Mar 21, 2019

Creating the Future

Introducing the outdoors to the next generation of sportsmen

By Capt. Lee Haasch

As a young lad, I grew up in the outdoors, fishing, hunting and generally being outside. As I got older, I enjoyed some of the very first outdoors reality shows when I couldn’t be outdoors, often watching “The Fishing Hole, with Jerry McGinnis.” I remembered this because he always ended every show with a segment on taking a kid fishing, a concept I never forgot.

Taking a kid fishing has always been a goal of mine. I often encourage adults to introduce children to the sport of fishing and over the years, and I’ve had numerous occasions to host family outings aboard the Grand Illusion 2.

Over the years I’ve also had the pleasure of hosting multi-generation fishing outings with grandpa, dad and son or daughter coming out and enjoy the sport I so love. Wives and girlfriends are also welcome guests. A little known fact is that women are the fastest-growing segment in not only the fishing industry, but the entire outdoor industry.

Carrying the concept a bit further, I encourage everyone reading this to introduce some youngster to any type of outdoor activity. Hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, birding, camping – the list goes on and on. In this day of technology – computers, Smartphones, internet, satellite television – there are tons of indoor activities competing for children’s attention.

Instead, show them how to use that technology in the outdoors. Smartphones are the best carry-along, trophy picture-taking camera. Computers and the internet allow you to get weather and wave conditions as well as fishing reports. How children use the technology available to them will go a long way toward shaping their future. Realizing that proper use of that technology will help them enjoy the outdoors even more is as important as realizing that using it wisely is far better than making it an everyday pastime for gaming.

Taking kids on the water

I was able to introduce my kids to the outdoors and to fishing at an early age. Their love of the outdoors led them to summer job opportunities in Glacier National Park in Montana and Denali National Park in Alaska. My son, Tyler, is now a manufacturer’s representative on the West Coast for outdoor gear and apparel. My latest prodigy is my nephew Trevor, who has gone all in with the outdoors, fishing with me for the past four seasons and now passing his captain’s license test to continue the fishing tradition. He also hunts and scouts game every chance he gets. Trevor’s strong passion for the outdoors and hunting will take him deep within the outdoor industry someday soon.

Youngsters today need the same opportunities to learn the outdoors like we did growing up. Today’s new technologies keep many youth from experiencing growing up afield or afloat. Not that those modern “techie” things are all bad. They’re not. I use them in my line of work. My boat is equipped with a floating office which enables me to perform business activities afloat and also keep abreast of changing weather conditions. But I also cherish every moment I can spend without the devices and just enjoy the outdoors.

I have fond memories of my father and my grandfather taking us fishing as youngsters – some of the best memories ever. Now I get to experience those moments while viewing dads and grandfathers taking their sons and daughters fishing. I get a brief opportunity to share some knowledge and watch them catch the first or sometimes biggest fish of their lives. I also look forward to the times I get to spend with my grandkids on the water or in the field, just as I did with my kids. Priceless moments I will cherish forever.

Showing kids the woods

Introducing the younger generation to the field can also be rewarding. Memories of my youth and first times afield with my dad are priceless, and I get chills every time I come close to duplicating those events.

I remember weekend mornings when my father took myself and my brothers to his co-worker’s cabin for the day to target shoot and rabbit hunt. Ironically, I was able to take both my son and daughter on an adventurous day rabbit hunting when they were teen-agers along with a co-worker of mine and we had a blast. The dogs chased many rabbits, rabbits were shot, rabbits were missed – but in the end, memories were made that we often talk about to this day.

Many Midwest deer camps have similar stories. To this day I remember going to deer camp with my father for the first time some 45 years ago. I helped work on the cabin in the fall, and later getting to hunt up north for the first time and shoot my first buck at deer camp, the same place my father hunted as a teenager and shot his first of many bucks.

Twenty years later I brought my son, Tyler, on a daytrip to deer camp and he learned first-hand where grandpa shot two bucks that season, and 10 years later he was able to duplicate that same feat. Talk about priceless moments, I can’t wait for the opportunity to spend time afield with my grandchildren!

Why wait for them to become teens and be able to hunt to visit the outdoors? Living in the country has its advantages. We have a trail through the woods that we mow and maintain, and though short, it’s given us opportunities to take our grandchildren on short walks through the woods and show them plants, animals, trees and much more.

They’re small nature walks, but the beginning of life learning adventures. We’ve taken the grandchildren to hunt for mushrooms, wild asparagus, look for deer trails, found turkey eggs, seen rabbits and squirrels, and more. My oldest granddaughter, Olivia, now deer hunts with grandma at her deer camp and even shot her first deer last season.

If you haven’t already, this year would be the perfect time to introduce the next generation to the outdoors. There is so much for them to discover and enjoy and much enjoyment for everyone.

For more information or current fishing reports, visit my website at, follow Haasch Guide Service on Facebook, or call me at 888.966.3474. From Capt. Lee and the crew aboard the Grand Illusion 2, we wish all of you full coolers and hope to see you all on the water. 

Capt. Lee Haasch is a charter captain out of Algoma. Capt. Lee has more than 45 years of Great Lakes angling experience and has been instructing anglers for more than 30 years with education seminars and timely freelance articles in outdoor publications.