Fishing Comfortably with ‘The Boys’

If you read this fishing column, you know I have two boys, now aged five and seven, with whom I try to go out fishing.

It is not always easy with them at such a young age, but I feel this is time well-invested. My hope is that when they get older we will still be fishing together.

While they tend to stay home for some of my more-challenging or longer trips, I often come across families with older children fishing together. A few weeks ago I was able to spend valuable time fishing with one such family.

Early last year I was approached by one of the organizers of the Mardis Bras (a breast-cancer fundraiser) to donate a Yukon fishing experience. I mentioned that I would be pleased to support the cause and share what I knew with a mother and child.

I was told that an Andrea had made a donation for my fishing experience and was going to call me directly to redeem it.

Andrea gave me a call and, after a quick discussion, I learned that she wanted to take her two full-grown boys fly-fishing. My initial thoughts were of intimidation; firstly, I am no expert in fly-fishing and, secondly, teaching a five-year-old is a lot different than teaching adults.

Fortunately, I know Andrea personally from her business, Sportees Activewear, and was quickly comfortable with the plan.

We agreed to carpool at the Fish Lake Road and were going to go fly-fishing at Jackson Lake. When I met Andrea, Nathan and Matt, I felt immediately at ease.

They had all come from a long day at work, were all very friendly, laid back and just interested in getting out for a relaxing evening of fishing.

It was one of those beautiful evenings on the lake with the temperature still sitting around 25 degrees, the sun in full swing and fish popping at the surface, looking for bugs.

We all rigged up our fly-gear went over a couple of basics and then starting chucking flies around. Andrea and I spent most of the time fishing at a little point on the beach while her boys fished across from us in the creek.

There was a fair bit of friendly competition and banter between Andrea and her boys as fish were visibly within site and inching closer and closer to each presentation of the fly. I noted the comfort in this adult relationship and could not help but ask Andrea a few questions about her kids and how they were raised.

We talked about the role of culture and sports on kids, about teenagers and school and about giving kids space when they need it.

I am at a completely different phase with my young boys, but want to be in this exact situation when they grow up. You could tell they were happy to pass up a night with friends just to hang out with Mom, and fish.

I tried my best to teach what I knew about fishing, but I think I came out ahead, having learned far more.

If you would like to share your fishing story or hear more about this one, visit Dennis Zimmermann’s Yukon fishing blog at

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