In today’s world, X-box wins out over a trout and bass. Not good. This section of the site is designed to help you get the next generation, specifically your kids and grandchildren, into the outdoors and fishing. Rory, Ryan, and Doug all started fishing at young ages, and fishing helped keep them from getting fat, lazy, and into trouble, well, maybe not lazy.Here will be kid friendly waters to fish, species to target, money saving tips, and ways to keep you from pulling your hair right out on the water. This section is targeting children up to 16 years old. Once they have a driver’s license, you should have them set on hitting the waters, and not the couch!
PA Fishing Law – Taking a kid fishing
An adult who assists a child (12 years of age and under) by casting or retrieving a fishing line or fishing rod is not required to possess a valid fishing license provided that the child remains within arms’ reach of the assisting adult and is actively involved in the fishing activity.
An adult may assist a child by baiting hooks, removing fish from the line, netting fish, preparing the fishing rod for use, and untangling the line without possessing a valid fishing license. An adult is required to possess a fishing license if they intend to set the hook for the child.
The link below provides a list of areas the are exclusively for children 12 years of age and younger and persons who have certain physical or mental impairments. Go here for more information
A few factors go into where to fish with kids.
You will need waters where kids can stay safe. Avoid faster moving waters where if the kid goes in, they will not be able to swim back to shore. Most kid fishing is done pond or lake side, but streams should not be ruled out. Just find areas where you know they will be safe.
This covers a few levels. First, you need easy access to the water. It is hard enough to carry all the equipment, snacks, chairs, and kids, no need to add a 10 mile hike too. We caution though, that the easiest access SHOULD be avoided. This will be fished hard, and you are far better off walking a little from the car to catch more fish. Again, a 10 mile hike is not needed, but try heading around the next cove to see what is there. Could pay off big!
3. Fish to Catch
Find water where you know you have a good chance of action. Often this is a farm pond with lots of bluegills, bass, or crappies. Maybe water that is stocked with trout is your best bet. Head where there are fish! May mean checking stocking schedules to time it right, but that planning goes a long way.
4. Farmers Rule
If possible, take a drive around the house, and see if any small farm ponds exist close to home. Find out who owns it, and ask for permission to bring your kids to fish. Often, if kids are involved, you can get permission. Ponds are a great place to start fishing. Lots of hungry fish await the family! Often the ponds will leave just the family to have a wonderful day on the water.
Techniques and Gear
1. Most fishing is done from shore with kids. If possible, and especially with older children, attempt to get on the water. A kayak, canoe, or small boats, are great ways to keep it fun. Half the fun is just being on the water. The fish are a bonus! Let them paddle, let them steer, and let them pick the spot that you have narrowed choices down to. Keep them involved!
2. The Power of the Worm is amazing. Small hook, small split shot, and bobber, and fish on. Worms, crickets, minnows, and grasshoppers are great baits for shore fishing. Best thing with grasshoppers. Find a field, and turn the kids loose. They will enjoy catching the bait, trust us.
3. Small spinners buzz baits, and other lures that they can cast and retrieve help keep the fun level up. And when a fish hits, it hits hard!
4. Keep the line and rod light. Ultra light rods and reels will catch most fish, and keep fatigue down. Buy them their own rod, so they feel ownership. It will cost you $20 for a little combo.
General Tips for Success
1. Keep It Fun!!
This is the biggest, and most often overlooked aspect of kid fishing. Don’t make it just about fishing and catching fish. Take games, a football, books, etc, to keep the kids busy and having fun. If fishing is slow, let them throw rocks into the water! WHO CARES!!!?!?!?! If fishing is good, they will gladly stay waterside, and will never forget it.
2. Keep It Short
Don’t plan an all dayer the first few trips with the little ones. Keep it under two hours. Kids, just like Ryan, have a short attention span. Even if fish are biting, they can lose interest, and want to do something else. Keep it short, have fun, then move on to the next soccer game or dance recital.
3. Plan Ahead
Combine fishing with camping or a hike. Pack a small lunch, and head down the trail. Dig up some worms, and flip over some rocks on the way to the water. Pack light, and catch a few fish, then keep heading down the trail. Once experienced in the woods, try camping with them. Again, have lots of activities planned, and make a big fire!