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Kids love to fish, especially if the trout are biting!
Kids love to fish, especially if the trout are biting!

It the end of august and summer vacation is almost over so last weekend we took the kids trout fishing. The weather was perfect and the kids were bored, so getting out for an afternoon adventure was just the thing to do.

Now, I’m just a bit ashamed to say that we live in Oregon and went fishing at a trout farm instead of any of our water-rich state’s fresh streams or lakes. But, while I have fished with flies, spinners and worms in many of the Western US lakes, streams, rivers and the Pacific Ocean in my lifetime, I have to say we had a great time at the Rainbow Trout Farm!

Family Fishing Day

Since we had five kids along, ranging in age from 6 to 12, the convenience of the trout farm made for a fun afternoon. It’s a great way to get kids excited about angling without the boredom of waiting; I figure the can learn that over the years if the get the bite to take up fishing seriously. Planting seeds of experience is the way my dad instilled in my brother and I many interests, hobbies and pastimes we still enjoy so many years later in life.

We went with our neighbors who had never been trout fishing before, but since the trout farm folks provide you with fishing rods, reels, tackle, bait and a bucket and net, it didn’t take long for everyone to get going. We were referred to the Rules sign before being turned loose to fish on seven separate ponds.

Showing your kids the basics of trout fishing can lead to a lifelong passion for fly fishing.
Showing your kids the basics of trout fishing can lead to a lifelong passion for fly fishing.

Rule Number One: No Throw Backs at a Trout Farm

Now I like to catch and release for the most part, so the way you have to look at going to a trout farm is that it’s like going to the fish market except that you get to haul in the catch! They clean your fish and ice them for you, so the kids did miss out on that, although if I weren’t lazy we could have cleaned them at home. Oh well; next time I’ll take them to a real lake and make them fish the hard way.

Rule Number Two: You Bait Your Own Hook

Now teaching kids to fish invariably has its surprises. One is when you six-year-old daughter accidentally flings her flip flop into the pond during the middle of battling a 15 trout fighting for his very life.

The ruckus that ensued involved screaming, children scrambling the banks with fish nets to land the whale, me fishing the cast away flip flop with a fishing pole and trying to maintain some order … and a great photo in the end of the triumphant young fishermen holding up their prize.

The other surprise usually involves the bait, in this case worms. The old adage “Catch a man a fish you feed him once, teach him to fish you feed him for life” is nowhere more fitting than in teaching kids to fish. While the girls were a bit timid at first, after touching the fish they were soon putting the worms on their hooks with ease, despite the disgustingness of it all.

Teaching kids to fish is a fun and rewarding outdoor experience for the entire family.
Teaching kids to fish is a fun and rewarding outdoor experience for the entire family.

The Bite Is On

While I have fished for hours on a little brook to catch a few tiny Brook trout (delicious eating, but you need a bunch for a meal!) and fished until late dusk in the high Sierra for the rare Golden trout or stalking bruiser German Browns, I have to say that getting a nibble the minute you throw in a hook is not too bad!

Within an hour the crew had pulled in 13 trout, ranging in size from six inches (great deal at only 50 cents!) to 17 inches (that one was a $13.75 trout!). I quickly figured out that your odds of getting a couple of the whoppers made up for the loss leader pricing on the little guys!

Landing a Rainbow Trout

Now one thing kids love to do is get the fish on dry land. Unfortunately, this initially means simply yanking the trout out of the water, so a little instruction with holding the rod tip up and having a partner net the fish in the water was in order.

By the time we had 5 or 6 nice trout in the bucket, they started to get the hang of netting fish. We had them switch off fishing and netting so that everyone got a chance to bait hooks, feel the nibbles, set the hook, reel in the trout and netting and hook removal.

A Great Day Fishing

After about an hour or so we had all the fish we could possibly eat and, since there are no throwbacks, we called it a day and went to have lunch while the folks at the trout farm cleaned our trout and iced them down for us. Nice!

If you haven’t taken your kids fishing I highly recommend you try a fish farm or trout pond like this first; you’ll be guaranteed to catch your limits so the kids will enjoy their first fishing trip and hopefully get excited about trying stream and lake fishing later down the road.

Cooking Your Rainbow Trout

Don’t miss our article on various ways of Cooking Fresh Trout; we’ve got several different recipes for you to try!


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