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photo by Ryan Michelle Scavophoto by Ryan Michelle Scavo

Fishing is a lifelong passion for so many of us. From childhood to adulthood, we progress through chapters along the way. For me, when I became pregnant with my son, I was beyond excited to instill an appreciation (ok, addiction) for fishing at an early age. If only I knew what that really meant.

Here are five things I have learned from fishing with my toddler.

Always bring snacks ... Always.

We stock up before hitting the water - whether it's for 5 minutes or 5 hours. Water bottles, healthy treats, and tasty goodies mix in the fishing pack with the fly boxes, floatant, and nippers; and, honestly, I probably wouldn't have it any other way. Food is Queen on the water, and you don't want to be caught without it. Also, moms, listen up: Candy and gummy treats (a.k.a bribery) deter rock throwing...for a little while, anyway.

Your fish is their fish

I didn't realize how early those far-fetched "fishing stories" started until I had a two-year-old. I might be the one who casts the fly, strips the line, and nets whatever is on the other end, but it's my son's fish. Every time.

photo by - Ryan Michelle Scavo

Gear doesn't matter

We have the fanciest of fly rods and the most busted bait casters. Regardless of what gear your little one uses, you need to be able to check one box: Able to catch fish. My son has bashed rod tips, lost indicators, and dropped reels from Colorado to Pennsylvania. If you're planning to let the little one hold the rod while you're on the water, prepare yourself for mishaps and scuffed gear. Just remember: dirty gear means used gear and memories made.

It's not the size of the fish, it's the fact that it IS a fish

Almost nothing beats the stoke a little kid has when fish are on the line. The best part about it? They couldn't care less about how many inches are present or missing! Whether it's a little fingerling trout or big ole largemouth bass, all that matters is it's a living, breathing, wet-scaled fish, and they were there to see it to the net.

photo by - Ryan Michelle Scavo

Time on the water is priceless

I didn't grow up fishing. I remember wanting to fish and our family probably hit the local lake a handful of times, but it wasn't an every day or every weekend occurrence. On the other hand, I'm on the river weekly (ok, every other day, if I'm honest) with my kiddos. Hearing my son say "Mama, let's go fish" as I'm picking him up from daycare makes my heart sing. They say these moments are fleeting, but I think being a fish-chasing wild child might stick with this little guy (and his sister).