For live and premium content, sign up for our email newsletter and we'll send reports directly to your inbox
Subscribers who saw our report last month on family fishing trips will remember that we ended the report with a call for more input from agents. Well, Jason Elkins at Orvis Travel has heeded that call and sent us the following comment. Indeed, just because you have kids, young or old, does not mean you have to give up going fishing away from home. Elkins writes:
Fly fishermen planning a vacation with kids and a spouse should avail themselves of our services here at Orvis Travel. Our travel planners have a depth of knowledge about a variety of destinations, and that is crucial in helping families find the right place. A family with young children has different needs than a multigenerational group that may include adult children and their spouses. Our experienced travel planners spend a lot of time finding out about a family’s composition before making recommendations.
New lodges are aware of the need for multidimensional appeal, and there are some great choices out there. One of my favorites is Patagonia Sur’s Valle California ranch in Chile, which has horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and cultural activities, in addition to excellent guided fly fishing. They even have a helicopter to ferry guests to and from all activities. The owners have young children of their own, and that has helped them create one of the most sophisticated destinations in the Andes. It’s a place that appeals to guests whether they fly fish or not. I scouted it last year with my own 20-something son and we shared excursions with two families that included kids from eight to 25 years.
Small-ship cruises that include quality fly fishing attract a lot of Orvis Travel customers. Our Alaska cruises with the Boat Company tend to attract families with older kids, but some of the departures are specifically designated “family” trips with younger kids in mind. Labeling the trips that way makes it easier for them to cater to children, while allowing older guests to steer clear of those departures if they choose. Our heli-fishing cruises in Chile have always been popular with families, but they tend to be multigenerational families with “kids” in their 20s or older.
African game-viewing safaris with fishing included attract a lot of well-traveled families. At least one family has already booked our Zambezi Safari this September. It offers fly fishing on the Zambezi River along with game viewing. Non-anglers on this trip have a full schedule of viewing African wildlife by boat, foot, or vehicle. When not fly fishing, the anglers on the trip can join the rest of the family. The trip provides an opportunity for a classic photo safari that includes something for the fly fisherman, too.
Budget is an issue with many families with young kids, and we have located resorts in the Bahamas that are less expensive than dedicated fly fishing lodges. Pelican Bay Resort on Grand Bahama Island, for example, provides terrific guided fishing, lots for nonanglers to do, and a range of off-site restaurants that won’t break the bank. The trick is knowing which resorts really have good fishing available, and that is where an experienced, impartial travel planner can help.
At the other extreme is the “multigenerational” family group that may include grandparents, adult siblings, their spouses, and older kids. These groups often want upscale lodges where fine wine and gourmet food create a celebratory scene. Firehole Ranch in Montana is just one of the many Orvis-endorsed lodges where entire families can gather for a gourmet dinner in a casual ranch setting after a day of fly fishing. The fly fishing available at Firehole Ranch includes trophy streams such as the Madison. Non-fishing guests can make daytrips to Yellowstone Park and enjoy other activities.
No matter one’s budget, the Orvis Web site is a valuable resource for traveling families. We have more than 150 lodges and outfitters listed there that we’ve vetted for quality. Most families want help with international destinations, which is where Orvis travel planners come in, but the angler seeking a few days of fishing on a family vacation in the United States or Canada will find our list of guides and outfitters on the Web site an excellent starting place.
We realize, of course, that there are some places where families with young children and/or non-fishing companions don’t fit in: hardcore fishing lodges, for example, with no other activities, or lodges that enforce a minimum age based on the physical demands of fishing their water. Again, that’s where working with an experienced travel planner can help you make the right decision.
Postscript: For more information, contact Jason Elkins at Orvis Travel, 800- 547-4322. The Web address is www.orvis.com/adventures.