When I think of fishing, I think of a relaxed time. A time to cast your reel, sit in a chair with a sunhat, enjoying the quiet shore with your feet kicked up waiting for the fish to bite. Fishing with children, however, isn’t quite that picturesque.
But, it’s fun. Fun for you and for them. My daughter Caroline is about two and half and we decided this summer we would try fishing.
First, we gathered the basic necessities.
– Life Jacket
– Fishing Pole (usually children’s fishing poles come with the rod, reel and fishing line ready to go)
– Hook and Bait
– Bobbers and Sinkers
– Line Cutter (we used finger nail clippers)
Then, it was time to get to work. Caroline helped get her tackle box organized with hooks, bobbers, sinkers and plastic worms. We also decided to get real worms, always a super fun option.
Next, it was time to string the fishing line through the pole. Caroline’s little fingers were perfect for the job!
Then, Papa helped Caroline get her fishing line ready. I had no idea how much there is to learn about fishing. The hook alone has it’s own anatomy. And, a fishing knot is not a normal knot, there’s looping and twisting that I didn’t even know existed.
Once we had the fishing line ready, it was time to head to the lake. With her life jacket on, we walked down to the water and cast away. Due to Caroline’s age the casting and reeling were done for her, but she enjoyed holding the pole and watching the line float in the water, waiting for a fish to bite. I think she was a little nervous when we actually caught one, but what a fun experience. Nature is awesome!
I think what she enjoyed most was being as hands-on as possible throughout the fishing experience. Based on the age of your child, decide what jobs they can help with and what jobs would be better for the adult to be in charge of. Older children might be able to learn how to tie the knot or cast and reel by themselves.
Remember, you will need a license to fish.
Kansas License Requirements: Residents 16 through 74 who have been legal residents of the state for 60 days immediately prior to buying a license, must have a resident license in possession while fishing in Kansas. All non residents 16 and older must have a valid nonresident license to fish in Kansas (unless fishing on a private pond not leased for public fishing).
Where to Fish: There are several lakes to fish at, too many to list, but here are a few great places I found.
Sedgwick County Park – 6501 W 21st St N, Wichita, KS 67205 – This park has multiple lakes to fish on. There is a four fish limit. Fishing docks are available.
Chisholm North Lake – 6232 East 29th St N, Wichita, KS 67220 (This lake is on the North side of the Great Plains Nature Center. From K-96, take the Woodlawn exit, go North on Woodlawn and the lake is on the NW side of K-96 and Woodlawn intersection.) This is an excellent place to catch rainbow trout. If you’d like to fish from a canoe or kayak, they are allowed at this location.
Lake Afton – 24600 W. 39th St. S., Goddard, KS 67052 – This lake is home to a variety of fish including Large Mouth Bass, Black Bullhead, Channel Catfish and some of the largest Flathead Catfish in the state.
O.J. Watson Park – 3022 S McLean Blvd, Wichita, KS 67217 – This park has two lakes where you can catch largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, wipers, crappie, grass carp, and hybrid sunfish.
Lake George: Andover Central Park – 1607 E. Central, Andover, KS 67002- Stocked with fish, this lake has over a mile of nature/walking trails winding around it, along with six handicap accessible fishing docks.
Derby High Park – 2801 E James St, Derby, KS 67037 – This six acre park is stocked with Bluegill, Channel Catfish and Largemouth Bass.