Teaching Your Children To Fish

April 16, 2017

Teaching Your Children To Fish

A First-Timer’s Guide to Fishing With Children
Catch a fish for a kid and entertain him for a day. Teach a kid to fish and you’ll make memories to last a lifetime. In Minnesota, fishing is a tradition that spans generations. But in this technology age, fewer children are catching the fishing fever. Here are our basic guidelines for teaching your children to fish in the Minnesota Northwoods.

What To Bring?
In addition to the tackle box basics mentioned in this article, be sure to pack a hat, sunglasses, life vests, insect repellent, cell phone, camera and a small bag for trash. Basic gear also includes a rod with a spin-cast reel, which is ideal for children to learn to cast. Check out this video which highlights the basics of casting, and practice it a few times from the shore.

Safety First!
Safety should be the first consideration when fishing with children. Make sure you are wearing a life vest and sturdy shoes. Always look behind you before casting and know where your hook is at all times. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from rogue casts. Also consider the weather. If it’s rainy or cold, your child may have a bad experience. Apply sunscreen as needed, and take shelter at the first sign of lightning or severe weather. It’s probably a good idea to pack a first aid kit, too, just in case. 

Make it Fun 
If your child has never been fishing before, it’s going to be less about strict technique and more about providing a fun environment for your child’s introduction to fishing. Panfish are great fish to start with as you can easily catch them off the dock, plus they’ll bite on appropriate lures or live bait. Other ways to make it a fun experience include bringing snacks, initiating a friendly competition, and keeping fishing sessions short. One hour tops, otherwise your child might lose interest and not want to go fishing again.

Practice Patience
There is no better lesson in patience than waiting for fish to bite. Many parents will be delighted to teach their kids that they’ll catch more fish when they’re quiet, since fish are frightened by loud voices and footsteps overhead. Moving your bait around by gently jigging a few inches off the bottom can help the fish notice your bait. Don’t reel in at the first nibble you feel, but wait until the bobber goes under and give the line a gentle jerk to set the hook and reel it in!

Be Good Stewards
While fishing with kids, teach them about practicing the CPR rule of “Catch, Photograph, and Release” which will help make sure there are plenty of fish in the lake for years to come. Carefully remove the hook with your pliers, place the fish gently back into the water, bait your line again if needed, and repeat!

Click here for licensing and regulations for fishing in Minnesota. You'll also find information about the species and lakes in Minnesota Northwoods lakes. If you follow these basic guidelines, you and your child will soon be making happy memories and starting a new tradition that will hopefully continue to be passed down for generations to come!

So... what memories will YOU make this year?


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