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Emphasize fun while fishing with kids

FISHING — Fishing is a time-tested, generations-approved way to have quality time with kids.

But keep it cool.  Going fishing is a way to get away from the pressure kids feel in mainstream sports and school.

Idaho Fish and Game staffers have assembled some kid-fishing tips worth reviewing.

“Be positive, make it fun and remember it’s not just your fishing trip – it’s theirs too,” said Adare Evans, Wildlife Educator for Fish and Game in Boise. “Consider it as an investment — do it right and payback time will come years later when they take you fishing.”

To help ensure your youngster’s fishing trips are not their last, Fish and Game provides the following suggestions:

  • The younger the child, the shorter the attention span.  If the fish aren’t biting, don’t keep them chained to their fishing poles or held hostage in a boat.  Allow some breaks for rock skipping, swimming, enjoying some beach time, catching frogs – whatever keeps them happy and lets them enjoy the outdoors.
  • Be patient. Accept that they may not keep quiet and they probably will get a few tangles. Keeping the outing short (under an hour for beginners) and ending on a cheerful note before anyone gets crabby will set you on course for cultivating a lifelong fishing buddy.
  • Keep it Simple - Short poles and closed-face reels are good choices. A small tackle box with a few small hooks, a few 1-inch bobbers and sinkers is all you need to get started.
  • If bait is used, encourage them to bait their own hooks. Let them practice with plastic worms. Eventually, they’ll get used to the idea of doing it themselves.
  • Pack a cooler with sandwiches, some cookies and water. Remember to take garbage bags to pack out your trash, and encourage the kids to pick up too.  
  • Essentials - Be sure to take sunscreen, a few Band-Aids and a fishing license if required.
  • Quantity not Quality - Your kids will have a lot more fun reeling in several easy to catch stocked trout rather than waiting for a 5-pound lunker to bite. Finding a well-stocked pond or lake is essential to hooking youngsters to fishing.  

Fish and Game’s “Take Me Fishing" trailers are making appearances at well-stocked fishing holes across the state.  The trailers are full of basic fishing equipment that can be checked out for free on a first-come, first-served basis. Fish and Game staff will also be available to answer questions and help those new to the sport. 

Saturday was perfect fishing day for 700 kids

FISHING — The cheerful squealing of kids catching their first fish was all the reward dozens of sportsmen and sportswomen needed for their hours of work organizing the annual Kids Fishing Day, May 2, at Clear Lake.

More than 700 kids took part in the event this year. For $10, they got to take home rod and reel rigged for fishing plus their limit of trout and memories of a great time on the water with their families.

About 11,000 rainbow trout were delivered in five truckloads from three hatcheries to be put in net pens around the docks and shoreline of the Fairchild Air Force Base recreation site on the lake, said Randy Osborne, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife district fisheries biologist who coordinated the effort.

"Anything the kids don't catch, we release into the lake for anglers after the last kid leaves," he said.

Volunteers rigged rods, baited hooks and helped handle the fish hauled in by the kids.  Volunteers even cleaned the fish families took home.  If they didn't want the fish, other volunteers cleaned them and packed them on ice for distribution to area food banks.

"We've had over 300 pounds of fish donated from this event in the past," said Jim Kujala, who opened a cooler full of fish on ice ready for the food banks to distribute. "This year we had only 154 pounds donated, which means more families were keeping the fish they caught.  That's a good thing because it means they're taking the experience home."



Sign-up for Kid Fishing Day at Clear Lake

FISHING — Fishing rods have been rigged up by volunteer sportsmen to hand out to about 950 kids ages 5-14 in the 16th annual Kids Fishing event at Clear Lake on May 2.

Kids are being scheduled for half-hour slots between 8 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. at Fairchild Air Force Base Recreation Area.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to stock thousands of trout in net pens kids will be able to cast into from shore and docks.

For the $10 entry fee, each kid receives a Kids Fishing T-shirt, Zebco rod and reel and a chance to catch a limit of three trout. Volunteers will assist each child.

Applications must be postmarked by April 17.

Info: WDFW, (509) 892-1001.

Idaho sets kid-fishing events for Free Fishing Day

FISHING — No fishing license required — a huge savings for a family, especially out of state — is a perk coming up in the Inland Northwest as states observe Free Fishing Days.

Idaho is boosting the interest by organizing kid-fishing events for it's Free Fishing Day activities on Saturday (June 8).

While license requirements are suspended for this special day, all other rules, such as limits or tackle restrictions, remain in effect.

At the following special locations around the Panhandle, equipment will be available for use, and fishing experts will be on hand to help novice anglers learn the ins and outs of fishing. In addition, all these locations will be stocked with hatchery rainbow trout prior to Saturday.

Panhandle Region: For information 208-769-1414.

  • Bonners Ferry - Snow Creek Pond, 9 a.m. to noon. 
  • Calder - Calder Pond, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Clark Fork - Clark Fork Lodge, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Coeur d'Alene - Ponderosa Springs Golf Course, 7 to 11 a.m.
  • Enaville - Steamboat Ponds, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Mullan - Lucky Friday Pond, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Post Falls - Post Falls Park Pond, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Priest Lake - Priest Lake Golf Course, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Rathdrum - Rathdrum City Park,9 a.m. to noon.
  • Sandpoint - Round Lake State Park, 9 a.m. to noon.

Clearwater Region: For information 208-799-5010. All events 9 a.m. to noon.

  • Lewiston - Mann Lake.
  • Lewiston - Kiwanis Park Pond.
  • Moscow/Troy - Spring Valley Reservoir.

Video: Fishing with kids is a hoot!

FISHING — It's no fish story that Spokane angler Tanner Grant, his fishing buddy Branden Carter and their boys had a great time Saturday for the fishing season opener at West Medical Lake.

They have this short broadcast-quality video to prove it.  

Grant shot the footage in and out of the water with his Go-Pro camera and edited the clips to perfection. Add the  perfect song and it's a first-class documentary on why many of us feel sorry for parents who've never taken their kids fishing. 

P.S.  Notice the boys eating in the background as they watch before applying the skills they've learned from observation and a peanut-butter high. A cooler with appropriate food is an essential item for successful kid fishing trips.

Also see:

Eastern Washington's top trout lakes surveyed

Photo essay: Boy's first fish — hooked on the moment

Free fishing activities set for weekend

FISHING– Saturday is Free Fishing Day in Idaho and Washington will double the pleasure on both Saturday and Sunday — no fishing license required.

Idaho is organizing 11 clinics Saturday in the Panhandle geared to helping people try the sport, starting 7 a.m.-11 a.m. at Coeur d'Alene, Ponderosa Springs Golf Course.

Other Idaho clinics run 9 a.m. -noon at Bonners Ferry Snow Creek Pond, Calder Pond, Clark Fork Lodge, Enaville Steamboat Pond, Mullan Lucky Friday Pond, Post Falls Park Pond, Priest Lake Golf Course and Rathdrum City Park.

See a complete list of Idaho Free Fishing Day activities online.

In Washington, a free Fishing Festival is geared to kids ages 14 and under on Saturday, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. at Lake Thomas, 25 miles east of Colville on Highway 20.

Sadly, the Fishing 101 Clinic for Adults organized by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department and the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council has been CANCELED for lack of sign-ups.  Ths class would have been a screaming deal for people interested in learning how to fish, with an evening classroom session followed by a on-the water fishing session Saturday at Williams Lake, complete with a lesson on cooking the catch.   Wow: Just $10 and they couldn't get more than 4 people to register.