S4:E4 Fly Fishing on a Family Vacation

Fly fishing on a family vacation is a nice idea in theory but often impractical in reality. Often, you simply make the family unhappy with you. In this fun episode, we regale each other with family vacations gone awry and offer a few practical ideas for fly fishing on a family vacation. You may want to have your family listen to this episode with you. Or maybe not!

Listen now to Fly Fishing on a Family Vacation

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15 Replies to “S4:E4 Fly Fishing on a Family Vacation”

  1. I am around trout water so seldom, that when we go to Southwest Colorado to see my in-laws, it is very difficult to find time to fish, while also not being a bad guest. What I finally figured out is this: Instead of panicking and trying to find a couple of hours here and there (and usually being disappointed with the results), I plan on a solid day of fishing. I spend a good bit of time before -hand splitting and stacking firewood for my father in law, helping with projects around the house, spending time with my wife and others on the trip – just being a part of the family. But I make sure they know that I will be on Big Blue Creek chasing brookies for good day. And that may be the only fishing I do on that trip. I make sure (especially if fishing solo) that they know where I will be and roughly what time I plan on being back.

    The quality of my un-rushed fishing is so much better than when I used to scramble for every bit of time on the water I could find.

    1. Terrific comment. Very wise. I would struggle to get out only once, but in the end, it’s what works for the entire family. Lots of good vibes from the father in law, too, when you stick around to help out.

      Thank you for your comment!


  2. Guys, great episode as always (fishing on family vacation) and timely for me. Each summer my family and I go on a 2 week road trip around the west (leaving from Boulder CO). This year we will be going through Jackson, then up through Grand Teton and north through Yellowstone NP and out at West Yellowstone. We’ll then continue up the Gallatin gateway, staying a few nights at red Cliff campground just south of Big Sky. Luckily for me my family supports my habit (fly fishing!). My wife loves to run and ride Mt. Bikes so we trade off with our activities. Sometime they will come with me and like around or just sit and relax with a good book. Still, I’m limited to about 4 hours (my choice, as I start to feel guilty) at a time. The key is balance. I may fish one day but spend the next two days just focused on family activities. Our other activitiy is Rock climbing, which the whole family likes to do, so finding and activities that everyone likes to do is also key.

    I also wanted to thank you for the Tenkara mention in this episode. Tenkara is that weird uncle of the fly fishing world. Sometime I do get made fun of! Anyway, I mostly Tenkara fish, especially on my local waters around the Front Range, RMNP, and Fraser/Grand lake area. I’m hooked. So fun to pull in a trout with a dry fly on a Tenkara rod. I mostly use my rod and reel for nymphing and bid water and my Tenkara rod for everything else (creeks and small streams).

    I have a recommendation for and episode which I will get to in a minute, but I was wondering if you might have a recommendation for a half day place to fly fish in Yellowstone NP? I know you guys know that area well. Anywhere from the south entrance to West Yellowstone. Any must fish places if I only have that one day?My family may just hang around with me or I can drop the in West Yellowstone.

    Now to that recommendation. Have you done an episode on confrontation with other fly fishers or what to do when someone is doing something illegal, if anything. I’ve recently had a bad experience with a fellow fly fisher. To make a long story short, I scrambled down a bank to fish a regular hole unaware that another fly fisher was already there. I was friendly and asked if he was having any luck. He didn’t answer. He just starred me down. knew he wasn’t pleased to see me. He then barked “go fish somewhere else”. I told him I would move down river a ways. He said “no you are not. Go somewhere else”. I said I wasn’t planning on being in his way. He got agitated and began yelling at me. This was I a Saturday and every hole was filled. Unfortunately, I took his bait and got agitated back at him. Lost my cool a bit and told him he didn’t own the creek and said I was staying although I would have gladly moved on if he wasn’t such a jerk. I could tell he would have resorted to violence so I left. Shaken, but in one piece. I was so distraught that I didn’t fish for a week or so although I notmally fish 3-4 times per week. That was my first really bad experience with another fly fisher, which in my opinion are generally a great bunch of people.

    I also witnessesed someone fishing today with bait and keeping the fish in a catch and release artificial fly and lures body of water. I was shocked and didn’t say anything. I should have but I was a bit stage shy after my episode above. What would have been the right thing to do? I didn’t want to call the division of wildlife, but maybe I should have. So maybe you can have an episode on your ‘bad’ experiences while fly fishing and what you did or wish you would have done.

    Great podcast. Maybe best on the internet. You guys sound fun. Wish you were my fishing buddies!

    Best regards. Gary felix, Boulder, CO.

    1. Gary, I wish I had seen this sooner. Dave and I have been “out of circulation” much of July. In fact, I was in Montana the past 2 weeks. I used to fly fish alot around Red Cliff campground. It’s good dry fly water, although the pressure on it seems to intensify. You might try fishing Fan Creek just off of 191 (BUT CARRY BEAR SPRAY!). As far as a half day trip in Yellowstone, I’d ask the guys in Blue Ribbon Flies or Jacklin’s in West Y. The Madison doesn’t produce as well in the summer. If you’ve over near Tower Fall, you can walk down to the Y-Stone and fish up river. I’d suggest walking around the bend (that will be obvious) and starting there. Let us know how you do.

  3. Interesting topic. I have to admit I’ve gone on family vacations and taken the fly rod . Now that being said On a trip to Yellowstone I did purchase a license for other family members that consisting of the Male members of the family. To get around this I gave the Mrs the credit card so she could take the female members to West Yellowstone to go shopping. Turned out to be very spendy fishing trip but what’s a guy going to do ? I mean its Yellowstone for crying outloud. Worth every dime I mean Ben Franklin.

    1. I was just in West Yellowstone last week. My wife is very happy to shop there, too, while I fly fish. The problem is that she’s done shopping before I’m done fly fishing!

  4. I am a little behind on the podcast, but just finish this one and have this advise. I have been able to fish in South Dakota and Colorado on family vacations, by going out early. My family sleeps in and if I get out and home by 10am we still have time for the family stuff. Works for me.

    1. That’s a great approach, Bob! I was just on a small river in Montana where there was a terrific caddis hatch when the sun hit the water (about 7:45 a.m. because it was in a canyon). It was done by 9:30 a.m. or earlier.

  5. ANOTHER great podcast with lots of insight. We just returned from a 10 fly fishing vacation. Had a great time, but the one thing I learned is that I don’t deal with altitude as well as I used to. We live at sea level, and going up 11,000 feet in one day wasn’t fun. In the future, when we do this, we are building in days to acclimate.

    Thank you for all you do, and keep ’em coming!

    1. Great point, Roger! Those in the midwest or east need to factor in altitude when planning for a trip to the west–especially in Colorado since the elevations there run higher than in Montana.

      1. Just listened to the recent podcast. Thanks for making me part of it!

        For years I have wanted to take my wife to the Durango area for a fishing vacation. Needless to say, she has been resistant. Some of her friends recently went, and after seeing pictures of their fish, she’s all in now. It’s a done deal. We’ll be going next summer!

  6. I listened to the podcast on Fly Fishing on a Family Vacation and thought it was sound advise. Fortunately I didn’t follow it! For our 36 anniversary my wife said I could pick the trip. Of course I chose a fly fishing trip in the NC Mountains. She was reluctant but once she brought a 23″ rainbow to the net I was husband of the year. Keep up the great work, love the podcast and book.

    Tight lines.

    1. I love this, Doug! That was a bold decision, and it paid off 🙂 I guess it’s a win for everyone if another family member (besides the one who wants to fly fish most) catches the largest trout on a family vacation or an anniversary trip!

  7. My wife’s “LAST” fishing trip w/ me was memorable. I booked a trip w/ a guide in No. Ca to fish for steelhead in the morning on the Feather River and fish for shad in the afternoon on the Lower Sac. Made reservations at a nice RV park w/ all hookup & close to town so she could walk during the day. 1st mistake: town was not in walking distance.
    Met the guide at sunrise at the boat ramp. Launched & was about 1/2 mile down river when my cell phone rang. Usually I leave my phone in the truck but forgot. Unknown caller on ID turned out to be my wife. She got up to walk the dog & locked herself out of the trailer! She was using the neighbors cell phone to call. Our drift would take us right by the RV park but naturally I had left the trailer keys in my truck. Guide begins to row back to the launch when I remember the bike door on the trailer. Have wife try that door & gratefully it was unlocked. Neighbor has to boost her into bike door but beside embarrassment was A OK. But 2nd moment for her.
    Fish the morning returned for lunch and left for shad fishing.
    Shad fishing went very well except we did not get off the river until 9 pm! Did not know in advance that trip would go that late!! Back to trailer at 10 pm. Wife not happy to say the least! 3rd mistake.
    2nd days fishing was the same just w/o the lock out. But still late return. Wife really not happy now!
    Next day we toured the area doing all I can to make up. But that was the last time she agreed to go on a fishing only trip. Now she stays home & I call 1-800-Flowers for a delivery while I’m gone.

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