GEAR THEY'LL NEED
® Get younger kids (3 years old or so) a Spider-Man or Barbie fishing setup. The small, closed-face spinning reel and rod combos usually come with a small box of lures and tackle. For older kids, choose a higher-quality closed-face spinning reel and medium-weight rod. You get less tangles with closed-face spinning reels.
® Get a supply of trout hooks (No. 8 or 10), split-shot weights and bobbers.
® Put a properly fitting life jacket on a child anytime he or she is on a boat or near the water.
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® Let the kids pick the lure to use, but give them a choice between the ones you think will catch the fish you are going after.
® A fishing license is needed for anyone 14 or older. If you're helping a child cast or reel in a fish, you need one, too. An adult fishing license costs $25.75, a junior license (ages 14-17) is $13.75. Licenses are available at Department of Fish and Game offices and most sporting goods stores.
® Make sure kids are dressed for the weather. You may be able to tough it out in bad weather, but they will end up hating fishing.
WHERE TO GO
® Choose a place, like Treasure Valley ponds, where you know there are lots of trout. Call the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208) 465- 8465 and ask which waters it has recently stocked.
TACTICS TO USE
® Bank fishing is best because kids can walk around, explore or play in the sand.
® Bait fishing is easiest for beginners. Use worms, salmon eggs, corn or PowerBait. If you're targeting fish on the bottom of a pond or lake, use a small marshmallow to float your worm just off the bottom.
® One of the best baits is a small garden worm, not a big piece of nightcrawler. You can find small red worms in your garden.
® For trout, you can use a single salmon egg instead of a worm.
® For bluegill or trout, you might try a cricket or grasshopper.
® If you have a canoe and can fish a small lake or reservoir, try trolling with a spinner like a Mepps, Panther Martin or Rooster Tail. As you paddle along and the lines are out, the trout hook themselves. It is a simple way for kids to catch fish, and they enjoy the boat ride.
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS
® Keep the fishing trip short (a couple of hours or less).
® If your kids are young, take their favorite toys. They may just want to run their toy trucks in the mud. If you are fishing from the bank of a sandy reservoir, take a shovel and bucket and build sand castles if the fishing is slow. You might try kite flying and fishing, except somebody might be disappointed if the kite crashes in the middle of the lake.
® Take along snacks and other goodies. Small anglers travel on their stomachs. After a fishing trip, treat kids to lunch or dinner at their favorite place.
® Remember potty breaks and scope out nearby outhouses.
® Take plenty of photos so they remember the outing and how much fun they had. Make it fun. That first fish is a milestone - for them and you.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445