Family travel five: Reel adventures

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Casper, WY and Wellston, MI are some of the prominent fly-fishing destinations in the country. - Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

When the time is right to pursue a family fly-fishing adventure, know you’ll soon wake up in some of the country’s most pristine places. You may catch and release the fish, but will savor the memories for a lifetime.

Here are five destinations to consider:

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1. Casper, Wyo.

With plenty of wide-open space at the ready, this central Wyoming town is a vibrant hub for outdoor adventure. Home to the North Platte River, which provides year-round fly-fishing opportunities, Casper has become a bucket-list destination for avid and aspiring anglers. The river sits below five reservoirs, enabling consistent water flows and temperature, thus manifesting a stable fishing habitat. You’ll hear enthusiastic talk and big fish stories that originate on specific stretches of the river, including the Miracle Mile and Grey Reef. But for family travelers it’s good to know there is also Blue Ribbon water flowing right through the heart of town, with plenty of public access points available. Appreciate the legendary waterway in a different way via the Platte River Trail system, which threads through the community for 11 miles. The paved paths provide access to wildlife watching, mountain views and public art.

Contact: www.VisitCasper.com; https://greyreefanglers.com

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2. The Florida Keys

Chase big bonefish, tarpon and permit in the Florida Keys, one of the world’s top spots for saltwater fly-fishing. Practice your side casting and work on that double haul. Then prepare to be mesmerized by the reefs, flats and blue waters of these southern waters. Islamorada, comprised of six islands and billed as the “sport fishing capital of the world,” is a popular spot for eager anglers. It’s said backcountry and saltwater fly-fishing were launched in this Florida community. Key Largo, the longest island in the archipelago, is said to host more than 600 species of fish.

Contact: www.fla-keys.com

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3. Steamboat Springs, Colo.

An outdoor lover’s paradise, Steamboat offers family fly-fishing opportunities on the Yampa River. Spend the morning testing a few trout-rich holes before taking the remainder of the day to bike or explore the historic Western enclave.

Ask a local guide to lead the way for a multisport adventure, combining a short hike with the opportunity to cast a line into the pristine streams, lakes and reservoirs that dot the region.

Contact: steamboatchamber.org; www.colorado.com

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4. Wellston, Mich.

Introduce your family to the joys of fly-fishing in the north woods of Michigan. The scenic and diverse Au Sable River originates north of Grayling and winds for more than 100 miles before meeting Lake Huron.

A “fly-fishing only” section of the river flows past Burton’s Landing and is known as the “Holy Water” for its productive riffles and trout-filled pools. Team up with a local outfitter for instruction designed for young anglers.

Contact: puremichigan.com

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5. Jackson County, N.C.

With more than 3,000 miles of trout streams and 1,100 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in the mountains alone, North Carolina is a fly-fishing haven. Home to the nation’s only designated fly-fishing trail, the Western North Carolina Fly-Fishing Trail takes anglers to 15 prime spots in the Great Smoky Mountains to cast a line. Expect a variety of options from wide-open rivers to small, secluded streams. The heart of the trail, the Tuckasegee River, or the “Tuck” as it’s known by locals, is the county’s largest body of water. Designed by two outdoorsmen and fly-fishing guides, the trail is an ideal way for fly-fishers of all skill levels and ages to learn the art of fly-fishing.

Contact: www.flyfishingtrail.com; www.discoverjacksonnc.com

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(Lynn O’Rourke Hayes (www.LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com

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©2020 Lynn O'Rourke Hayes