicate fly. However, fly fishing on a river is a bit too difficult for very young kids (most kids will struggle to wield a fly rod until they reach 10 to 12 years of age). Instead, the ranch guides will take families to a lake and help simplify the activity as much as needed—typically with favorable results.
3. Prepare for the weather. You want to keep your kids comfortable to ensure they have the best possible time while fishing, and this means making sure they are dressed for the weather. Summer temperatures high in the Rocky Mountains never reach unbearable levels, but you’ll want to wear lightweight clothing to stay comfortable. Additionally, the sun’s rays can be rather strong this high above sea level, so make sure you bring hats, sunglasses and sunscreen for everyone.
4. Allow your kids to take plenty of breaks. Kids often become bored after fishing for a half-hour or so – particularly if they aren’t catching anything. So, you’ll want to allow them to take little breaks to keep their interest level high. After allowing your youngsters to explore the shoreline, go for a brief nature walk or simply run and play with their siblings, you’ll likely notice they regain their interest and want to start fishing again.
5. Always pass off your rod if you hook a fish. Let’s face it: You are more likely to hook a fish than your kids are, and reeling in the catch is the most enjoyable part of fishing. So, you’ll want to pass off your rod to one of your youngsters once you hook something (be sure you have a good hookset first), and allow him or her to reel in the fish. And always allow your kid to take full credit for the catch – even if you did the hard part.
If you’d like to learn more about introducing your children to fish, check out Outdoor Empire’s comprehensive review of the subject. There, you will learn more about the equipment and techniques that will give your youngsters the best chance to enjoy a day of fishing with you!