The Joy of Being a Kid on the Stream

Maybe the best part of fly fishing is that you get to play around like a kid. I hear it all the time when I’m guiding and I remember my dad saying it too. His remark was that a grown man playing in the creek strikes people as odd, but put a fly rod in his hand and people figure it’s completely normal.

Boone Hooked Up

Six year old Boone hooked up to a Smoky Mountain brook trout

One of the best parts of parenthood for us has been taking our kids out on our local streams. There’s always something for them to find or see besides trout and we’ve been careful not to be too serious about fishing so they don’t get burned out at an early age. Usually they’re good to catch a couple of fish then move on to catching crawdads or collecting stonefly husks or looking for cased caddis in the stream.

A brook trout caught by Boone

A brook trout caught by Boone

This past weekend we couldn’t stick around the house or even think of doing any Christmas shopping when the weather was so unseasonably warm. It was 70 at the house and in the low 60’s on the stream. Our daughter already had some plans with friends but we still took Boone with us to a brook trout stream less than 20 minutes from the house. Of course he belly ached a bit when we told him to turn the video game off so we could take a hike and go fishing, but he was also the first one out of the car and running up the creek when we arrived at the trailhead.

I took the opportunity to fish first while Boone scrambled on the boulders while Charity policed the area to keep our little American Ninja Warrior safe. After fishing a nymph in about 6 or 7 spots without so much as a bump I tied on a Mr Brownstone and caught a fish on the first cast. The brook trout were pretty frisky as we continued up the creek and Boone eventually took his turn.

He has complete confidence with our Tenkara outfit and even refers to himself as the “Tenkara Master”. It only took him a cast or two in a spot where I set him up and he had his fish. He was excited but just as happy to go back to balance beam on logs and hopscotching from one boulder to the next, then eventually settling in to watch us fish.

Boone Lies On Rock

That looked so good Charity had to join him.


Be sure to get those kids out on the water but be sure not to take it any more seriously than they do. You might even discover they have just the right attitude about it.


  1. Pat Segraves says:

    Great post!
    Its certainly not always how big or how many.
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the Rutter family.

  2. Great post and pics I had a similar experience this weekend but unfortunately nymphed longer than 6 holes before a fish attacked my strike indicator then I got the hint to go up top! I look forward to getting my son on the river next summer. -kj