Parents and other adults who want to expose kids to fishing this summer but don’t know how have multiple opportunities in coming days.
Fishing’s benefits to kids are many. Unlike most school-sponsored team sports, fishing can be enjoyed for a lifetime, and in fact often is appreciated more as years pass. Additionally, kids who relish watching a bobber sink beneath a lake surface or who enjoy casting a line from a dock are less likely to find trouble.
In Minnesota, Take-a-Kid Fishing Weekend is June 10-12, a time when Minnesotans 16 years or older who take kids fishing age 15 or younger don’t need licenses.
Year-round, Minnesota residents in most instances also can fish in state parks without a fishing license, presenting adults with still another opportunity to expose kids to angling with minimal costs.
What’s more, many state parks have free fishing loaner kits, which include rods, reels and tackle boxes stuffed with everything needed to catch fish for fun, dinner or both.
Fishing from a dock or pier also is an excellent way to introduce kids to fishing. On waters statewide, the Department of Natural Resource maintains fishing piers that are sturdy, safe and usually located in areas where fish can be caught.
For a list of Minnesota shore fishing piers and their locations, go online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing_piers/statewide_list.html.
For individuals, families or youth groups seeking a little more distant adventure, fishing launches (large boats capable of carrying 25 or more anglers) plying the waters of Lake Mille Lacs are reporting exceptional catches. (All walleyes caught this year on the big lake must be released.)
On a Mille Lacs launch, all gear and bait are provided. Cost is usually about $35 a person for a four-hour trip, during which — based on recent reports — good action is likely.
Examples: Anglers last weekend on a launch owned by the Wharf Resort in Isle, Minn., “caught fish like crazy,’’ reports Rachel Anderson from that establishment.
Similarly, Jackie Peltier of Nitti’s Hunter’s Point Resort said Tuesday that anglers on one of its launches caught more than 50 fish.
Mille Lacs launches owned by Twin Pines Resort and Fisher’s Resort also report outstanding catches. Saturday evening, 20 anglers on a Fisher launch landed 175 walleyes, and Twin Pines reports as many as 250 fish being caught on some launch outings. (For a list of Mille Lacs resorts offering fishing launches, go online to http://business.millelacs.com/list/category/launch-service-21)
Given a chance to experience that kind of action, or even a fraction thereof, most kids will be hooked on fishing for a lifetime.