There is an undeniable attraction between children and fishing. The iconic image of little ones poised on a dock dangling a worm-baited line into the water defines the joys of a childhood summer. Replace the dock with a pristine rushing river, place the children at the edge of an eddy, replace the worm with a fly and you have Sun Valley at its finest and the beginning of a love affair with a sport that lasts a lifetime.
To get the kids started with the right wader forward, Silver Creek Outfitters offers special instruction to make the adventure as fun as it is skill building. Fly fishing camps for children ages 8 to 12 are offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and can be arranged on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well with a minimum of three participants. You bring the child, Silver Creek provides a guide, equipment, snacks and a day he or she won’t forget.
First stop is checking in at Silver Creek HQ, located at 500 North Main Street in Ketchum to gear up. Though everything they need is provided, everything they want may not be. This could include baseball caps, logo t-shirts or all sorts of fun things like binoculars and polarized sunglasses that cut the glare of the water and help you see into the river. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Then there are the flies. Again, while provided, chances are getting your camper away from the cases and cases of colorful tied feathers, thread and fur could take a while.
Once they look the part, it’s off to the river they go. My son and his best friend set off last week with kid-friendly guide Brett Wilson who whisked them away and off to their adventure in record time. Five hours later we met back up at the shop. The boys were smiling and laughing, slightly wet and full of fish tales. On their secret stretch of river, they both landed two rainbow trout and hooked into a few more. They were thrilled and considered themselves quite the fishermen, talking with ease about which flies they used and how proficiently they cast.
With children, though, fishing is only peripherally about catching fish. Silver Creek teaches young anglers to be hands-on and embrace the entire experience from turning over rocks to search for bugs, to sitting on the banks to enjoy a snack, to kicking up the grass and watching the hoppers fly. Fishing is an experience and all the different parts are what add up to a memorable day and get the children invested in the process of fishing.
Camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and more details may be found HERE.
In my family, learning to fly fish is not an option. At about age eight, everyone is put into waders and put into the river and taught the joys of this lifetime sport. However, as with all activities that require learning new skills, sometimes it is best for the parents to leave the instruction up to the pros. Thank you, Brett, for getting the boy so excited about fishing and wanting to come back immediately and frequently!
If you are over the age of 12 but would like some basic instruction or a refresher, you, are also in luck. Silver Creek offers what they call “Fly Fishing 101,” a one-day introduction to the sport that covers the basics: casting, knot-tying, equipment selection, fly selection and trout food. Ready to move to the water? Graduate to “Fly Fishing 201” that offers three hours of practical instruction on the river. Free casting clinics are also held in front of the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. A member of the guiding team will teach casting technique. Equipment is provided or you may bring your own.
Also coming up at Silver Creek Outfitters is a Tenkara Clinic called “Simple Fly Fishing” with Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard on Thursday, July 17. All the proceeds benefit Idaho Rivers United. The Fly Fishing Film Festival is also right around the corner and will be held on July 25 at the Sun Valley Opera House Fly Fishing Fair. For full information on all classes and programs, please click HERE.
Fly fishing is one of the Sun Valley area’s finest resources and no trip is complete without getting into one of the region’s many crystal clear, trophy trout streams. Book a trip or class today for you and your children. Chances are, you’ll be hooked.