- Don’t let lack of gear prevent you from fishing. The OFAH/OPG TackleShare Program lends rods, reels and tackle for free to children and novice anglers. During Family Fishing Week, the Travelling TackleShare Program will be at many locations in the Bay of Quinte region, including Sandbanks Provincial Park and West Zwick’s Park during the Belleville Waterfront Festival.
- Check your gear before leaving home, ensuring your rod and reel work smoothly, your line isn’t tangled and that you have extra lures in the case of (inevitable) snags. This way you can start fishing as soon as you arrive at your favourite spot.
- When it comes to baiting hooks like livebait, Clapp says it’s a job best for grownups. Letting your kids pick up up worms grows their comfort level and independence with the sport.
- Have a wet rag on hand to clean your hands after handling fish or live bait. Avoid disposable wipes, which are often scented and a turn off for fish.
- Pack an extra bag with snacks, treats, water, colouring sheets and markers. A small pop-up tent can protect your kids from the sun when they are taking a break.
- Swap out the monofilament that comes with most kids’ fishing rods for braided line, which helps with castability and sensitivity. According to Clapp, this simple switch means that kids won’t fight with their equipment and will be more likely to enjoy their fishing experience.
- When casting off a dock or pier, keep a PFD on young anglers who cannot swim. Remember that everyone in a boat or canoe must have a PFD on at all times.
- Easy-to-catch species rarely require more than a hook, a bobber and bait. Clapp suggests this set-up to help you child keep their line tight if you don’t have a bobber: Set up a drop shot rig with a weight below the hook, which keeps the hook readily available for the fish. Tie the hook as you would normally do but make a longer tag end, which you tie a small weight to.
- Take part in Ontario Family Fishing Events, like the upcoming License Free Week, July 2-10. During this time, Canadians can fish for free and without the mandatory Outdoors Card. Remember to follow the Conservation fishing license limits set out by the MNR.
- Give your kids a taste of competitive fishing by participating in a derby! These fun events are a great way to try out a new fishing spot and meet other other families who are passionate about the sport. Upcoming derbies in the region include:
Crowe Lake Pike Catch n’ Keep Derby
Camp Barcovan 4th Annual Fun Family Fishing Derby
Sophiasburgh Kids Fishing Derby in Northport