Guest Article: 7 Tips for your first fishing trip with the kids


Digging for worms

A Lifewater Ranch visiting family digging for worms in our garden to fish with.

Lifewater Ranch features a bunch of ponds, many of which have fish in them.  Our Class 1 stream also has small fish that get through the hatchery downstream of us and they have been caught by people even without using bait!

Patrick Morrow is a freelance writer that has offered to team up with Lifewater Ranch in authoring some articles like this one:

Fishing is one of the few activities that can be enjoyed by people of all ages – including young children. Even kids as young as 4 or 5 are often perfectly capable of wielding a rod safely and dutifully watching their bobber bounce on the surface. Just prepare yourself for the unbridled joy that will follow, when they reel in their first fish.

And be sure you have your camera ready – you’ll want to remember that moment.

While your first fishing trip with the kids doesn’t require a whole lot of planning, you’ll want to keep the following suggestions in mind before setting out for the water.

1. Use very simple gear.

The fewer things that complicate the fishing process, the better, especially when accompanied by anglers who’ve yet to reach their 10th birthday (give or take). This means providing your child with a spin-casting or spinning rod combo, which has been scaled down to suit your youngster’s size. In fact, a cane pole is the pinnacle of simplicity, as it removes the need for your child to cast or reel – they simply drop the bait in the water and lift the hooked fish right out.

2. Target easy-to-catch fish.

Your kids probably won’t catch many walleye, trout or largemouth bass on their first couple of outings. Accordingly, you’ll want to target the bountiful and bold catfish and bluegill inhabiting the pond instead. Don’t worry – these fish are just as exciting to catch as any other fish, especially for youngsters who are just getting started.

3. Fish in an easily accessed area.

You may enjoy hiking halfway around a brush-lined pond to get to the perfect fishing spot, but your children are unlikely to see bushwhacking through thorns and bugs as a fun way to spend the day. Instead, you’ll want to head on down to a dock or pier, if available, or find some other easily accessed, yet promising location.

4. Fish in the early morning or late afternoon.

Most families vacation in the summer, but the mid-day sun will make fishing both miserable and unproductive. Instead, plan your outing so that you can get to the water right after dawn or about an hour before dusk. At these times, when the sun is close to the horizon, the temperatures will be far more tolerable and the fish far more aggressive. Just be sure to keep safety in mind: Bring a flashlight or two if the fishing hole doesn’t have street lights.

5. Select the locations with bathrooms and other amenities.

You may be able to hold it for an extra hour or so to give you a few more chances to catch a big one, but most young children won’t have the same level of resolve. They’ll forget to go before hitting the water, and nature will call as soon as you get everybody set up and ready to fish. Accordingly, you’ll want to take your first few fishing trips to places with bathrooms and other mainstays of civilization. Picnic tables, sun shades, and trashcans are also a few amenities that can make a fishing trip with kids proceed a little more smoothly.

6. Use a bait the kids won’t mind touching.

Worms and crickets are some of the most productive baits you can use, but many children will find these things too gross to touch. Instead, consider using things like corn or hotdog slices as bait. This way, your kids can learn how to rebait their hook when those blasted bait thieves strike.

7. After hooking a fish yourself, pass the rod to your kid.

You’ll certainly want to fish alongside your children, if for no other reason than you are more likely to hook a fish than they are. But instead, you should always take the opportunity to pass a hooked fish to your kids so that they can reel it in themselves. This is easily the most exciting part of the process, so you’ll want them to enjoy the feeling as much as is possible.

Taking your child fishing for the first time needn’t be complicated or difficult; in fact, it shouldn’t be anything but fun. Just keep things simple, follow the tips listed above and you should have a great time. You may even spark a lifelong love of fishing in your youngster.



Patrick Morrow is an outdoor freelancer writer. He started fishing for bream in his small home lake at four years old and the childhood fun has turned into a lifelong passion and an enjoyable writing career.


About sanfords

Ex Microsoft Dev for 20 years. Currently retired at my ranch in Idaho near Kooskia. I like coaching Chess for kids so let me know if you are interested in those services.
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1 Response to Guest Article: 7 Tips for your first fishing trip with the kids

  1. Pingback: Newsletter #5 | Lifewater Ranch

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