Teach a person to fish ...

We’ve all heard the saying a thousand times:

“Give a person a fish, and they will eat for a day. But teach a person to fish, and they will eat for a lifetime.”

Usually, it’s used as a metaphor. But recently, I had a chance to teach a fishing class, and I was pleased to discover the truth behind the proverb:

There are few things more rewarding than sharing something you love with others.

My class, “Stop Fishing, Start Catching,” was part of Community Learning at The College of Idaho, a new program that allows community members of all ages to take non-credit classes on all sorts of fun topics.

“Stop Fishing, Start Catching” began with two weeknight sessions in the classroom. The course had eight enrollees — two College of Idaho students, a married couple from Boise, and four Treasure Valley adults from varying walks of life. There was a wide range of fishing experience in the room, but everyone showed up excited to learn and share their knowledge.

The night classes were two hours long. With a slideshow and hands-on activities, we covered everything from fish species to knots, gear, lures, bait and how to identify good fishing spots.

On both nights, we stayed well past the appointed hour, telling fish stories, trading secrets and answering questions. It was awesome seeing students’ eyes light up as they took advice to heart, jotted down favorite tidbits and made plans for new fishing adventures.

On the third and final day of class, we put our new knowledge into action and went fishing.

The Snake River was a bit higher than usual, which made bank access tricky. Fortunately, we were blessed with a warm October Saturday, and many of the anglers enthusiastically waded out to find the best holes.

The day started with a bang when one student, Marc, landed a beautiful smallmouth bass on a crankbait. Marc brought his young son along for the trip, and they had a heck of a day. Something tells me they have many father-son fishing outings to look forward to together.

The husband-wife duo, Jeff and Jocelyn, also caught some bass. And they were so excited to continue trying out new techniques that, after a lunch break, they went back out and spent the afternoon on the Payette River.

One of the highlights of the day was watching Elyse, a College of Idaho student, catch her very first fish on her own. After several bait-stealing bites, she emerged victorious.

“This is the best day of my life!” she sang as she held up an olive-green smallmouth for a photo.

And that is pretty much how I feel every time I catch a fish. I’m grateful I got to share that feeling with eight new fishing buddies — and I’ll be sure to save you a front-row seat in my next class.

Tight lines!

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at