When we stayed at The Resort at Squaw Creek this summer I learned about a terrific kids fly fishing program run right at the resort. I interviewed the owner of the program, Matt Heron, for details. There are so many great kid-friendly activities in Lake Tahoe. I’m adding this to my list!
Fly fishing in Lake Tahoe. Photo Credit Matt Heron Fly Fishing
What is Matt Heron Fly Fishing?
I am the owner and operator of Matt Heron Fly Fishing. MHFF is a full service fly fishing education program (or fly fishing school), geared for everyone … kids, adults, beginners and experts. I offer nine different classes on property at the Resort at Squaw Creek ranging from a simple hour and a half casting, or fly tying class, to the “Sundowner,” a half day fly fishing class that covers everything from A-Z.
I have two ponds at the resort that I stock with rainbow trout that range from 10-24 inches. Having stocked ponds at my disposal is makes for a great learning avenue because catch rates for beginners can be high.
I also have the Fly Fishing Center, a unique Yurt on property that is the classroom for the program. All fly tying and power point presentation classes are held there.
It has quickly turned into one of the top fly fishing programs in the country, consisting of over 100 classes, and well over 200 students in June, July and August alone.
What is the best age for kids to learn about fly fishing and what are your most popular classes for families?
I would say the optimal age for kids to start fly casting would be around 10. It can be very challenging for kids younger than that to have the strength and coordination to cast a fly rod. With that said, I do have a few light weight spinning rods on hand as a back up plan to fly fishing. It usually works out that I will assist the kids with the cast, and they will get to do the “catching” part. I never say no to a child, no matter the age. In fact, I’m taking out a three year old tomorrow with his parents. In that case, it’s more about him experiencing what fishing is, rather than learning to fly fish.
One of my most popular kid’s classes has nothing to do with casting a fly rod, it’s about the bugs. My “Creek Creatures” class is a short 20 min power point presentation about aquatic macro invertebrates, with lots of big, colorful pictures … Followed by about an hour of hands on bug sampling in the Truckee River. Kids in this class are usually 7-16 years old (the parents are always encouraged to join). When they are on the younger side, adult supervision is required. Kids like nothing more than getting wet in a river, and catching what could be thousands of bugs.
Is Lake Tahoe a good venue for fly fishing?
Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area comprise one of the most beautiful outdoor class rooms anywhere in the world. We are fortunate to have lots of cold, clean, oxygenated rivers that are a haven for many aquatic bug species, this intern leads to large numbers of healthy fish, and of course that equals great fly fishing! Most of the fish we catch are rainbow and brown trout.
What is your fishing background?
I’ll let the “About Matt” section of my website tell my fishing background. I started fishing when I was three, and started fly fishing when I was ten. I have been fly fishing for about 19 years. I got started at the resort when in late 2006; they asked me to run my program as a full time job in the spring, summer and fall.
How do your classes work?
All of my classes run from $75-300 per person. The Creek Creatures class is $75. The “Sundowner” is $300. I always encourage adults and kids to bring a hat, sun screen, polarized sunglasses, and of course a camera … and lots of questions!
Check out http://www.mattheronflyfishing.com for more information about the program, along with information on our clinics.
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