February 22, 2012

Fishing With Kids

Images by Wallace Kirkland, 1950, via the LIFE photo archive

Fishing wasn't a big part of my childhood. My dad took us out a few times on camping trips, though, and while I can't recall ever catching anything, I do remember having fun. It's one of those activities that make you slow down and get a little quiet, don't you think? And that can be a pretty nice thing to share with a parent.

Still, I hadn't thought much about fishing with kids until Record Outdoors columnist Pete Ottesen wrote about it in a recent piece. (Pete is fantastic, by the way. I'm not a hunter. Not an outdoorswoman. But his columns always make me want to go for a hike). 

Fishing is a great activity for families, he says, because you can do it without fancy equipment or extraordinary skill. And if you go out now, you stand a good chance of making your first try a successful one:
"When water temperatures hover in the 50- to 52-degree range, trout cruise close to the surface within easy casting distance of boys and girls, who dream of hooking 'the big one,'" Pete writes. "Now is the time to hook kids on fishing. Trout are being liberally planted and simple tactics as easy as tossing out bait under a bobber likely will entice a bite and put a smile on a youngster's face."
He suggests Lake Camanche, Lake Amador, New Melones Lake - even the pond at Oak Grove Regional Park in Stockton.
"Each of these destinations offer picnic areas and plenty of space to romp, where tossing a plastic saucer or baseball is just as acceptable as casting a line. "In other words, these are places where kids can have fun."
Sounds OK, right? For more advice on where to go, how to get started and what to expect, find Pete's column in The Record. 

(And if you manage to catch something, here's a trout omelet recipe from Hank Shaw - another writer with a Record connection.)

What about you? Are your childhood memories full of fishing trips? Is it a tradition you share with your kids now? 

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