I had a blast this last weekend with a bunch of folks. We got together to teach a gaggle of wee tikes about fly fishing and the great outdoors. Trout Unlimited sponsored the event, with the help of the UC Berkeley Sagehen Creek Field Station. This is the 3rd year I’ve got to help with this event, and it seemed to have gone off without a hitch.
The youngsters got to learn about conservation, insects, finding fish in a stream(reading water), sneaking up on the aforementioned trout, casting their own tied fly at said fish, and hopefully hooking and landing that fish.
We brought in folks from all over to help teach; from guides and instructors, to Trout Unlimited staff, to folks that just like to fly fish. We tried to have one guide/instructor/volunteer for every child, and even have a female instructor for every little girl. Unfortunately we had a pair of volunteers for the boys have to step down for last minute emergencies, but still all the girls got their own instructor and only a couple of the boys had to share. I was one of the more experienced with the program so I ended up with two kiddos, and it worked out fine. We had fun and a lot of the kids ended up catching fish, especially those that started crawling up to the water on hands and knees, instead of running up to the pools at full sprint.
Here’s the volunteers teaching the kids to tie a foam ant and a wooly bugger
The calm before the storm, stringing up 20 fly rods and getting 20 kids fishing with their guide is close to herding cats with a vacuum cleaner.
Stalking trout with the wee master Aden, son of the Sage Fly Rod company rep Jamie Lyle. This kid is practically an heir to fly fishing royalty. He’s got to fish all over the world, in more exotic places then some of the most accomplished guides. Alaska, Bahamas, he’s been to New Zealand twice, and hes only 10. He told me “Sometimes I wish the only sounds and lights we could hear and see were those from nature.” Pretty deep for a 10 year old, but yea I feel ya kiddo.
Nikki-Mo my other student, using the time honored art of dapping with much skill
One of the typical fishes from the outing
After-hours recreation included Pixar movies, grasshopper catching and sight nymphing for sculpin. Nikki-Mo doing his best impression of a guide while Aden high sticks his size 20 midge to a bunch of 3 inch sculpin.
I built a fly rod for the kiddos. A basic little fiberglass 4 weight, but hopefully something they can scramble though the bushes with and catch many fish with for years to come. (if you zoom and look close, the trout has a little smiley face.)
Kayleigh, a daughter of a friend of mine won it during the raffle on the last day. It totally seemed rigged, but it wasn’t at all, completely and utterly random. Hopefully she gets to take it on many fly fishing trips in the future.
Thanks a ton to all the folks that helped out, Sam Sedillo, Dave Lass, Jessica Strickland, Dave and Katie Stanley, Kate Blubaugh, Leslie Ajari, Doug Ouellete, Brian Johnson, Jack Childress, Stefan McLeod, Wyatt Ogilvy, Kevin Mather, Nikki Streegan, Laura Murph and Betsy Clark, Tom Smith, Mark Warren and anyone else I might’ve missed. You guys ruled this weekend and helped another generation see and hopefully appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. Mission accomplished!
Photo credit and thanks to Doug Ouellette for the big group shot. Thanks again everyone and see you guys next year!