In my earlier post, I mentioned how my son David enjoyed fly fishing with me. Another thing he has enjoyed is tying his own flies. At first, I was a bit hesitant when David was very young and expressed an interest in fly tying. I certainly didn't want him fumbling with his fingers and having the pointy edge of a fishing hook going through. But he did very well! Over the years, we have done some fly tying together, and one of the things I did was to make sure I put the very first flies we tied together into an envelope, never to be actually used.
That envelope sits in my desk drawer and I've marked the date on the front. We've had a lot of fun.
If you want to teach kids to tie flies, you do need to have some patience. They are not going to get it right the first time, all by themselves. In fact, the first several times David tied flies, he actually helped me instead of tying his own at his own vice. When he was three years old, "helping Dad" gave him a sense of pride and pleasure and I let him think he was doing most of the work. If you can start them off at an early age, there is a good chance it will be a hobby they might always enjoy!
When we first started off, there were too many fingers in the way for any hope of tying flies quickly, but I expected that. Instead, you anticipate the fun you'll have with your child, and make the time to absolutely enjoy it! Production fly tying is not what it is about when your teaching your children but forming great memories and having some special collectibles for later in their age.
Today, David has his own fly box with a variety of flies that he has tied either on his own or with my help. What a moment it was the day he opened his fly box up and said, "I just love my flies!" And looked at me with pride in his eyes.
Chironomids are actually good patterns to start with when teaching children to fly fish as they are usually fairly simple and don't use a lot of variety of materials. But of course, they may not be as "pretty" as some other more complicated patterns. But that's ok - whatever they tie up, either on their own or by themselves, it will be a joy when they catch a fish with one or more.
Here's the video of David, wanting to teach other kids how to tie up a Wooley Bugger. It was done when he was 7 years old, and there is a bit of coaching by me that you will probably hear in the background, but nonetheless, we had a good time together making it: