This is for Caught108 and anyone else out there who has small children fishing with them on the streams:
First off, good job getting your kids into the sport. It is important to spend time with your kids (instead of typing on the computer, haha), and I believe flyfishing conveys a lot of good lessons that have applications in daily life.
Anyway, my father started my brother and I fishing when we were too young to cross a shin deep stream without falling down half a dozen times. I didn't like going fishing with him, but I did because even at that age I felt it was my responsibility as the oldest. My brother was easily frustrated and was actually in the middle of a 5 year-old temper tantrum, when he caught his first fish, an 18 inch westslope cutthroat. That quickly ended his tantrum, by the way. Fortunately, we both came around and fell in love with flyfishing by the time we were 8 or 9, but after some rocky beginnings.
I now have four kids, age 5 and under. The two oldest are 5 and 3. I have taken them with me a few times fishing and they like following me for about 1/2 hour, before they are bored and want to leave or throw rocks. And most of the half hour is spent making sure they don't fall off the rocks or wander into my backcast. They like going for walks with me, scouting for deer, etc, and they are definitely developing an interest in the great outdoors.
So mt question is this: How young is too young? I want to foster an early appreciation and love for flysfishing in these kids and eventually raise at least a few fishing partners out of my three boys and daughter. But I don't want to risk souring them on the sport by starting them too early. Also, what is the appropriate age for a first fly rod? I can't remember how old I was when I first cast a fly rod, but I do remember smacking the tip of the rod into the rocks behind me when I started.
I've been mulling these things over for several months now. I came close to getting my daughter a small rig for her 5th birthday this summer, but eventually decided against it, thinking she was still a little too young for a fly rod.
Any and all help / suggestions / insights are appreciated.
Life is hard. But it's a lot harder if you're stupid.