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MC1
07-09-2010, 11:16 AM
As a new stream fisherman and someone who's new to this message board, let me first apologize if I placed this under the wrong heading. Secondly, let me introduce myself: I am a longtime fly fisherman, mainly ponds and lakes around the house in KY where I grew up. It's only been recently that I took up fly fishing on streams and I'm now admittedly "obsessed," as my wife likes to describe it. I've read Jim's book cover to cover and refer to it anytime I plan a trip to the mountains from my home in S.C.

My question: Is there any advice from others who have been stream fishing longer than I have who can give me pointers on taking a 4-year-old stream fishing? I would assume it's simply a matter of finding an accessible stream and fishing from the bank while he plays in the shallows, but what about wading? Is that even a possibility? Any help/pointers/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Matt

TNBigBore
07-09-2010, 11:57 AM
I faced the same dilemma several years ago. To be honest, I would not expect to get much fishing done around moving water if you have a four-year old in tow. You pretty much have to keep your eyes on them at all times if there are slick rocks and any degree of current involved. If you don't mind skipping rocks and turning them over looking for insects/crayfish/salamanders with them, then you will fare better. You might be able to make a cast here and there and catch a few fish. If you have another adult along, you might get to do a little more fishing. My nine-year old son is just now getting to the point that he can wade a trout stream with me and cast to the easier spots. He can even catch a few fish. My five and three-year old daughters are still very much in the splashing and rock throwing stages. They have no respect for or fear of moving water at this age, which can be a real problem.

Oh, welcome to the board by the way.

Jim Casada
07-09-2010, 12:12 PM
MC1--First of all, welcome and thanks for the kind comments about my book. Kudos for wanting to take a youngster fishing. It's a vital matter we all need to keep in mind (and do). With a four-year-old you won't get much fishing done, but do it anyway. There will be fun splashing around, throwing rocks (be sure to turn some over to look for insect life), and if you should by chance get to cast enough to hook a trout, let your understudy "help" net it. Anything which can convey excitement, fun, and action at this age is a real plus, and you can give a youngster no greater gift than an early and abiding love for fishing, hunting, and the good earth.
I'm enternally grateful to my father, who started taking me trout fishing when I was six, and goodness know how much he sacrificed. That's what you'll be doing, but in time it will all be worth it. ONe of the high points of my life was my daughter "lording" it over her husband when she out-fished him, big-time, on the Nantahala river a few years back.
Your post was a heartening one and I would love to see more of us giving thought (and time) to passing on a wonderful legacy.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

Crockett
07-09-2010, 12:31 PM
I have found with my son Jack who will be 5 in August that he isn't ready for a fly rod but what I do is I took his little short kids zebco (spider man) rod and removed the spinning reel and line from it. Then I tied on about 4 feet of heavier tippet to the rod tip end like 6x and a very small nymph with the barb mashed down real good. I let him get behind a rock and fling it over into the pool. He hasn't caught any yet trying this but only did it once for a couple of minutes. I think it will work good though and I did catch a fish with it using that technique while he was looking for salamanders and then I let him hold and release the fish which he got a huge kick out of. Like these other guys have said if he and I fish for an hour it really is about 5 mins of fishing and 55 minutes of playing, looking for salamanders or crawdads, and or throwing rocks. Another tip is don't bring your rod just his. It is really too hard to try and fish when watching after a kid of that age. I find that I have to hold his rod most of the time anyway so I just fish together with him using it if I fish at all. Its all fun though! We will be staying at Smokemont tomorrow night and maybe will fish a few minutes on bradley fork. He likes to hike and explore more right now.

BlueRaiderFan
07-09-2010, 12:34 PM
You could try putting just enough float line on the reel that it comes out of the end of the rod and then attach the leader so he could roll cast it.

jeffnles1
07-09-2010, 12:35 PM
Matt,
as with the others, good for you taking your 4 year old fishing.

My son, Daniel, is now 15 and is still my fishing buddy (and has developed into quite the fine fisherman I must add as he regularly outfishes me).

With a child that young, I think I'd focus on turning over rocks, playing in the stream and enjoying a nice day out in the woods. If there is any kind of moving water at all, things can happen so quick that even a momentary lapse in focus could result in tragedy. If you're landing a fish, looking up the stream to the next run or fiddling with your fly line as you're trying to dislodge a fly from a tree, you could look up and see something you really don't want to see.

Take your son or daughter fishing, yes, absolutely it will be time you will remember for the rest of your life, and when he or she is older, it will be times you can share and both of you will remember the rest of your life. 40+ years later, I still have very fond memories of fishing with my grandfather.

I just think most of the streams in the Smokys wouldn't be my first choice.

Metcalf Bottoms may be a possibility if the water is still low (nice picnic area, plenty of area to splash around, plenty of other people) and it will have some fish to cast to. fishing would be great, catching may be a bit slim.

Hope you all have a great time.

By the way, what part of Kentucky are you originally from?

Jeff

MC1
07-09-2010, 12:43 PM
Gentlemen,

I truly appreciate the comments and advice. I can assure you I'll be using the information quite a bit in the next couple years. Along with my 4-year-old, I have another son who just turned 1 not too long ago. With that in mind, any advice I can gather from here will definitely be used!

ahighlan
07-09-2010, 12:44 PM
One of the first few quiet walkways on the WPLP has good access. You can walk out onto the riverbed under normal water levels without getting in the water. It is pretty open as far as trees go. It is pretty low in elevation, so it may be a bit too warm right now.

A cane pole might be good for him. Attach a leader and he can still get some reach without the tangles and hassles of casting a fly rod.

MC1
07-09-2010, 12:47 PM
Jeff,

I grew up about 30 minutes outside Louisville and my folks now live near Paducah. My grandparents and some other family still reside in Mt. Vernon. How about yourself? Where do you call home?

Vern
07-09-2010, 01:20 PM
I started my son spin fishing when he was around 6-7. Started fishing Caney Fork with red-worms. Then he graduated to fishing rooster tails and trout grubs. When we would go to the smokies I would spend one afternoon with him on the children streams in Gatlinburg. When he was 10 I started him on fly-rods, he would still revert back to the spin tackle. Then when we was 14-15 he noticed that I was catching more fish, and couldn't understand why. Son! for the past 8-9 years I spent most of my time taking care of you and not really fishing myself, now that you are older I can spend most of my time fishing. He also noticed that with the fly-rod I could out fish him in most cases. From that point on he has been purely a fly fisherman.
I would never trade those early years, yeah I didn't get much fishing done, But you know 8-10yrs is a short time compared to a life time of fishing I have left. I just take longer to recover from a rough trip now. At some point I am sure he will have to take care of me on the river and not get much fishing done his self.

Don't be afraid to use spin tackle, it is easier for them and a red-worm, where bait fishing is allow is a sure way to keep them reeling in fish. the fly rod will eventually come.

Streamhound
07-09-2010, 01:32 PM
Hey MC1
I live in Bowling Green, mom lives in Paducah

MC1
07-09-2010, 01:58 PM
There's some great deer hunting near Paducah. I try to get up that way at least a couple times during the fall.

Carlito
07-09-2010, 02:37 PM
I have found with my son Jack who will be 5 in August that he isn't ready for a fly rod but what I do is I took his little short kids zebco (spider man) rod and removed the spinning reel and line from it. Then I tied on about 4 feet of heavier tippet to the rod tip end like 6x and a very small nymph with the barb mashed down real good. I let him get behind a rock and fling it over into the pool. He hasn't caught any yet trying this but only did it once for a couple of minutes. I think it will work good though and I did catch a fish with it using that technique while he was looking for salamanders and then I let him hold and release the fish which he got a huge kick out of. Like these other guys have said if he and I fish for an hour it really is about 5 mins of fishing and 55 minutes of playing, looking for salamanders or crawdads, and or throwing rocks. Another tip is don't bring your rod just his. It is really too hard to try and fish when watching after a kid of that age. I find that I have to hold his rod most of the time anyway so I just fish together with him using it if I fish at all. Its all fun though! We will be staying at Smokemont tomorrow night and maybe will fish a few minutes on bradley fork. He likes to hike and explore more right now.

Maybe a good use for one of those "Eagle Claw" units...

Streamhound
07-09-2010, 02:58 PM
Ducks and Geese too

Glad to see the info on this thread, got a 4 yo nephew that I have been wondering about

jeffnles1
07-10-2010, 11:45 AM
Jeff,

I grew up about 30 minutes outside Louisville and my folks now live near Paducah. My grandparents and some other family still reside in Mt. Vernon. How about yourself? Where do you call home?

MCI,
I'm up in Florence KY (about an hour north / east of Louisville). I have family in Oldham County.

Jeff

MC1
07-10-2010, 04:40 PM
Jeff,

Small world, for sure. I grew up outside LaGrange and graduated from Oldham County High in '94.

Matt

Knothead
07-10-2010, 06:06 PM
Glad that you spend quality time with your son. Attention span is short, especialy if action is slow. Show them the world around the stream. Lots of things to see and do. A ride through Cade's Cove is great, allowing them to see real animals like the deer, bear, turkeys, etc.
Today, my wife and I took two of our grandsons to a small pond loaded with bluegill. The bread was too hard to keep on the hook so I tied some old, cheapo flies on their line. They caught a bunch, so many we didn't count them. And.....they are ready to go back.

jeffnles1
07-10-2010, 06:32 PM
Jeff,

Small world, for sure. I grew up outside LaGrange and graduated from Oldham County High in '94.

Matt

Matt,
You know any of the Cundiff family?

DarrinG
07-11-2010, 07:35 AM
I'm the proud Dad of three beautiful daughters. I have been taking them to the woods-n-water since they were all old enough to trample around with me. My oldest (15) loves being outdoors but isnt that much of a fisherlady. She loves to go with me and take photo's and hike, but rather watch me fish.
My middle daughter (11) already fly fishes and loves it. She's a die-hard fisherlady. I bought her her own fly rig about 2 years ago and she does quite well with it.
My youngest daughter (9) is also a die-hard fisherlady. She hasnt graduated fully to a fly rod yet but is learning. She recently landed her first spec on the fly and is hooked! She's been doing very well with a spinning rig for a couple years now. Both my middle and youngest daughters seem to be "big fish magnets". Every time we go, they always seem to catch the biggest fish of the day. Their enthusiasm and love for life is a real inspiration for me and they love the outdoors. I take it easy with them and go at their pace. We've spent some awesome times together in the woods and streams and it's times I'l never, ever forget.

My youngest, on a backcountry stream:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/DarrinG/Trout/ST-6-24-10006.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/DarrinG/Trout/ST-6-24-10024.jpg

My middle daughter:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/DarrinG/Smallmouth%20Bass/Toecane8-21-08004.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/DarrinG/Trout/BMC-8-23-09008.jpg

The oldest:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/DarrinG/Catarafts%20and%20Toons/Watauga-8-7-07007.jpg

I love my girls!

Jim Casada
07-11-2010, 05:54 PM
DarrinG--Great stuff and delightful photos. If only more parents traveled a road similar to yours we wouldn't have to worry about "Last Child in the Woods." Along with marking what is potentially a lifetime path of pleasure for your daughters to travel, you are building up a rich storehouse of memories.

Does you missus fish? Mine doesn't but loves the outdoors. In fact, years ago she broke an ankle while we were camped at Bumgardner Branch (the lowest campsite on Deep Creek), and the ensuing ordeal gave me new insight on dealing with emergencies in the backcountry. Basically, I made a sort of crutch, took a bit of a shortcut involving two old fords, and by carrying her pack a way and leaving it, then going back and helping her (our dauther, who was aobut 10 at the time, helped a bit as well), we made the three-mile trek out. Now it's a fond memory.
Keep up the good work with the girls.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

oldhickory
07-11-2010, 11:52 PM
We've spent some awesome times together in the woods and streams and it's times I'l never, ever forget.





Well said DarrinG. I can never get tired of the time outdoors fly-fishing and hiking with my kids AND NOW, grandkids! :smile:

DarrinG
07-12-2010, 07:24 AM
Thanks fellas.
Jim, Yes, my sweet wife also fishes, although she just dont get the time to go very much. She's as busy a person as I've ever seen. We homeschool our children and she takes it VERY seriously. When she gets the time, we enjoy going out on the river occasionally.

My sweetheart:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/DarrinG/Smallmouth%20Bass/Noli-5-24-08001.jpg

I've got a family full of fisherladies, and I love every second of it. Most young girls talking to my daughters ask them the normal "girl" stuff and if they like dolls, etc, and they usually start telling them about catching smallies or specs or floating the river in our cataraft. Not "normal" girlie stuff! Some of the young boys seem a little intimidated by girls that know their stuff about fishing....but Dad is proud

One thing I've learned taking 3 youngsters into the backwoods is to slow down and take your time. Push them too hard and it becomes more of a chore to them that fun. let them set the pace, whether hiking in or on the stream. Stop and turn over rocks and investigate the beautiful world or Creator blessed us with. Kids will see things and notice stuff that most adults will look right over...and their enthusiam for wild things is simply amazing.

JohnH0802
07-12-2010, 03:13 PM
Well said and some great advice.

Jim Casada
07-12-2010, 04:53 PM
DarrinG--Kudos to the missus for home schooling. Sadly, and this comes from someone who taught for 28 years (although all but three of those years were as a university professor, not in the trenches of public schools), public schools in most parts of the country have gone to the dogs (or the politically correct, or left-wing nuts, or ACLU types, or -----add your own category). One thing for certain--properly hom schooled kids get a better education. The only real drawback is soclialization, and that is easily handled through scouts, clubs, churches, and the like. My sister-in-law home schooled their four kids. The three boys were all Eagle Scouts, and the girl (the youngest) is a college honors student. The oldest boy is a truck driver and owns his own rig even though he's well short of 30, the middle boy is a graduate student in a ministeral program, and the youngest lad is working on a Ph. D. in music. I don't think they suffered educationally.

As for taking your time with the youngsters, that's spot on. Equally true is that it behooves all of us to stop and savor our surroundings. The fishing is only part of it.

It's heartening for me to know there are still caring, committed parents out there, because I sometimes despair for the future of this country, and that has never been more true than at present.

Forgive me for wandering afield a bit from fishing, but to me a kid raised with a meaningful connection to the good earth, and that certainly includes fishing, has a far greater likelihood of a productive life, and a much smaller likelihood of going astray, than one stuck in a technological rut.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

DarrinG
07-12-2010, 05:40 PM
You're correct about socialization, Jim. We make it a priority and have for several years. Our kids stay involved with many activities, such as little league basketball, church youth groups and activities and also attend homeschool youth group functions in our area. We have taken great pride in the raising of our kids and God has rewarded thus far. Each one of my daughters this EOG testing (done by a licensed, non-family member teacher) tested at the minimum of 2 grades higher than their age should indicate...and my oldest just completed 9th grade and tested at a freshman college level or better. I'm proud of them, as you can probably tell!
They have Nintendos and such but they dont get used much, they rather be ouside!