Whether the fish are biting or not, kids love everything about fishing, from casting to choosing and changing their lures and even those squirmy worms! Here’s some advice for safely catching more fish while camping and having fun doing so!
We love camping near lakes and streams. In addition to the beautiful scenery, it makes the fishing so much easier when the kids can conveniently access the water.
Once at the campsite, we find that our Yakima ski racks are a great solution for storing the rods between fishing excursions and also for transporting on shorter drives to different fishing holes without having to remove tackle and break down the rods. You can see an empty rack mounted on our old Honda Pilot in the photo above.
When first starting to fish with the kids, we tried the traditional Snoopy poles but found them and the Disney variants to be absolute junk when it came to actual fishing. For just a few more dollars, you can get something like the Zebco 33 Spincast rod/reel combo that works much better for casting and untangled reeling. As an added bonus, our son was pretty excited when Popa bought him a “real” (adult) fishing pole, and he actually caught more fish with it thanks to more successful casts.
As the kids have gotten older, we upgraded them to a more traditional spin reel with drag control. The Shimano Sienna is a good middle-ground price/feature model and pairs well with Shakespear rods, Shimano rods, and other multi-piece fishing rods that break down for easier transport.
Our kids love having their own tackle box. Sometimes it’s a competition to see whose choice of lures works best. Other times they will trade with each other. It’s also $5 well spent to keep things separate from dad’s collection!
For another $13, our kids have their own fishing bag to store a tackle box, line clips, pliers, sunglasses, and other accessories.
Speaking of sunglasses, they are a must-have accessory for fishing. Polarized sunglasses not only helps the kids see fish in the water but also protects their eyes from a stray hook. These “unbreakable” sunglasses includes a strap to help them from falling off and sinking to the bottom of a lake or stream.
We use fishing as an opportunity to teach the kids about respecting the environment. This includes picking up the trash that so many fishermen leave and also ensuring that we don’t hurt the fish when catching them. A rubber mesh net is MUCH better for the fish than the only slightly cheaper Wal-Mart kind, and the clear appearance won’t frighten the fish when scooping them up. Doesn’t this cutthroat Colorado trout look better in a high-quality net?
Both of our kids have started to express interest in fly fishing. This can be a perfect opportunity to dip your toes in a cold mountain stream or lake to cool down during those summer camping trips. We started the kids on an Orvis 9′ Fly Rod combo kit with a Wooly Bugger streamer fly tied on the end for weight after clipping the hook off.
One final tip is to be extra careful when friends come along to fish. Not everyone has been given instruction on how to safely cast away from other people. Multiple hooks flying through the air near kids is best done with some adult supervision.
A 7-Year Old’s Perspective, from Chloe
I usually fish with my brother and dad when we camp. My mom always forgets to get her fishing license!
I haven’t caught a fish by myself yet, but my dad says I’m a really good caster.
Sometimes I wade in the water to get closer to the fish.
A 9-Year Old’s Perspective, from Ethan
I like to fish. It’s super fun. I have even bought some fishing lures myself. I recommend trout lures. They work really good.
This is me after catching my first fish all by myself. It was a rainbow trout. I caught it with a small rainbow trout lure dragging behind our boat.