youth

ELK and CTU partner up to teach Denver youth fly fishing

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CTU Youth Outreach Intern, Nicholas Krishnan helps students with attaching their leaders to their fly lines. Photo credit: CTU/Annie Smith

CTU Youth Outreach Intern, Nicholas Krishnan helps students with attaching their leaders to their fly lines. Photo credit: CTU/Annie Smith

On August 8th, 2018 a group of 10 Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) Urban Rangers - youth leaders who help teach ELK programs for other kids- along with Colorado Trout Unlimited volunteers headed up to Clear Creek in Jefferson County to spend the day learning about trout and fly fishing. All of this was put together by CTU's Youth Outreach Intern, Nicholas Krishnan. He has been working with this summer to identify and organize a collaborative program to provide Denver youth an opportunity to get outside and learn all about fly fishing. ELK graciously agreed to participate in this collaborative effort and without them it wouldn't have been possible. A huge thank you to them for helping make this a success. Please consider checking out ELK as they are empowering Denver's youth through outdoor learning. 

The day consisted of a little bit of everything to maximize our time on the water. Students learned all about trout including the different species, biology, diseases, and invasives that affect their habitat. From there, gear was distributed to each of the students including a fly rod, reel, fly line, leader, tippet, and a stocked fly box. Gear was generously donated by Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle, Orvis Park Meadows, Cabela's Lone Tree, Anglers Accessories, Denver Angler and CTU. Flies were tied by Liz Smith, Dick Shinton, Ryan Riley-Buttram from the Greenbacks, Dr. Jacob Kinnard and Will McDonough. Professional photography services that day were provided by Catherine Belme and Shaw Taylor

After a full day of learning and fishing, the students enjoyed wading in to cool off! Photo credit: CTU/Annie Smith

After a full day of learning and fishing, the students enjoyed wading in to cool off! Photo credit: CTU/Annie Smith

The students practiced their casting, knot tying, and setting up their fly rod before hitting the water. Each student was paired up with one of our volunteers providing one-on-one teaching. Everyone enjoyed wading out into the river and one of the students caught two fish! Towards the end of the day, many of the students decided to cool off by wading in waist deep to the middle of Clear Creek. You could overhear one of the students exclaim, "I feel like a kid out here". Check out some of the pictures from the day below. Again a huge thank you to all the volunteers, ELK students and staff, donors, and most of all, CTU Intern Nicholas Krishnan for organizing the whole thing. Great job everyone!

Photo credit: CTU/Annie Smith

Fishing with Kids: 5 tips to keep them coming back

Courtesy of Trout Unlimited/Joshua Duplechain

Courtesy of Trout Unlimited/Joshua Duplechain

Learning a new activity when you are younger can go two ways: amazing or not so great. That probably is still true as an adult, but when taking a child fishing, having a great time or not can make all the difference. Obviously, every child is different, but if there was one thing to keep in mind? Stay excited and someone HAS to catch a fish.

1. Patience and Understanding

Courtesy of Trout Unlimited/Joshua Duplechain

Courtesy of Trout Unlimited/Joshua Duplechain

It goes without saying that most people respond well to learning a new skill if the teacher is patient in the process and understands that mistakes will happen. Having a chill attitude and rolling with the punches will ensure that everyone will have a good time! You might not get to fish much, but there will always be a chance to go out yourself another time. This outing is about the child.

2. Excitement is Contagious

We feed off of each other's excitement, and kids do the same! If you are excited for them to catch a fish or learn how to cast, then that energy can help keep them going even when the struggles of fishing are real! It's easy to become disappointed when someone isn't as receptive to one of your favorite pastimes. When all else fails, snacks help!

3. Perfection is not the goal

We are not perfect, so there is no reason to expect that of a kid. We all mess up. Someone might get hooked (barbless hooks help with this), the line will get tangled, the knots will not hold, snags will happen, and fish might never bite. Sometimes the best thing about fishing is sharing the stories of never catching a fish, and the funny things that happened along the way. Laughing or shrugging off the mishaps makes coming back, much more likely. 

4. Increase Your Chances for Success

Creative Commons. 

Creative Commons. 

One of the best ways to make the experience a great one is to use kid-friendly equipment. A full setup on the fly rod might be too much at once for beginners, so using a closed spin cast rod or simpler setups (possibly Tenkara) which are much less intimidating. Yes, this might also include using scented bait or fishing in well-stocked ponds, but fishing with kids is about getting them excited and hopefully want to learn the more advanced stuff later on. Also, if you're right there next to them and you just happen to hook a fish, it's a great opportunity to pass off the rod for them to reel it in.

With kids, the simpler the better. Check out this great write up about teaching kids how to fly fish with kid-friendly Tenkara setups. Who knows, you might even end up liking it too!

CPW Getting Started Fishing Gear (Spincast)

101 Places to take a Kid Fishing In Colorado

5. Take a Break

If there is one thing that anglers and fly fishers are, that is persistent. "One more cast, one more fly combo, one more location" is the drive for many to keep going till the sun goes down. Kids might not share that same enthusiasm from the get go and even though we would all like to at least catch a fish, it's easier to leave before the frustration sets in. There’s always next time!

There are so many great resources out there with ideas and tips on getting young ones outside and on the water. We've listed a few below. Feel free to leave a comment on your best tips and tricks to keep beginners coming back for more! 

Other great reads

Fishing Tips From a Parent - with age groups

Introducing Kids to Flyfishing

 

 

Youth get outdoors at the river conservation and fly fishing camp

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ALMONT, CO – Have you ever wanted to learn more about the lifecycles of aquatic insects? Or new techniques for fly tying and casting? Perhaps you have always wanted to tour a fish hatchery, or learn more about river conservation. Well, sixteen youth had that very opportunity this past month. From June 10 to June 16, teens from across Colorado came together at the Silent Spring Resort in Almont, CO, for the 10th Annual Colorado TU Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp.

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Organized by CTU staff and volunteers, the week-long camp offers unique, hands-on opportunities to learn about bugs, hydrology, fly-tying, casting, knots, reading water, and safe wading techniques. This year, campers also enjoyed presentations from outside speakers that included: water law, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, a tour of ranch land near Gothic, CO by the Crested Butte Land Trust, and a walk-through of the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery. The week was capped off with a willow-planting project on the Gunnison River, some great fishing, and a private screening of the Fly Fishing Film Tour, made possible by Mayfly Media.

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In addition to becoming better anglers, these young adults learned the importance of conservation and the impact it has on their favorite waters. Campers also made life-long friends and connected with a whole new watershed. The CTU Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp has now completed a decade of getting youth out on the water and teaching the next generation of anglers. We are proud to see so many students returning year after year as counselors, sharing what they learned and inspiring their peers.

This camp would not be possible without the generous support of our chapters and partners. We would especially like to thank the Silent Spring Resort and staff for your amazing hospitality and great venue, the Colorado Rod Makers Reunion, the CTU River Stewardship Council, the Sharon Lance Youth Fund, and Mayfly Media. You can see more pictures from the camp by visiting: https://coloradotu.org/youth-conservation-and-fly-fishing-camp

For more information about the 2019 CTU Youth Conversation and Fly Fishing Camp, please contact Dan Omasta, domasta@tu.org.