WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Mia & the Little Gal: LG gets ‘hooked’ on fly fishing

As parents, we often have certain visions for our children. We have our own passions, and try to share them. So, what happens when your young one doesn’t want to take up your passion?

Hank is a fly-fishing guide, so it has almost been expected that LG will take it up, also. We presented her with a fly rod years ago and she showed exactly zero interest. We were not upset and didn’t push it on her, but instead let it rest. We simply took her along with us each time we had the opportunity and politely asked if she would like to try. I can’t tell you the number of years that LG said “no” to us and to fly fishing.

Patience pays off

LG is fortunate to attend a school in Colorado that promotes the outdoors. The school and teachers encourage their students to share outdoor success stories, hold contests and offer instructional classes. This year, LG was chosen to enroll in a very special class.

You guessed it … fly fishing!

Her teacher is as obsessed with fly fishing, as Hank and I are. When he realized LG hadn’t learned the sport yet, he knew he had to step in. The news about LG’s upcoming class thrilled Hank. He wanted to jump right in and help, but he knew he had to sit back and let the teacher do that job. The teacher had to hook her on fly fishing and then, we would reel her in.

LG catches a rainbow trout with her teacher, Mr. Caffrey.

LG catches a rainbow trout with her teacher, Mr. Caffrey.

The school provides fly rods for all the kids. If they have their own, they could bring them. LG is a leftie, so she finally brought out her Sage rod and took it to school. She learned how to set it up and care for her equipment. Then she learned several knots, and to pass a test, she had to demonstrate them.

The teacher took the students to the park and taught them how to cast. Once they were proficient, they each tied on a fly and headed to the ponds. Next, the teacher accompanied his class to the river. They learned how to read the current, and where to find fish. Before long they were stripping lines in with trout on their flies.

LG hooks a small-mouth bass while fly fishing.

LG hooks a small-mouth bass while fly fishing.

They fished local ponds using Bead Head Pheasant Tails, Cone Head Streamers and custom designed flies by our local fly-fishing supply, called “Pop’s Purple Pond Streamer.” When they fished the river, they used black-and-brown Cone Head Streamers, as well as Bead Head Prince Nymphs. They hooked rainbow trout, and learn how to land and safely release the delicate fish.

Hank and I are so excited to receive phone calls and texts from LG letting us know that she and her friends want to go fly fishing after school. The children set up their rods and walk to the pond to fish between school and sports practices. What a blessing to have such great teachers, and also to have children interested in such positive activities!

As of now LG has caught rainbow trout, blue gill, small-mouthed bass and crappie on her fly rod. She is hooked!

LG and her friends go fly fishing after school.

LG and her friends go fly fishing after school.

Fly-fishing terms, courtesy and etiquette

When you are fly-fishing, your rod is called a rod. It is NOT a pole. This term is important if you plan to be taken seriously in the sport.

Never keep a trout out of the water for any length of time. Return it to the water immediately. DO NOT throw a trout into the water. Gently put it in the water, holding it until its gills have resuscitated. The fish should swim away on its own accord.

Gently return rainbow trout to the water. Photo courtesy of Hank Anstine

Gently return trout to the water. Photo courtesy of Hank Anstine

It is common practice for fly fishermen to catch-and-release, therefore it is essential to use barbless hooks. You should also to use a light touch when setting the hook, in order to keep from harming a fish.

A net is not required, but it is a good tool to have when you are not well practiced in handling a delicate trout. On that note, always wet your hands before touching the fish.

When determining what flies to use, look at the bugs that are flying around or hatching and falling into the stream, river or pond.


Basic items for fly-fishing

When starting out in the sport of fly fishing, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can pick up a basic starter kit at your outdoor super store and do just fine.


Waders are not a requirement unless you are fishing colder waters or in the winter. Always be sure to have your chest belt tightened. (Simms Fishing Lady Wader)

  • About The WON

    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.