School is out, summer is here, and the longer days mean more opportunities for fishing with kids. Help keep the next generation engaged in the outdoors by considering these four key tips for finding the best spots when planning fishing activities for kids this season.
1. STAY CLOSE TO HOME
If you are planning one of your first family-friendly fishing trips with the kids, start at a pond or lake close to home. You can use the “Places to Fish and Boat” Map to find accessible spots near where you live. To keep kids from getting tired too quickly, avoid fishing spots that involve long drives, boat rides, or hikes. Some of the best places to go fishing with kids are state or local parks that are just a few miles from your home. Check to see if the park has amenities like picnic shelters (for lunch breaks and shade), playgrounds, and bathrooms that will help keep the entire family comfortable and content (bring along plenty of drinks, snacks, and sun protection).
2. FIND THE OPEN SPACES
To avoid casting mishaps and continually untangling lines or hooks from trees, look for areas around ponds or lakes where there is a large fishing pier or open bank fishing access so that kids have plenty of room to cast. Near the Orlando area in Florida, for example, there are several stocked urban ponds with open bank fishing access that are part of the Fish Orlando program (those ponds and lakes include Barnett Park Frog Pond, Bear Creek, Lake Island Park). Part of fishing safety for young children means finding fishing spots that are open, uncrowded, and obstruction-free.
3. LOOK FOR LOCAL WILDLIFE
Part of teaching kids to fish is teaching them about the wildlife and aquatic ecosystems. If the fishing happens to slow down, one of the best tips for fishing with kids is to show them the different types of baits you can use or ask them to help you identify some of the local wildlife (birds, turtles, frogs, otters).
4. FIND STOCKED WATERWAYS OR PANFISH PONDS
The best fishing spots for kids will have plenty of fish and action to keep them entertained. You can check your state fish and wildlife agency’s website to find out where there are family-friendly ponds or lakes near you that have been stocked. Another option is to take kids to a small lake or pond that has a healthy population of panfish like bluegill, sunfish, perch, or crappie.
You can also ask someone at your local park district or fishing club if they are aware of any summer kids fishing activities or good places to take kids fishing nearby. There are usually plenty of kids fishing derbies and events going on across the country during this time of year.