Getting Kids Started in Ice Fishing

The keys to introducing kids to ice fishing are to keep it simple and keep it fun.

by Lake-Link Staff

There are a lot of anglers who would rather fish through the ice than out on the open water. That includes a lot of kids. Unlike open water angling, ice fishing is super easy for youngsters since there's no need to worry about casting, and no fear of struggling to operate the tackle. In many ways, ice fishing might be the best way to introduce kids to fishing for the very first time, since every aspect of it is a huge adventure.

The keys to introducing kids to ice fishing are to keep it simple, and keep it fun. Here are some basic dos and don'ts to ensure they'll want to go again and again.

When introducing kids to ice fishing, keep the approach simple, and keep the focus on having fun.
Do make it all about the kids, by sticking close to home and not turning it into an all-day ordeal. Remember that all kids have short attention spans, so if you manage to hold their attention for two or three hours, you've hit a home run.

Do make it all about fast action and lots of activity. A farm pond full of small but eager perch or bluegill is just about ideal. Kids don't care about big fish or elusive species, but they absolutely need lots of action to keep them engaged.

Do bring the portable hut - partly for comfort, partly so they can see down the hole and watch for fish, and mainly because the hut itself is part of the adventure.

Do leave the lures at home and just use live bait. Watching the minnows swim around in a pail is a part of the experience, so don't deny them that. And if fishing is slow, the kids can at least keep themselves amused by playing with the bait.

Kids don't care about big fish, they want lots of action. A farm pond full of small but eager panfish is ideal.
While you're at it, do make a point of leaving the fancy ice rods at home and go with simple tackle instead. Tips-ups are great because they provide a visual aspect to the fishing, and once there's a bite, the kids can just haul the fish in by pulling the line up hand over hand. It's simple, it's tactile, and it's just plain fun.

Do bring plenty of snacks and a thermos full of hot chocolate. There's nothing like an impromptu cookie break to help keep the kids warm and focused.

Don't worry if they get bored and want to do something else. The idea is to ensure the kids have fun, so if they lose interest in fishing and want to have a snowball fight instead, put the gear down and simply enjoy being their target.

Finally, don't miss this extraordinary opportunity to really bond with your kids by doing something wild and crazy and fun.

Few things in life are as rewarding as the strong relationships we develop with our kids over a fishing trip, and a sunny winter afternoon is a great place to start. Keep it short, keep it simple, keep it fun, and you'll soon find yourself with a new fishing partner who's even more into it than you are.

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