Outdoors

ADD THESE FISHING RESOURCES TO YOUR KIDS’ TACKLE BOX

I put together a list of kid-friendly fishing organizations that parents can add to their kids' tackle boxes.

As I get our home ready for our first child, I can’t help but also think about how I want to equip his “tackle box.” I don’t mean just lures and kid-friendly fishing poles. I also want my son to have access to our lakes, natural resources, understand the value of fishing and how it relates to conservation — and have fun while doing it!

I put together a list of kid-friendly fishing organizations that parents can add to their kids’ tackle boxes. These are groups that want to pass on fishing to future generations, which is important for conservation as license sales dwindle in Minnesota. The dollars spent on fishing licenses directly impacts the work our conservation officers do and the state programs that help better the environment.

If you have suggestions on other fishing organizations, please add them in the comments below!​

FISHING FRIENDZY

Fishing Friendzy is a company dedicated to introducing ethical angling and the value of the great outdoors to kids and parents. They’re teaching kids about fishing in a fun, positive and safe way through traveling fishing exhibits and Youth Fishing Leagues throughout North America. Their four day fishing league opens for registration on April 22nd with leagues available in Orangeville, Caledon, Midland, Bobcaygeon, Hamilton and Bruce County — which I believe are all in Ontario. It’s a friendly tournament for kids who want to learn how to fish, hear from experienced anglers, conservation staff and hopefully instill the value of protecting the natural environment through the rest of their lives. Learn more about registering your kids in Fishing Friendzy’s Youth Fishing League.

FISHING FOR LIFE

Fishing for Life is a non-profit dedicated to serving kids, families and communities through fishing and outdoor programs. I actually took my 4-year-old niece to their Reel Girls Fish event in White Bear Lake last year. We had a blast and she went home with a trophy! It’s a Christian organization, which is fantastic because everyone who volunteers is Christ-centered and genuinely cares about the kids who want to learn how to fish. Check out their Statement of Faith. The group organizes hands-on fishing events and mentoring programs to impact lives of at-risk youth and families in Minnesota. The 2019 Minnesota Bound Crappie Contest is coming up on May 4th on Lake Minnetonka — a great opportunity to have your kids participate in a fun, competitive atmosphere and celebrate families fishing together.

Nick and I volunteered as guides during the Holes for Heroes event on Medicine Lake this past ice fishing season. It was a blessing to meet so many veterans and be able to serve them in this way.

YOUTH FISHING GUIDE

Youth Fishing Guide teaches kids of all ages how to fish. This Minnesota company’s goal is to make fishing more accessible to kids and focuses on the learning aspects of the experience. Kids will learn the basics like boat safety, life jackets, weather conditions, types of areas to fish, reading maps, anchoring, setting up fishing poles, learning how to cast and reel in, the value of catch and keeping our lakes clean.

I spent a few hours fishing with a bunch of kids and Youth Fishing Guide last summer. I wish I had an experience like this available to me when I was a kid! The owner and guide, Jim, makes boating, the lake experience and fishing not so scary for first-timers.

Kids reading map of White Bear Lake as they get ready to fish

TAKE A KID FISHING WITH MINNESOTA DNR

Each year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hosts a statewide Take-A-Kid Fishing Weekend. Parents, older siblings and mentors can take a child 15 or younger fishing and don’t need a license that weekend. It’s happening June 7-9, 2019. It’s the perfect opportunity for first-time anglers to give fishing a try. There are organized events all across the state. Be sure to check your favorite State Parks with lakes since many of them also offer fishing gear rentals. Also note that you can fish at most State Parks for free throughout the year. The DNR also hosts Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing Weekend.

Fishing at Glendalough State Park

KIDS FISHING FOUNDATION

The Kids Fishing Foundation offers free fishing events for kids, adults and military members. The foundation provides an opportunity for both parents and kids (ages 5-18) to fish together through single day, weekend and week long events. The goal is to give kids the opportunity to be outdoors and encourage them to continue developing their fishing skills for years to come. Kids are typically partnered with an experienced volunteer angler or with the supervision of a parent or guardian. They learn about our natural resources, fishing techniques and boat safety. There’s even a program for kids with learning disabilities, with an even bigger focus on accessibility and kids’ potential. The Kids Fishing Foundation is hosting its free Pan and Trout Fishing Expo at Foster Arend Park in Rochester, Minnesota on May 11th. To register for this event, email support@takf.net.

TAKE ME FISHING

Take Me Fishing is a non-profit organization that wants to get families excited about fishing and boating, while also protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. The Take Me Fishing website is jam packed with valuable information to teach families how to fish, like fishing 101 for beginners, in-depth details on what gear to use, how to fish different environments, how to tie fishing knots, how to use lures, trying out a variety of tactics and what we can all do to protect our habitat. Check out their Instagram hashtags #TakeMeFishing #FirstCatch #GetYourFishOn #MakingWaves for a glimpse of their work.

Take Me Fishing website screenshot

If you have suggestions on other fishing organizations, please add them in the comments below!​

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