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Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

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Austin, Texas
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Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

My family will be vacationing in Estes Park the first week of June. My husband and my 10-year-old son would like to try fly fishing. They love to fish together, but neither are super-experienced fishermen, and they've never done fly fishing before. Any recommendations for a good tour or location where they can try this out? Someplace with a guide or some instruction/help so my son has a better chance of catching a fish or two? Also, any recommendations for an activity for me and "the girls" (7 and 2-1/2) while they are fishing?

Thanks so much!

rky
Estes Park, Colorado
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for Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park
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1. Re: Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

If you are looking for a guide service, check out Estes Angler. Kirk's also offers guides as well. Both places are great with adults and kids of any experience level. The Estes Park/RMNP area is a great place to learn fly fishing and I do recommend getting a guide for your first outing just to significantly shorten the learning curve.

If they like fly fishing, they can rent the gear from the same places listed above and head out on their own. Wherever they rent and/or get a guide, those folks will be able to tell them where the best places are to fish at that time. The shops will also be helpful in selecting the best fly patterns for the time they fish.

Consider going into RMNP though. I often recommend a place like Dream Lake but with the construction delays this year you may want to try another place. Maybe Roaring River along the Lawn Lake trail or the St Vrain in the Wild Basin area. If you's like to make a day of it, you can consider going over to te west side of the park via Trail Ridge Road. Streams on the west side like the North Inlet and West Inlet are full of brookies in the lower areas near the trailheads and typically pretty easy to catch.

Anyway, the idea is that the guys can hike a little and then fish while the gals either hang out and enjoy the scenery or hike on a little further. Do you have a carrier for the 2.5 year old or does she hike well? My daughter was hiking the 1.1 mile up to Dream Lake at that age . . . and was successfully fly fishing at Dream Lake at 3 years old, too! The East Inlet trail is a popular hike on the west side. Also, the girls could spend time exploring the little village of Grand Lake while the guys fish.

florida
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2. Re: Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

The tour company who operates out of the YMCA in Estes is pretty reasonably priced, which might be good considering it's new to you and your sons age.

Austin, Texas
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3. Re: Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

Thank you both for your suggestions. My husband is looking into all of those fly fishing options and is very excited about the choices. Rky, thanks also for the mention of the short hike to Dream Lake. Any other ideas for short, interesting hikes? My 2-1/2 year old is a pretty good hiker for her age. We've done several 1.5-2 mile hikes (even one 4-mile hike, but that took a while) with her walking the whole way, but we're also in Texas. . . I don't know how the altitude will impact any of us. We do have a backpack carrier, but she's heavy! We'd rather not use it if we don't have to. I've looked on the RMNP website, but there are so many options, it is overwhelming. If you know of any good hikes that your kids enjoyed, I'd love to hear about them. Thanks again.

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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4. Re: Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

Things to do with kids in RMNP and Estes Park.

Bring crocs or flops and towels for wading in lakes, streams and rivers. The water is frigid but kids want to do this anyway. Be aware that those crystal clear waters are deeper and swifter than they appear.

Create a travel diary or scrapbook. Have paper, child scissors, markers, glue, tape, etc. Document each day of your trip at the end of the day. Look for postcards that reflect that day's activities. At town visitor centers, there are lots of free brochures and you can cut out the pictures that apply to your trip. Your child can draw pictures. You can even cut out the picture from the hotel's brochure. Save a spot for the pictures you take. Your junior ranger booklet can go in the scrapbook.

Bring ziploc bags for collecting treasures. Note, you can not collect treasures in RMNP. The rocks, pine cones, tree leaves, bird feathers, etc. here are all different. Rocks, in particular, are amazing.

Get a child's map of the U.S. and stickers. You will see so many out of state tags. On my great niece's last trip from Texas, in less than a week she had 46 states, 4 provinces in Canada plus Mexico.

Family friendly hiking trails and walks - distances are one-way.

Alluvial Fan from Endovalley Road - .2 mile paved trail from second parking lot. Smell the orange bark of the Ponderosa pines in the picnic area. The waterfall, large rocks and crystal clear water provide endless entertainment. This may be the favorite area for kids in RMNP.

Sprague Lake - .5 mile loop. Look for trout and beavers. Good wading area is on the far side of the lake near the bridge.

Bear Lake - .6 mile loop. Probably the best scenery with the least effort.

Bear Lake TH to Dream Lake - 1.1 miles on the most popular hike in the park.

Gem Lake - 1.8 miles but the boulders at the start and along this trail are perfect for climbing. Kids love it! Forget going very far on the trail (although there are great views), you can't get the kids out of the rocks long enough to get very far up the trail.

Lily Lake - .7 mile loop or 1.1 miles for the Lily Ridge Trail. Take the ridge trail. The views of Longs Peak and Twin Sisters plus the lake below give kids the feel of having climbed a mountain.

Copeland Falls - .3 mile. Easy walk to a waterfall with good flow. Calypso Cascades is 1.5 miles further.

Alberta Falls - .8 miles from Glacier Gorge TH or .9 miles from Bear Lake TH.

Moraine Park Visitor Center and Museum - .6 mile loop with a guide booklet and signs.

Check the park newspaper or at the visitor centers for programs in RMNP for the east side. Become a junior ranger! The booklet is free and kids can earn a RMNP badge.

The Rocky Mountain Nature Association has programs for kids. Cost is generally $10. Programs include treasure hunts, photography, campfire ghost stories, “Who Pooped in the Park?” and other fun topics. www.rmna.org//rmna.cfm…

Estes Park things to do – a great source of information for Estes is www.estesparkcvb.com

There are mini-golf places, go karts, 2 movies theaters and more.

Lake Estes Marina – Rent boats and paddle boats, bikes for the ride around the lake, fishing equipment, etc. The link is below.

Stanley Park is a favorite with kids. Estes Park has a public pool visitors can use. This is the link for the marina, Stanley Park and pool. estesvalleyrecreation.com/district-facilitie…

The Estes Park Museum has a hands on kid friendly section. colorado.gov/cs/…1251607633259

EPIC indoor climbing gym for ages 2 and up

estesparkmountainshop.com/climbing-gym.htm

Horseback riding

www.skhorses.com

www.jacksonstables.com

www.sombrero.com

Fly fishing – I think part of the allure of fly fishing is standing in the water! Kirk’s Fly Shop, Sasquatch Flyfishing and others (see cvb site) can get you going.

The Estes Park Center of the YMCA has plenty of activities. Day passes can be purchased if you are not lodging there. Lodging guests and members have priority. This place is hopping during peak season. http://www.ymcarockies.org

North Fork of the Big Thompson – Continue past the Lumpy Ridge TH (Gem Lake Trail) on CR43/Devil’s Gulch Road toward Glen Haven. There are several very scenic national forest service picnic areas worth exploring. The North Fork is often very shallow in places for wading. Look for trout where the water pools at the Upper Fork picnic area. To continue this scenic route, drive to Drake and take a right through Big Thompson Canyon on highway 34 back to Estes. You may see big horn sheep in the canyon. Round trip driving time from Estes is about 2 hours.

The Riverwalk through Estes and behind the shops on Elkhorn Ave. is a pleasant walk for all ages.

Edited: 20 May 2012, 21:16
Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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5. Re: Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

I copied the above reply from a previous reply and I am not sure why some links did not copy. Here are the links that do not work above.

www.rmna.org/rmna.cfm…

estesvalleyrecreation.com/district-facilitie…

colorado.gov/cs/…1251607633259

rky
Estes Park, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park
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624 posts
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6. Re: Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

Just for the record, I recently had a nightmare experience dealing with the YMCA of the Rockies and I will in no way recommend them for anything. Period. I would especially caution parents who are thinking about letting their children enroll in the summer day camps. The situation was severe enough I removed my child from the YMCA's Bennett program and summer camp due to concerns for her safety.

Denver, CO
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7. Re: Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

The easiest water to try out fly fishing is Sprague Lake. Very easy to drive to (just a few miles into the park), the easiest to walk to (the lake is right by the parking lot) and the easiest to fish (loaded with brook trout). When you first walk to the lake you will see tons of fish right there by the pedestrian bridge. They are plentiful but not aways the easiest to catch. They see a lot of people and lots of lures and flies thrown at them. You may want to bypass these fish and go to the main lake. Those fish are a little larger and they are actually feeding. They are more dispersed but they are fun to catch. Good Luck.

Austin, Texas
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12 posts
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8. Re: Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

Thanks so much to everyone for this great information. Very much appreciated!

9. Re: Best Fly Fishing for Kids?

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