One of the best parts about being in the fishing lodge business is having the opportunity to host family groups at our lodges. We absolutely love having kids around, and watching the experiences that family groups have together couldn’t be more gratifying. Fathers, daughters, sons, mothers, uncles, grandparents and more – we’ve seen it all and we love it.
We get a lot of questions from people looking to take their kids fishing, so here’s a little primer.
Where Should We Go?
As far as our lodges are concerned, unless your child is a passionate steelheader or bonefish angler, you should probably go to Alaska. Here’s why.
- The fishery on the Kanektok is extremely productive. Catch rates are high. For the majority of our season, less-experienced anglers can certainly catch fish every day, and usually lots of ’em. When you’re fishing with kids, catching is pretty important.
- The Kanektok also has lots of variety. If Mom likes hunting giant rainbows around snags (a fairly challenging fishery), but Son wants to hammer bright silvers (which takes less skill), both can easily happen in the same day. There really is something for everyone.
- Our crew in Alaska loves fishing with kids. We love their energy, their curiosity, and the speed with which they learn. We’ve hosted lots of kids, and we know what works with them and what doesn’t. Besides, kids tend to be really ‘fishy’!
- Logistics are easy. Travel is simple. Boat rides are short. Wading is a piece of cake.
How Old is Old Enough?
It really depends on the kid, but we find that for destination lodge trips, somewhere between 10 and 12 is probably the age at which most kids are ready for a trip. It’s mainly a function of attention span – our fishing programs are built around long days (10 hours of fishing at Alaska West), and if your daughter decides at 10am on day two that she’d rather be someplace else, you’re the one who’s going to have a tough trip. Strength, skill and ability to stay safe tend to be a lot less important than attention span, and you know your kid’s attention span better than anyone.
Tips for Fishing with Kids
- You’re doing a wonderful thing for your family when you takes your kid(s) to a fishing lodge. Keep that in mind when you plan your day – it’s about them, not about you! There’s plenty of incredible fishing to be had, so resist the temptation to fish where and how you want to. Build most of your days around what the kids want to do, and everyone will be a lot happier. Don’t worry – you’re going to catch a bunch of great fish regardless.
- Be safe! We very strongly recommend lifejackets for kids. Wading belts are a must, as are lectures about safe wading practices. We pride ourselves on providing a very safe enviroment for kids, but even so, don’t forget that you’re way out in the middle of nowhere…and be safe.
- At the same time, give the kids some latitude! Resist the temptation to hover. Our guides are great with kids – wander off on your own while your grandson has a fun hour with your guide. Let them experiment – kids can be incredibly intuitive anglers, and you might be surprised how successful they can be on their own.
- Put some time into your travel logistics, keeping the kids in mind. Consider breaking long travel days into a couple of days with some stops along the way. Ask in advance for hotel and restaurant recommendations along the way that work well for kids.
The most important thing isn’t where you go, it’s that you go. Take your kids fishing!