Snoqualmie Valley Youth Fishing Charters marks milestone

The company has taught over 250 kids how to fish since 2020.

With summer break just around the corner, Snoqualmie Valley Youth Fishing Charters is gearing up to head out and continue their mission of getting kids off their devices and into nature.

Over the last five years, Charles Finney and his business partner Caleb Dalgleish — both past Mount Si High School graduates — have taught over 250 kids the skills necessary to catch fish.

“We started this during the pandemic when I kind of realized that getting outside and cherishing the beauty around us was such a crucial part of my childhood, and kids weren’t necessarily doing that as much anymore,” Finney said. “They were so focused on TikTok or Fortnite or whatever it was, and it really drove our passion to share a mentally healthy experience with them and hopefully see them catch their first fish.”

Finney, a licensed charter fisherman, “was born with a fly rod in [his hand] and fishing in his blood.” Growing up, he fished along the South Fork River in Snoqualmie and spent as much time outside exploring as possible. Now, he leads two-hour sunset charter expeditions two to three times a week.

Two clients at a time — ages 4 to 17 — are taught the logistics, rules and regulations of fishing. Parents typically accompany their child, but it’s not required.

“It’s really about safety, handling the fish, learning to reel a rod and put a lure on, all while boating on the beautiful backdrop of Rattlesnake Lake,” Finney said. “And, hopefully, we have a fish in the net by the end of the trip.”

Finney said 30 to 40 percent of his clients are returning customers – many of whom use the charter trips as birthday presents for their kids.

“Seeing the smile on these kids’ faces after catching their first rainbow trout at Rattlesnake Lake is like the peak Pacific Northwest experience in my mind,” Finney said. “That’s definitely what has kept us going over the last five years.”

Snoqualmie Valley Youth Fishing Charters provides all of the necessary equipment and will clean and deliver any fish caught during a trip to the client. The two-hour trip costs $90 per participant.

While Finney and his clients typically meet at the Rattlesnake boat launch during the summer, he plans to offer fly fishing on the local rivers and bottom fishing lessons in Puget Sound later this year.

Finney looks forward to continuing his mission of keeping kids off their devices while having more conversations with them about the health benefits of being in nature.

“My end goal for these trips is that they gain enough confidence to go out and fish on their own,” Finney said. “Past clients of mine can reach out with any questions about spots to go to, and what kind of roads they should get. I am happy to answer any questions.”

For more information about the charters, visit Snoqualmie Valley Youth Fishing Charter’s Facebook page.