Fishing with Kids…

My featured post this month is my brother, Blake! My brother was my Matron of Honor in our wedding so we’ve always been very close! Some of my best memories with my brother are from when we were kids and would go down to the creek and seine for fish and crayfish. We were always searching for critters in the creek, or making dams, and had plenty of fishing tournaments. His love for fish continued into junior high and high school where he started raising tropical fish to sell to local pet shops. He continued his education at the University of Illinois where he studied Fish Biology. He now works for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a Fisheries Biologist and still continues to have a passion for his job!! He is sharing some of his tips and tricks while taking your family fishing.


Fishing can be fun for kids and adults alike.  There are various skill levels of fishing, however anyone can learn to fish.  It’s a great way to get out of the house and spend time outdoors.  When taking the kiddos fishing the goals should be to have fun, catch fish, and leave the trip with your children hoping to go fishing again!

When fishing with the family, especially with young children, the goal should be to have fun!  Keeping the kids interested often takes some additional planning, and it is important for the success of the fishing trip. First of all, pick a day when the weather is comfortable.  Hot/cold weather can end a trip for young kids quickly.  Windy days are poor for casting, so try to pick a mild sunny day.  Take lots of snacks! Bring along a small aquarium net and bucket so the kids can catch tadpoles, small fish, and insects. Don’t forget the rubber boots and life vests!


Being able to catch fish is easier than newcomers might think, but there are some key steps to make the trip a success.  Visit a pond or lake that has good bank fishing access or docks that allow for easy casting and plenty of room to spread out. For a list of Illinois Public Fishing Waters check out the IDNR Website.


Pictured above are Bluegill (which is the IL State Fish) and Black Crappie. Make sure to check out the fishing regulations for the water you’re fishing on. IDNR fishing regulations can be found here.

In Illinois an IDNR Fishing License is required for anyone 16 and older. Anyone under 16 isn’t required to have one. The adult accompanying the child does not need a fishing license if he/she doesn’t participate in fishing at all. However, if the adult casts and helps the child reel in he/she needs to have a license. Regulations may restrict the number of fish or size that can be kept.

It’s important to be familiar with the regulations for the lake, pond, or river where you’re fishing. Don’t forget to pack your ruler so you can measure your fish!


Zebco Brand Fishing Rods are a classic option that has been catching first fish for kids for years. The Zebco Dock Demon Spincast Combo is a great starter pole for young kids! The key to catching fish is using a small hook rigged with a split-shot weight and bobber. Night crawlers are the go to bait when introducing children to fishing, plus the worms can keep the kids entertained until the fish start biting.


IDNR offers a handy fishing trip checklist here.

Hopefully you and your family can enjoy family in the outdoors as I do with my family!

Do you enjoy family fishing? Please share in the comments below!

  1. Angie Ruebush says:

    This is fantastic information for a family fun day. Great tips and tricks to catch a big one B & A!

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