Introducing youngsters to fishing takes preparation, practice and patience—but their first catch could get them “hooked” for life.
One of the greatest things about being a parent is that you get the opportunity to experience “firsts” all over again through the eyes of your children.
Their first bike ride. Their first kiss. Their first time in hip waders.
Okay, maybe only a fishing parent understands the pride in that last achievement. Someone like David Bowling, whose teenage daughter, Jordan, recently experienced trout fishing for the first time during a Trout Unlimited-sponsored kids fishing event in the tailwaters below TVA’s Norris Dam.
“She really enjoyed the fly tying and casting, but the fish just weren’t cooperating,” says Bowling. “Slow fishing days are always a challenge, but you’ve got to learn to take the bad with the good.”
Jordan and her sister were introduced to fishing early. Their father bought each a Tennessee Sportsman License on their first birthday.
“I’ve fished for just about everything in my life from night fishing for walleye to trout fishing in the Smokies,” Bowling says. “I wanted to the girls to have an appreciation for the Tennessee Valley’s waters, which have some of the best fishing in the world.”
He should know. Bowling’s “day job” is to lead TVA’s River Management group, and his team is directly responsible for ensuring that those fishing environments are there for this generation—and the next…and the next.
Ready to introduce your child to that outdoor wonderland? Follow Bowling’s recommendations:
Where you move on to from there is up to the child and parent but there is something for everyone in the Valley. Maybe it’s bass or crappie, walleye or catfish, and even those elusive trout that Jordan missed at Norris.
Want to know where to go for information about licensing and other fishing-related rules? Here’s a list of wildlife and fisheries departments for each of the seven Valley states.
It’s always a good time for fun on the Tennessee Valley’s lands and waters. Not sure where to start? We have you covered! Check out some of the best recreational activities on our reservoirs. While you’re enjoying the lakes, trails, picnic areas and campgrounds, share your own stories and photos on Instagram using #TVAfun.
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