Take a kid fishing





Regular readers of my newspaper column see me say it all the time…”Take a kid fishing”. As a guide, I get to see the wide eyes and smiles on kid’s faces when that “big” fish comes over the gunnel.  I regularly see great photo’s posted on my Facebook pages of friend’s kids and grandkids, and some videos that are truly epic.

My kids are grown and gone, with no Grandkids on the horizon, but you know what? Any chance I get to take my “kids” fishing; it is something I value more than most other things.  When I say take a kid fishing, it doesn’t just mean a 5, 6 or 7 year old, it could be your own kid, or someone else’s, or even just someone younger than you.  The beauty of it is, when the fish are biting, we are all kids again!

The Flathead Valley, and FWP’s Region One specifically, is a fantastic place to take a kid fishing.  Not only do we have some of the most diverse fishing in the state, but we have some awesome kids and family only fishing ponds, and regular events to  introduce kids to fishing and keep  interest high once introduced.

The “Kids Hooked on Fishing” program is alive and well in our area schools, with almost every fourth grade class in the valley participating.  Every year these students get at least one fishing trip, get to dissect and learn about the biology of the fish, and some even get to participate in stocking projects in the lakes and ponds they get to fish!  (Volunteers are ALWAYS appreciated at these outings and this is one way you can “take a kid fishing”).

Another fantastic opportunity exists in the many kids fishing ponds that exist across the valley, including the Pine Grove pond (having just undergone another expansion and upgrade, this is the crown jewel in Montana’s kids fishing ponds), Shady Lane Pond, Dry Bridge Pond, Buffalo Head, Swan pond and of course the pond at Snappy Sport Senter in Kalispell.  These are places that are stocked regularly and are managed for kids and families.  Local groups such as the Flathead Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited, Flathead Wildlife, the Sunriser Lions Club and Trout Unlimited are heavily involved in supporting these places.

When taking a smaller kid fishing, think about the size of the rod and reel they will be using.  Small hands can struggle with full size gear, and even a 5’ rod can be a little overwhelming, so maybe start them out with a kids specific outfit.  Those Spiderman and Barbie poles sure seem to catch a lot of fish at any kids event I go to, and I think it might just be because they FIT those younger hands.  Let them touch and handle the fish they catch, but don’t force them if they are a bit timid. Take a couple home and cook them up, let them see the value of harvesting their own food.  I see WAY too many kids every year on our boats that don’t make that connection.

Lastly, let’s also include the older generation who maybe can’t do too well on their own anymore.  Maybe the hands can’t tie a good knot, or the eyes are going bad.  Maybe they just want to sit on a bank or in the boat with a rod in their hands and a story to tell.  And maybe we can learn a thing or two along the way.  So when you hear those words “take a kid fishing”, remember, fishing is a timeless sport, one that makes us all kids again.  I’ll see you on the water!Gramma Ann