How to Start

Fishing

Fishing not only encourages a love of the outdoors, and an interest in wildlife — it also teaches us patience.

Step 1

Local tackle shops are a great place to start acquiring knowledge about equipment and the local fishing scene. They can often provide recommendations for where to fish with kids.

Step 2

Before you go out, take time to explain things like grip. Teach your kids how to grip the handle of the rod, keeping it in front of them in a 9 to 11 o’clock position.

Step 3

Casting can take some time to master, so teach your kids at home (in a safe place) before you go. The side-arm casting method is safest for young children, and simply involves flicking the wrist in a horizontal fashion, rather than up and down.

Step 4

Print out NPS’s Junior Ranger Book on fishing. Kids can either bring it along, and play when they’re not fishing, or play later when they get home.
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Activity Ideas

  • Go to a fish hatchery

    Hatcheries offer a lot of opportunities to learn about fish — from breeding, hatching, through the early stages of life. Look up fish hatcheries in your area. Know that some recommend visiting during certain months.
  • Make your own game of magnet fishing

    Get your kids interested in fishing by creating a game of magnet fishing. You’ll need sticks for poles, magnets, paper clips, glue or tape, colorful construction paper, and string. Cut out your fish from the construction paper. Next, tie the magnet to the pole using the string. You should have at least two feet of “line.” Attach a metal paperclip to the fish, to make them “catchable.” Start fishing!

What to Bring

Plenty of water, even for short hikes — a gallon per person per day is a good guide
Snacks such as fruit or trail mix and empty bags to collect any garbage
Sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen
Insect repellent
Warm layers and a lightweight rain jacket
Travel size first aid kit
Map of the area you’ll be exploring and your emergency contact numbers
A small flashlight and batteries

Safety Tips

Avoid going if a thunderstorm is in the forecast. Seek shelter in a car or house if you’re caught in a thunderstorm. If you're caught outside, the safest place to be is crouching in a cluster of trees — not in a clearing, out on water, or next to a lone tree.
Be mindful of the sun. Use sunscreen, seek shade, and drink plenty of water — even in the winter.
If you swim in a designated swimming area always use your best judgment and be careful. If you don’t feel totally comfortable in the water, it is best not to swim.
If you're near the water, make sure anyone who doesn't know how to swim has a flotation vest.
If you go out onto the water, make sure everyone is wearing a flotation vest.