Freshwater fishing fun for children and adults alike

Wet a line and teach a child about the outdoors


Kids having fun fishing(51821)Credit: sierrasportsmen



My anxious grip on a fishing pole as a bobber broke the water and resurfaced twice before its last descent on a hooked yellow perch is a vivid childhood memory.

The first fish I ever caught will always go down as one of my favorites. Although that bony panfish ended up in the dish of our neighbor's cat and not on my wall, that catch is in my memories and is one of the reasons I still go freshwater fishing every summer.

Learning how to fish freshwater ponds and lakes is a thrilling adventure for children. Taking a child out to the water to cast a line can lead to a lifelong hobby of outdoor appreciation and give parent and child a great way to connect and create lifelong memories.

Freshwater fishing for children is easy to start, relatively inexpensive and accessible in most areas of the country. Local bait and tackle shops are the best sources of information about successful place, enticing bait and sturdy equipment.

First and foremost, freshwater fishing is about fun! A child, like my yellow perch, will remember and cherish the first fish as if it were a trophy bass.

Equipped, but not excessive

Needs are simple: bait, line and rod. There is no need to equip yourself as if you're standing on your boat competing for Bassmaster Classic championships. It is good to test gear before heading out to the lake or pond. For a child, a worm and a hook with an attached bobber. Half the fun in fishing with a worm, can come in the pursuit of the slinking bait around the yard or you can often buy at bait shops. Other tackle box needs may include lead sinkers, swivels, pliers and line.

Be safe 

Safety is important in any activity, but the water is especially dangerous for those with little or no experience on the shore. Respect the water and the dangers that lurk. Remember bug spray, suntan lotion and a First Aid kit to help protect your child from sunburn, insect bites and the normal cuts and bruises.

License to lead 

It is important to know state and local laws before bringing your child freshwater fishing. Children under the age of 18 do not usually need any form of license, but be sure to buy yours. Although it would make as an interesting show-and-tell story for your child, you don't need to receive a citation on your child's first fishing adventure.

Pack a picnic 

Turning freshwater fishing into an outdoor excursion with a hike to the fishing hole and picnic lunch only increases the outdoor experience. As a child, I had one hand clutching the fishing rod and another with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but a picnic lunch can also offer an attention break from watching the bobber move on the water.

Practice patience, but preach nothing 

Some kids will patiently wait out that first nibble, but others will have attention stray to a fluttering butterfly or bounding frog. It is best to resist trying to keep up your child’s attention on fishing. Sometimes a child can lose interest in fishing in a matter of minutes, but forcing the child to keep on task will only bring negative, not positive, energy to the sport.

Know your spots

If the area is unfamiliar or you are new to freshwater fishing yourself, it's a good idea to call area bait shops and ask friends about fishing holes, especially those that may appeal to children. While a fish cannot be guaranteed on every trip, it's good to know where the fish bite as to make sure a spot may prove fruitful at some point.

Freshwater fishing for children can be memorable experience and a gateway toward a lifelong hobby. In the age of electronics, introduce your child to enjoying life on a lake or a pond and outdoor sports through freshwater fishing.