The Mayfly Project’s standard program is to mentor a foster child through five sessions we call “stages”, just like the life cycle of a Mayfly.  Within these stages, the children learn line management, casting techniques, knot tying, some etymology, river safety, mending tactics, hook setting, catch and release tactics, and the value of conservation. At the end of the five stages the child is given his or her very own fly rod, reel, pack, fly box, flies, tippet, indicators, etc.  Our hope is for the child to continue to pursue fly fishing and to have a tool to access the outdoors.  Each project is unique and may contain more or less stages, but the goal is to provide a well-rounded and safe fly fishing experience for children in foster care. 



Egg Stage – Introduction to fly fishing and ice breaker games! This is the time to get to know the kids, let them know how much fun they will have, and to help them build some trust in you as a mentor. Sometimes you tie flies during this phase as well.

Nymph Stage – This phase includes instructing mentees on casting, line management, flies, and setting up a rod. This takes place in public, near local water and should take around 2 hours.

Emerger Stage – This phase includes more fun casting practice, education on reading waters, water safety, tying knots, mending the line and explaining various fly patterns (nymphs, emergers, dry flies, etc.). The children should have an opportunity to catch blue gill or bass, or stocked trout at this point. Teach setting the hook and catch and release tactics.

Dun Stage – This session is geared towards getting a fish on the line of the child, any way possible. Take them to a location fully stocked with fish. The goal is to make sure the child has experienced success with a fly rod. Finish this session with more casting practice if needed. Teach about invasive species and taking care of the rivers (lead mentor will be in charge of this).

Big Catch Stage– This final phase is geared towards a full day fishing trip. Either a float trip or fishing a local river. The goal for this trip is to not only have a fun day away from their normal routines, but to show the child how fun fly fishing and the outdoors can be. Children receive all of their own gear at this outing, to take home with them!  



Mentee Curriculum—each child will receive their own mentee curriculum that will include ‘Characteristics of an Angler’, and all things fly fishing. This book is to be used parallel with the button incentive program and as directed by your lead mentor.


Fly Tying

Casting Button

Catch and Release

Wash your Boots

Knot Tying


Keep Our Rivers Clean

Fish On

As part of our Conservation Initiative, youths will be able to earn buttons throughout the program. Check with your lead mentor to find out more about this incentive program and how it works throughout the project process.

Art of Tying

Woolly Bugger

Pheasant Tail


Art of Tying Program—We have packaged tying materials for youth to tie wooly buggers, Girddle Bugs, or Hares Ears. Not every project will tie, but we would like to encourage our projects to introduce the fun of fly tying and we have supplies to support these efforts. Talk with your lead mentor to find out more details. Each child will receive instructions in their tying kits and we also have YouTube videos available for you to follow or for foster youth to follow as needed.

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