Calling all trout-crazed mamas and papas!
So you’ve started a family and you’re stoked to get your kid on the next fishing outing, but how do you do it?!
Fly fishing has always been a passion of mine and when my husband and I decided to start our own little family, we made several promises to ourselves and each other. But, the most important one was that we would make no compromises when it came to letting this child grow (wild) outside – and that meant bringing him along for as many fishing and outdoor adventures as possible.
Diapers, milk/formula, snacks, water, toys, juice, wipes, hand sanitizer…the list of “Baby Needs” can stretch for miles! Understanding and accepting basic needs (and wants, admittedly) takes time, and over the course of the first year with a little one, we’ve experienced a lot through trial and error. We met with challenges, success, and out right failures. But, you know what they say: Live & Learn.
Here are some tips and tricks we’ve learned along our adventuring path that will hopefully help other folks get their #adventureparenting on!
Be prepared to carry extra gear:
This might be the most obvious, but hardest to accept, so all you ultralight fishy folks out there need to work on coming to terms with this fact. Babies/Infants/Toddlers need stuff. Extra diapers, wipes, and a spare clothes are all a must. We learned early on that blowouts in the backcountry are not fun. Come prepared with those items as well as extra snacks and water and you’ll set yourselves up for success while out on the water.
Keep baby safe & comfortable:
This goes without saying, but a comfortable/fed/changed baby is a happy baby. Make sure your little dude or dudette has the essentials, plus some. Regardless of the season, we make sure to bring along a hat to block the sun and a beanie to keep warm, extra layers, booties or shoes and gloves/mittens (appendages get chilled before the rest of their body). If kids are fed, clean, and overall comfortable, they’re much more likely to embrace the next great fishing adventure.
When our guy was a few months old, he practically lived in the Ergo 360 on outings. But by the time he was 11 months old, we realized hiking into our secret spot wasn’t as easy with a kid dangling off your chest. Cue the Deuter Kid Carrier. This pack is where it’s at because we can finally carry the weight on our hips and not our shoulders! He sits comfortably in the harness section, there is plenty of room for gear and food (for us and baby), and it has an optional sunshade.
Throughout the day, my husband and I will swap the pack back and forth. Whether we’re tackling the hike in/out, wading and fishing, or hanging out riverside, we take turns carrying the load and the little dude. Sometimes we’re even lucky enough to land fish with our son along for the ride!
Get kids excited about fishing. Sure, sometimes it’s a lot of waving a stick in the air and enjoying the scenery, but when it’s “fish on”, get your little one stoked about it! Let him/her touch it, look at it, and watch you give it a big ol’ smooch before release – they’ll love it, I’m sure!
Make it about the Journey, not the destination:
Finally, as any angler knows, it’s not always about the destination (the river/creek/lake/name your body of water) or landing fish – it’s about getting outside and experiencing everything the outdoors has to offer. When we’re hiking into access points on the Rio Grande or wading around in search of trout, we talk to our little guy. We ask him questions, share the names of trees and birds around us, pick up rocks to explore the bugs hanging out underneath them, and splash in the water. We try to instill that sense of excitement and curiosity each and every time we step outside.
Final thoughts…Remember, curiosity and exploration are your friend! Now take your kid out there and see what there is to see – whether or not you catch what you’re in search of, it’s sure to be a magical (or at least, interesting) experience and one to remember!
Written By: Ryan Michelle – see bio below!