March 2021 - 40

s Zach, a lifelong angler, began to filet the catch of
the day, his 5-year-old daughter dragged a stool to the
counter. Lily climbed atop the stool and watched as
her dad meticulously prepared the fish.
" What's that? " asked Lily.
" Smallmouth bass, " replied Zach.
With the fish on its side, Zach skillfully slipped a knife between
the pale meat and rib bones. When the meat came free he slid it in
front of Lily, who cautiously touched it with her small index finger.
" Are we going to eat it? " asked Lily.
An hour later Zach served his wife, Lea, and Lily delicious, tender
bass filets sautéed in a frying pan.
" Will you teach me how to catch a fish, daddy? " asked Lily.
Thrilled at the interest in fishing, Zach agreed to
take her fishing the next day on Flaming Gorge Reservoir where he had caught the bass the day before.
The reservoir, at 65 square miles, is a big body of water
and one of Wyoming's better-known bass fisheries.
The next morning, the duo left the house before
daybreak and were on the water as the sun came up.
Zach rigged one of his lighter spinning rods for Lily,
then showed her how to flip the bale and fling the
lure. It didn't go well. Within minutes, a rat's nest
of monofilament lay at her feet. Lily, on the verge of
crying, abandoned the mess and crawled onto her
father's lap.
As Zach awkwardly worked on the line while
balancing his daughter between his arms, the wind
picked up. Lily crawled halfway into Zach's coat and
fell asleep. She awoke a half-hour later, about the time
her father got the rod ready for another cast.
" Can we go home now? " asked Lily. " I'm cold. I
don't like fishing anymore. "
If you've got kids, perhaps you had a similar experience with your son or daughter and can't figure out
what went wrong. Just because you are an expert
angler, hunter, paddler, wildlife watcher, camper or
hiker doesn't mean you know how to hook your kid
on your outdoor passion.
" Keep kids comfortable and having fun, and you'll
create memories they'll work to replicate the rest of
their lives, " said Kathryn Boswell, hunter and angler
participation coordinator for the Wyoming Game
and Fish Department.
By adhering to the following tips as a parent, the
odds are higher your kids will get hooked on the
outdoors just like you. Fishing is the example, but
the principles apply to other outdoor pursuits.

40 | March 2021	


Target the right species. Zach took Lily bass fishing


Use the right gear. Finding gear appropriate for your


Pick the right location. Kindergarteners will likely

because it was the species that caught her interest. However,
to his daughter fish are fish. She doesn't know or care about
the differences between a bass, a trout or a pumpkinseed.
A panfish on a small pond would have been a better choice for Lily's
first few outings. Fishing at a smaller location with less technical tackle
and higher chances of success can draw in kids. Try taking the kids to
a community fishery or kids-only fishing pond when they're starting
out. Making the right choice of species - whether fishing, hunting
or wildlife watching - helps other important aspects of those first
few outings go right.

child will make the experience better for everyone. Getting items that are of sufficient quality, properly sized and
easily operated for your kids can make a huge difference
in their experience.
Most parents outfit their youngster with cheap, kiddie gear. It
looks cute. It's downsized, and it's a low-risk investment if the child
doesn't click with the activity. Unfortunately, poor gear is more likely
to discourage a kid. In the case of fishing, a cheap youth rod is difficult
to cast and gives minimal control if Junior happens to hook a fish,
reducing the odds of getting that fish to net.
Zach did the opposite, giving his 5-year-old an adult rod because
it was what he had. Even though it was one of his lighter rods, it was
still too much for Lily to handle. He got the light rod part correct,
but a quality, push-button reel is a better choice for a 5-year-old firsttimer. It's simple to use and doesn't tangle easily.

want to go fishing again if they catch five fish in a halfhour the first day. Next time, they may have the patience
to catch three fish in an hour. On their third outing, they
might catch only one fish in two hours, but they'll be proud of that fish.
One of Zach's mistakes was picking Flaming Gorge Reservoir, a
big body of water. It's a world-renowned fishery, but he burned up
that critical first half-hour and more getting the boat in the water
and then getting to where he wanted Lily to start casting. Maybe the
ride was interesting to Lily, but the focus for her became more about
boating itself instead of having a boatload of fun catching fish.


March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2021

From the Director
In this issue
A couple pennies
Opening shot
Ask Game and Fish
Project profiles
Case files
In the field
Tracking the rarest carnivores
Seeking the slam
A family matter
Getting kids outside
Wild country dispatch
March 2021 - Cover
March 2021 - From the Director
March 2021 - In this issue
March 2021 - A couple pennies
March 2021 - Mailbag
March 2021 - Opening shot
March 2021 - 7
March 2021 - News
March 2021 - 9
March 2021 - 10
March 2021 - 11
March 2021 - Ask Game and Fish
March 2021 - Project profiles
March 2021 - Case files
March 2021 - 15
March 2021 - In the field
March 2021 - 17
March 2021 - Tracking the rarest carnivores
March 2021 - 19
March 2021 - 20
March 2021 - 21
March 2021 - 22
March 2021 - 23
March 2021 - 24
March 2021 - 25
March 2021 - Seeking the slam
March 2021 - 27
March 2021 - 28
March 2021 - 29
March 2021 - 30
March 2021 - 31
March 2021 - A family matter
March 2021 - 33
March 2021 - 34
March 2021 - 35
March 2021 - 36
March 2021 - 37
March 2021 - Getting kids outside
March 2021 - 39
March 2021 - 40
March 2021 - 41
March 2021 - 42
March 2021 - 43
March 2021 - 44
March 2021 - 45
March 2021 - Wild country dispatch
March 2021 - 47
March 2021 - Backpage