My 10 year old granddaughter, Aowyn, is quite the outdoors girl, which definitely makes her grandpa happy. Her dad and I started her fishing for bluegill when she was just 3 years old. She is already pretty proficient with an ultra-light spinning rod and reel.
When she was just 8 years old her dad and I took her and her two younger twin brothers out below Beaver Dam in Northwest Arkansas for their first trout fishing trip. The generators were running quite a bit of water through the dam so we motored downstream about a mile to a large eddy that usually holds some fish at high water.
We were jig fishing with 1/16 oz. sculpin olive marabou jigs and 1/16 oz. black marabou jigs and the fish were biting really well for the high water conditions. Aowyn loves to eat fish as well as catch them so she was really interested in catching some to eat. The river has a 13 inch to 16 inch slot, which for all practical purposes means that we were only going to keep trout below 13 inches.
To my surprise Aowyn managed to hook and land 2 trout in the first 30 minutes of fishing completely unassisted except for the de-hooking part. Unfortunately both fish were in the slot and had to be released. Then she brought another trout to the net that was under 13 inches and she held it up proudly, looked at it with no remorse and said “sorry buddy, gotta roast you”, then she chunked it in the cooler and kept casting. Voluntary “catch and release” lessons would have to wait for another day.