Up until a few weeks ago my daughter's experience catching fish has been with a pink princess rod accessorized with a bobber and Powerbait. In the hopes she would grow up to be my fishing buddy I made absolutely sure that she would catch fish within the first five minutes of casting the "Pink Wonder" out to the hoards eager stockers. After about 30 minutes of fishing we would leave; normally kicking and screaming wanting to fish more.
My trip a few weeks ago was completely different. I left the princess rod at home and brought only the fly rods. We left early in the morning grabbing some breakfast that mom would not approve of. Amelia and I drove a few hours to Tomky Fish Farms only stopping to say hello to the cows along the way. We fished all day long.
At first I was apprehensive. I was about to drain an entire tank of gas with the risk that my toddler would loose interest and want to go home. I was worried we would not catch fish, and my future fishing-buddy-daughter would not want to go fishing again.
When we arrived we greeted the owners, Trace and Sabrina Tomky, a truly amazing couple. Trace gave us a tour and we started fishing within 10 minutes of arrival. I set up Amelia with a folding chair, favorite blankie, juice box and cookies with instructions to watch the little bubble. Within minutes her fly rod was screaming and she had her first fish. Without skipping a beat she posed with her fish and was excited it let it go.
The next fish I caught. While Amelia was watching her bubble, I was using a Wolly Bugger to sweep the water around her. As soon as I hooked it, I handed it over to an eager Amelia. This fish surprised me, for a "fish farm" I was expecting a little bit smaller fish. Again, Amelia reeled in the fish and set it free.
A couple more fish later we sat down for an amazing lunch with the Tomky's. What a fabulous treat to have fresh fish from their ponds, fresh squash, homemade bread covered in raw honey from their bees kept on the ranch.
After lunch Amelia wanted to go out again and catch some more fish. We caught more trout as well as a Largemouth Bass. She loved to mimic what I did. If I netted a fish, the next fish caught she insisted on netting. She watched a roll cast and wanted to try. We snipped off the flies and an impresive roll cast was demonstrated by my daughter.
Amelia walked around a little bit to find rocks to throw in the water. She played with the Tomky's chickens and took a short nap with dad on her blanket. We enjoyed a quick drive on a atv and saw birds we do not normally see in Colorado Springs.
After seven hours of fun I could see she was getting a little bit tired. I started to suggest that we start to go home. This suggestion was met with screaming and crying. All she wanted to do was stay. It was a great day full of bonding. The risk of a toddler on a fly rod was worth it and the reward was amazing. If anyone should see my daughter and me, just ask Amelia if she wants to go fishing. I promise her face will light up every time.
If you want to fish Tomky Fish Farms check them out on Facebook @ Tomky Fish Farms,
Not exactly sure you have what it takes to take your toddler fishing??? Contact me @ (719)Fly
and I will arrange for your family trip, everything down to the M&M's for breakfast. I do not need mother's approval.
Alan Peak is addicted to fishing. By day he is a fly fishing guide and by night he dreams of his next day on the water. You can find him guiding and fishing primarily on the South Platte nearly every day of the week. If Alan is not with his family he is guiding, fishing or tying flies. If you see Alan on the water, say hello! Normally, he ties a half dozen flies of the day for each day for people he meets on the river.