It's September and prime steelhead time, but I can't help but reflect on the Summer and time spent with the family and friends on the water. This year I was able to spend many quality hours on the water chasing other species of fish that everyone can enjoy. Steelhead are a blast, but trying to get kids into fishing is not about chasing that grab, more about constant interaction with nature, and fun activities that will keep their attention.
|Jennifer with her first ever smallmouth bass.|
Though smallmouth bass are not native to the Pacific Northwest, they are a perfect species in areas like the John Day River that kids and newcomers can interact with. At times the numbers alone on the John Day helped to maintain the attention my kids to the point where after enough positive reinforcement, you could see the confidence in the kids building.
|First Daddy, daughter double.|
Learning how to cast both spinning gear and flies can be hard for the newcomer. Coordination and attention can be difficult, but with patience, both from parent and child, fun and success can be found. As we all know, beginners have difficulty casting fly rods and with kids, its more about encouraging them working on their technique. There are times and places to help, but when frustration is written all over everyone's faces, there is nothing wrong with taking a break or introducing them to a spinning rod. One thing that I have learned over the years is the best anglers are able to adapt and fishing all methods can lead to becoming a better angler.
|A priceless moment finding your child casting on her own.|
When it comes down to it, I want everyone I am fishing with, kids or adults alike to enjoy their time on the water. As much as many of us label ourselves are fly anglers, what we really want it to enjoy that time on the water and make sure everyone around us does the same. Making sure your kids are having fun and bonding with them helps to carry the torch and appreciation for our resources. Though my daughter may not be fish crazy like her old man, I want her to learn how important this resource is and one day help to protect it when I am gone.
|Surafce oriented fish lead to smiles.|
There are lots of things that both you and the family can learn about nature by just taking a walk along the river.
|Kade with a Surprise Catch!|
Every know and then you might even be surprised what you catch when bass fishing.
|Matt Klara with a Oregon smallmouth. A nice one!|
One thing that returned to my memory this year was the love of throwing and stripping streamers. You just do not do that with steelhead fishing, and since we do not have trout like Montana, we have an alternative. Smallmouth are everywhere, in most ponds, lakes and rivers etc and with a little exploring can find them. A lot of the same places you find bass you will find carp and sunfish as well to play with.
You can find large smallmouth in certain locations at certain times of the year. It's not a mystery, especially in the places where there are a lot of crayfish and anadromous smolts.
For those of you interested in a John Day smallmouth adventure, check out Little Creek Outfitters.