Taking your children or grandchildren fishing can be a great way to connect as a family. It’s also a fantastic way for your kids to experience nature and learn the art of patience.  

10 Tips for Fishing with Kids

1. Decide on Location – The first step towards a successful fishing trip with your children or grandchildren is deciding on a good location. Ideally, you’d like to go to a place that is well stocked because it increases your chances for actually catching fish! Other things to consider would be how crowded and family friendly it is, and if there are good places for the kids to explore and play in case the fishing loses it’s appeal.

2. Build Anticipation – Before you go, especially if this is your child’s first fishing trip, read a few picture books about fishing to build excitement. You could also mark the date of your family’s fishing trip on a calendar and count down the days until it’s time to go. Tell stories and ask open-ended questions to get them involved in the conversation. For example, “What are you most excited for?” or “What kinds of things do you think we will find on our fishing trip?” 

3. Expectations and Rules – As you are building anticipation for your family outing, you could also take some time throughout the days beforehand to talk about your expectations and rules for safety. Go over them again as you leave to go fishing so that they are fresh in their minds.

4. Go Prepared – Of course, this is an important thing to do with any outing if you have kids. Before you leave, make sure you have plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks. You might also need something to repel bugs, antibacterial wipes, and a change of clothes. Will you need chairs or a blanket? And don’t forget your fishing gear!

5. Choose Your Bait – The type of bait you use will vary depending on where you are fishing and what you are hoping to catch.. and your child’s interests. For some, a big bucket of worms will be the perfect bait. Not only will you be fishing with them, but they could provide some added entertainment between catches. However, if your child is squeamish, you may want to bring some cheese slices or small bits of hotdog instead.

6. Bring the Bobbers – Lightweight bobbers will help your child notice when they have a bite. This is really useful if your child wants to wander a bit without his pole.

7. Give Them a Job – Giving your child a job can give them something to focus on and look forward to. Young children can hand you bait while older children might be in charge of releasing the fish.

8. Make it Fun – Fishing is a lot of fun when you are getting bite after bite, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Show your children that they can enjoy themselves while waiting for the next fish to bite. You can use the slow times as a chance to talk and explore the nature around you. Catch bugs. Watch your worms. Take a break and have a picnic. You can even make up silly songs to lure the fish to your bait. 

9. Keep it Short – at least in the beginning – If you plan to keep the trip short, then you wont be disappointed or frustrated if the fishing has lost it’s appeal early into the day.  The more often you go with children, the better they will become with the whole process and will understand the importance of longer trips. Just ease them into it. 

10. Practice Responsible Fishing – Talk with your kids about responsible fishing. Talk about why we only keep what we need and release the fish we don’t. Pack up everything you brought with you and ALWAYS leave your spot better than when you found it!