If You Give a Teenager a Fly Rod

by Kaitlin Barnhart

Kaitlin has a BA in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University and has recently taken a sabbatical from her career to raise her three lovely children, ages 3, 5, and 7. Kaitlin currently writes for Idaho Life Magazines, Boise Life, Dun Magazine, Kype Magazine, and also for her personal blog, Awkward Mamma Adventures. She uses her blog as a tool to encourage women to find adventure and to haul the kids into the great outdoors. Kaitlin is active in the fly fishing community and strongly believes that women need to fish to find their sanity.


10985917_10205238532114305_7846223944088507300_nIf you give a teen a fly rod, they’ll probably want a reel to go with it.

When they see the reel, they will wonder if it makes them look cool… So they will want to take a selfie.

When they take a selfie, it will remind them that they haven’t checked their facebook for ten minutes, so they will start to look for cell service. And when they start to look for cell service, everyone will laugh at them.

When everyone laughs at them, they’ll realize that they are in the great outdoors. This will make the teen ponder their existence and wonder how animals live. And that will remind them they want to catch a trout.

When they learn how to cast a fly, they will jump and smile bigger than when they got their first Iphone. The feeling of happines will remind them that learning new things makes them feel good.

So then they will want to know everything about fish, about bugs, about pocket water, about knots, and then they will desperately want to catch a trout with their fly rod.

And when they think about their fly rod, they will realize it has been four hours since they went to check their facebook, or thought about a boy.

Chances are, if they don’t care about checking their facebook, they will be a fly addict for life.

(Basis from If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, by Laura Numeroff, Children’s Literature).

Visit Kaitlin’s Blog at

About Kaitlin’s Teenager:

The teenager in this story is a 14–year-old I have been privileged to take to the river and become friends with through some of her bigger life changes. What I love about seeing her on the river, and teaching her how to fly fish, is I know for a moment those big life decisions and problems are tucked away in her mind. For a moment, she is free to just be a fly fisherwoman on the river, learning, and gaining small victories. I hope those small victories will give her the courage to face the bigger obstacles in her teenage life and I know the river will give her a peace she can always go back to when life seems uncertain. I’m honored to be a part of her story and so thankful to the fly fishing community for donating fly fishing gear to her and giving her a fly rod that she can cherish.

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