I have been wanting to take my 4-yr son camping all year (a couple of cancelled trips with David Knapp included), and we chose to go this past weekend regardless of weather. We talked and planned for it all week long, and finally the day arrived. He had just two requests; 1 - that we go fishing and 2 - we roast marshmallows.
We got to the park around 3:30 and quickly set up camp at Elkmont. My son was anxious to go see the water across the street, so I had to hurry and get things up and stored.
Across the street there was this nice little tributary that was perfect for a kid to play in.
After some time splashing around, he asked to go fishing. We went back to camp and I started gearing up and noticed that something was missing. I checked my car, gear bag, and Fishpond pack, but could not locate my fly reel. I had used it the week before, and was pretty sure I had packed it. Unfortunately, I had to break the news to my son that we could not go fish. He was heart broken, but with child-like optimism he said "daddy you have your net, I can catch us fish with it." It was a very sweet statement, but I was still frustrated with myself for losing it.
So, he spent some time splashing around in the water with the net.
Anybody looking to fish Little River in the near future, apparently no trout are currently interested in the 4-yr old toddler fly or blue nylon death trap streamer.
Either way, it was enough to satisfy him, and the rest of the trip went very well (he got his marshmallows).
He got upset when we started packing up to leave, he wanted to stay another night. We are already planning our return trip, and this time the fishing stuff will be remembered. It was a wonderful time to be in the park. Elkmont was only about half full, the weather was perfect all day & night, and on the drive out there was not a single vehicle in any of the pull outs along Little River Road. This is my favorite time to be in the park, right smack in the middle of the quiet period between tourist seasons.
FYI, when I got home I found my reel. It was in a small compartment of my Osprey Stratos from last week's trip. The disappointing part is that I had my Osprey Stratos with me on the camping trip but did not check it because I thought it was empty.... My son just laughed and said "Daddy, next time make a list", even daddy's can learn from their 4-yr old children...