Fishing with Kids

Salmon Smile

Have any of you ever experienced the phenomenon of fishing that is so amazing, so unbelievably perfect that you feel like all the stars aligned and the Fairy Godmother of Fishing has swooped down, covered your gear with fishy gold dust, granted you 24 hours of the most perfect casts and extraordinary drift presentation known to man WITH willing, eager fish?

Or, in simple terms. You went on a fishing trip and it rocked. BOO-YAHH

Well that was me—- specifically on Monday 5/17/2010. Fairy fishing dust, aligned stars, perhaps a whole years of good fishing karma used up on one historical (for me) day of salmon fishing. I’m still grinning like a fool from the whole experience which trumps the other lasting effects like the pretty bruises and the questionable internal injuries I’m still feeling from that day. 

~More Salmon in the Fiesta~

This is how I claimed my piece of perfection. I found a magic rock to stand on. I found a honey hole slot that the salmon were moving (piling) through. I figured out the exact weight to use and the perfect length of leader. Somehow I figured out the exact spot to cast into without snagging up and just how far down the slot to guide my line before I needed to recast or more often than not, set the hook.

I set the hook a lot. So often that Slayer (who was struggling for much of the day) started counting my fish on, fish in the net, fishing broke off, totals. At this point I think he did that because on some level his fishing ego was on the line, but thankfully by the end of the day he was doing fine himself. Since he counted (I never do) I’ll share. Evidently I caught into 58 salmon.  Out of those 58,  I got 31 int0 the net. At the end of the day my jello arms and wounded body parts agreed with those numbers as well.

~Last Salmon of the Night~

However~ big numbers, sore arms, impaling of the butt of my rod into my ribcage and a melted reel aside, I did something else that day that made it beyond special. A little gal, age 14, came along the river with her dad. I asked her if she had caught any salmon over the weekend and she replied, “well, I hooked two in 3 days, but they broke off really fast.” Insta-mission for me.

I told her to grab her rod and I took her down to my magic rock. I made her swear to keep the magic to herself and showed her my exact line of casting and drifting. Magic I tell ya ~ Savannah caught (and for once I DID count) exactly 7 salmon in one hour. She rocked it and dropped the jaws of about 20 other fisherman around. I was one extremely proud instructor. Just when I didn’t think anyones grin on that river could get any bigger than mine, Savannahs smile blew right by my own. Priceless………

I’m not sure when my next magical fishing day will happen again. I know I tried to re-enact the scenario again this last weekend only to be rightfully (and without mercy) humbled back into realistic expectations ~ salmon fishing can be tough. Doesn’t matter though, I had my day, the one that will carry me all through the year. Boo-yahh


~ It was a good day...a really good day....~


The Twisted Sister Fly and Whippersnappers

by Rebecca on January 11, 2010

in Fly Tying

~I shall call this one....the Twisted Sister Fly~

I did it. I succumbed to the flame like a moth to an electric bug zapper. I tied flies.

Full credit and blame for this second try at fly tying (aggravation, frustration &  the occasional cuss word) goes to Austin “the Otter” of the very good blog, 365 Flyfish.  He kept writing all these beautiful entries about this fly and that fly he was tying that a desire I previously thought dormant was resurrected.

On Saturday night I sat down with my daughter Kaitlyn, age 14…aka the young whippersnapper, and went to work on creating flies so tempting for fish that I would never fear a skunked day on the river again.

My first fly brought to surface all the reasons I quit tying flies in the first place. It was originally intended as an olive colored San Juan worm because Kaitlyn snaked the red chenille before I could. But then, the karma of my former abilities arrived. After a mild (in my opinion) pull of the bobbin things went wildly out of control. There was snapping and snarling then suddenly my first fly looked like the hairstyle of an 1980′s rockstar from Twisted Sister. All that was missing was some tight black tubing and a flashy bead.   

~ Kaitlyn schooling me ~

Kaitlyn Schooling Me

As I ran upstairs to grab some hairspray so I could properly set my new Twisted Sister fly, Kaitlyn was already whip finishing her first fly with a triumphant, if not slightly smug, smile. That’s the problem with young whippersnappers, they have no doubts when they have one upped, out manuevered, or schooled an elder.

My fly morale sunk to the depths of a lake trout, but I didn’t give up. By the time I had my next hook securely set in the vice Kaitlyn was already on her third fly. 

I did manage, second attempt, to tie my San Juan Worm. An ugly version that will never feel the grace of water or the thrill of fish lips around it’s warped profile. When I was basically done, Kaitlyn (on fly number 6 now) assumed the role of instructor and helped me with the whip finish. Whippersnapper.

I understand that if there are people reading this that tie flies they may be tempted to think, ‘good gawd lady, it’s a San Juan worm, the easiest fly known on the tying circuit’ and I get that. I know….Whippersnapper (now at fly 10 and moving through the beginners book to the harder flies) said the same thing to me. As evidenced once again this weekend, it’s just not my talent….at all…..

As I struggled with fly number three, a plan B formulated in my mind. As I watched little Miss Whippersnapper whirling off yet another fly, I realized I’ve got a perfect scenario here at the new house. I have a kid. I have a basement. I have money to buy fly tying materials. She’s short like one of Santa’s elves. I could set up my own personal fly tying shop! I’ll be manager and owner who will submit fly requests on a daily basis and let her do her thing. Her payment will come in the form of frequent trips to the river fishing with her Mom….. 

Feels like a win-win scenario to me.


p.s. The Twisted Sister Fly is unique, absolutely one of a kind and cannot be reproduced. All requests to own such a beautiful twist of fly tying art will regrettably……be declined.


Guest Post: Salmon Fishing Showdown

by Rebecca on November 16, 2009

in Salmon Fishing

~”Salmon Fishing Showdown” is written by my 14 year old daughter Kaitlyn. Enjoy!~

~Kaitlyn Fish On~

~Kaitlyn Fish On~

This was my first time salmon fishing. Robert and my Mom, Rebecca, kept chuckling when they looked at me, for I hadn’t stopped grinning since the moment they told me we were going salmon fishing.

I was imagining a leisurely fishing trip with the family, but I had no idea what was to come. All I knew, as I headed far into the mountains of Idaho, was that salmon fishing wasn’t going to be like fly fishing for trout, or sturgeon, crappie, blue gills, or any fish I have fished before.

Getting there felt like an eternity, I had to ask, “So, just how far back in the mountains is this place?” Robert, seemingly unsurprised by me asking that, simply answered, “Only about 40 miles more. It just seems longer because you have to go unreasonably slow on these mountainous roads.”  We finally got there and the first thing I asked was  “So, when are we gonna go fishing?”  “After we unpack,” they answered in unison.

“Ugh,” the sound escaped my mouth before I could stop it, resulting in me earning two glares. I hate unpacking, I would absolutely love trips if there wasn’t the whole packing and unpacking part. Thankfully it didn’t take too long.

They had to be joking. I stood there staring at the torrent of white water in front of me. Eventually, I turned to them, with a look of disbelief on my face and said, “I’m supposed to fish in that? You must be kidding! I doubt you could catch a fish in that water.” But they just said, “Trust us.” I probably wouldn’t have listened to them if there hadn’t been a line of people casting lines into the rapids.

Before I could join the line of people trying their luck fishing, I had to learn the Salmon Fishing System. The rules are pretty simple, and as long as you follow them other fishermen and women won’t get angry at you.

Salmon Fishing System:
     1. 1st come 1st serve. If you want a spot you have to be the first person on the river to claim it.
     2. Just because you got a spot one day doesn’t mean you get it the next day.
     3. And whatever you do, if you have a desirable spot, don’t leave it or else it may be gone by the time you go back to it.
     4. Stay in turn. This is a major one. If you don’t pay attention and stay in turn most people will skip you after 5 seconds. DO NOT GO OUT OF TURN, this is the difference between life and death. When you go out of turn you are casting over other people’s lines and will get them in a giant birds nest (knot). This tends to make most fishermen extremely angry.
     5. Yell “Fish On!” at the top of your lungs if you have a fish on the line. For fish go up and down river trying to get off the line. If you don’t yell it may tangle with other lines, making the other fishermen angry and resulting in you losing the fish.
     6. If someone yells fish on, reel in your line like there is no tomorrow. You never want to be responsible for a person losing their fish.

After mom explained this to me, we started heading down river to practice. When we got down far enough that they wouldn’t count us into the group, I was shown the drift I wanted to catch. It took me awhile to get the hang of casting the new reel I had gotten just for this, but when I did, my mom and I started working our way back up to the group. Eventually we were a part of the action and I had been introduced to many of the people on the river.

Robert holding Kaitlyns Big Fish

Robert holding Kaitlyns Big Fish

They were all incredibly nice and patient for the newcomer, and were constantly giving me tips, even if some of them contradicted themselves. One even offered to let me use some of his pre-tied baits. Eventually I felt a sharp tug on my line. I yanked with all my might, the fish stayed on the line.

“Fish on!!!” I hollered to the people around me. Everyone started reeling as fast as their reels would let them. After a long tough fight, I got the fish to the shore. The disappointing part was that it was native wild salmon so we had to take it out of the net and let it go really fast. But I was still ecstatic. I was bursting with pride and joy that I had actually caught a fish. Many people had been fishing for days and not even had a bite. As we quickly set my beloved slimy salmon in the water to let it go, congratulations coming from all directions, I knew I was instantly hooked on salmon fishing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get another fish to the shore the rest of the trip. Though I still had loads of fun with my new fishing friends.

During this trip I learned many lessons, and was reminded of many, too.. The biggest lesson was to wait my turn. If you don’t wait while in the line you can infuriate many people by casting over and tangling their lines. Another lesson, is to pay attention and not slack off because if you do, you may miss your chance. You may never get another chance like it, and you‘ll never know what would have come out of it.



Olive, The Little Woolly Bugger

by Rebecca on November 12, 2009

in Fly Fishing



Recently I was able to help Author and Fly Fisherman, Kirk Werner of the Unaccomplished Angler do some technical adjustments on his blog. I’m sure I impressed him with my coding and teaching skills and in turn he made me proud by not turning his blog into an error-404 disaster zone. Once we achieved virtual success, Kirk emailed me one last time and it went down something, sorta (creative interpretation applies here) like this….

Kirk, “I’d like to compenstate you for such highly advanced coding skills!”
To which I replied, “Oh you don’t have to do that, but if you insist, the standard developers rate will do, about $15 zillion dollars.”
After a long email pause, Kirk offered, “Ummm, how about I send you a set of my children’s Fly Fishing Books instead.”
Trying to contain my excitement, I responded, “Even Better, we have a deal!”

((editors note: Ok, I’m both writer and editor, but that’s beside the point… Truth is, I didn’t expect anything in return for helping out, at all, but Kirk surprised me by sending along his books ~ Kirk has a humorous point of view about the fly fishing world and I highly recommend checking out his newly improved blog.))

~Tightlines and Fun~

~Tightlines and Fun~

So that’s how I got my hands on a fantastic set of books about Olive The Little Woolly Bugger. (Tech skillz and negotiation tactics!)

 My daughter Kaitlyn and I read all three books and we both fell in love with little Olive and her adventures.

I really loved how Kirk wove together a delightful story about a little woolly bugger and real fly fishing lingo into each and every page. As a parent, it’s an easy way to introduce fly fishing into a child’s world that is both fun, entertaining and teaching at the same time.  

The illustrations are wonderful and each book tells a new story about Olive. I can’t recommend these books enough to parents that would like one more way to show their young ones the joy of fly fishing. Christmas is coming and I have no doubt Santa would approve as well. Treat your little one to a new adventure and bring Olive the woolly bugger, Andy the Adams, Ernie the Elk Hair Caddis and many more delightful characters into your home~


Olive2_bigLink ~Olives Website : “Now those who love the sport of fly-fishing can share it with the children in their lives through these wonderful children’s books about fly-fishing. An astute angler knows that presentation is everything, and now children will get hooked on fly-fishing with the help of Olive the Woolly Bugger and a colorful cast of characters. From earning a coveted spot in The Fly Box to catching a wild trout in The Big Stream, Olive discovers that everyone has a special purpose in life. Featuring eye-catching illustrations, delightful dialogue and kid-friendly facts, Olive the Woolly Bugger will make a big splash with fly-fishing fans everywhere. These books are keepers, and are the perfect gifts for the young angler, or the angler who is young at heart!”