Updated: Mar 6, 2020
I grew up in Lac La Biche, with a playground of approximately 150 lakes in the area. As a family, we spent many hours and days out fishing on the boat or from shore. Now that I have a family of my own, one of the most rewarding parts about taking my kids out on the water was teaching them how to fish. However, now our son is a teenager and our daughter an adult, there really isn’t much teaching going on these days. We are at a stage where we can enjoy all-day fishing trips and adventures in the beautiful Lakeland Region, catching walleye, pike, lake trout and a few perch.
But with a little bit of preparation, taking younger kids fishing can be positive, fun and exciting, and give you a lifetime of great memories.
The tackle you will need for your day can be very simple. I recommend a youth spincast rod reel combo, also known as a closed rod-reel combo, and a couple of small, No. 00, Len Thompson spoons. It’s a good idea to talk to your local sporting goods store for more detailed information on fishing gear based on your child’s age.
Before heading out fishing, allow your kids to practice casting in the yard. You can tie a washer at the end of their lines so they can feel the weight of the lure without the danger of the hook hitting them or you. Before you know it, they will be casting like little pros.
Being organized is a good way to spark curiosity and inspire your kids to help prepare for the fishing trip. The night before, have your pack ready with snacks, drinks, water, sunscreen, bug-spray, rain jackets, hats, first aid kit, towel and an old sheet. I used to pack an old sheet so the kids could build a fort on the boat between the windshield and the passenger seat; it also acted as a sunshade on those hot afternoons. When my kids were little, I encouraged them to put together their own packs, which included a few small toys, a colouring book and a stuffed animal, which occupied their time in the fort when fishing was slow. The sheet can be used on shore between two lawn chairs to provide some playtime for the kids. Whether you’re planning a trip on the boat, on shore or at a stocked trout pond, ensure you have properly fitted life jackets for your kids, and that they are always worn. Another safety tip is for everyone to wear sunglasses, not only to protect your eyes from the sun but also from flying hooks.
It’s always a good idea to take kids to a fishing spot where they are likely to catch fish. This will keep their interest up and encourage them to want to try again on the next fishing trip. For the first few times out fishing with your kids, it’s important not to stay too long. An hour or two is a good starting point, and then continue to build the duration of your fishing trips from there. You want this to be a positive experience for your children and for you. Remember to make the trip fun and allow kids to be kids. For the first few times, they might have just as much fun playing with the fishing net or throwing rocks from the shore; these moments can be just as important as fishing.
Fishing can be fun for the entire family, regardless of age. Take the time to enjoy the adventure of being outdoors and passing down family traditions. With so many lakes in the Lakeland Region and fish species to catch, I truly hope you make some lasting memories fishing with your kids.