Fishing with Kids

"How ‘bout this catch!"

Who doesn’t remember baiting their first hook, or peering over the side of the dock in search of that elusive first catch? As generation after generation knows, going fishing is one of the easiest ways to get children interested in spending time outdoors with family and friends. It is also a good way for them to learn about the plants and animals that rely on waterbodies and the numerous “environmental services” aquatic environments perform for us. So, do take your children and grandchildren fishing. Here are some tips to get the best from your fishing time:

  • Play it safe. Establish the ground rules such as wearing a personal floatation device at all times and looking before casting. Come prepared with sunscreen, insect repellant, protective clothing, a first aid kit, water and snacks. For more tips on spending time outdoors with children, visit the hiking section.  For more tips on fishing safety, visit
  • Keep things simple. Start them off with simple tackle and live bait. Pick a spot that’s easy to access and don’t stay too long. Fish for species that are simple to catch and in places where the chance of success is high. Succeeding the first few times may hook them for life. And don’t worry about size! Kids will enjoy catching just about anything.
  • Educate and entertain. Keep kids busy and make outings about more than the catch. Play games that will teach them a skill such as tying knots or naming the parts of a boat. Talk about what fish like to eat, how they breathe, whether they sleep. (You get the idea…) Combine the fishing trip with a picnic or a paddle to hold their interest.
  • Set an example. Sportsmanship is easier shown than taught. So stay quiet, respect the environment and follow the law. That means only keeping fish within the legal catch limits and harvesting what you can eat.

Learn more:

Many states and non-profit organizations, including 4-H clubs and YMCAs, run youth sportfishing clubs, clinics, derbies and other events, They can also offer advice on places to fish with kids as well as kid-friendly tackle. 

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