Make your kids’ early fishing trips positive ones

For family quality time, fishing is a great way for all ages to spend time together. Many May camping trips will include fishing trips, and Idaho Fish and Game reminds adults there are a number of things to keep in mind when taking youngsters or other novices out for the first time.

“Be positive, make it fun and remember it’s not just your fishing trip — it’s theirs, too,” said Adare Evans, wildlife educator for Fish and Game in Boise. “Consider it as an investment — do it right and payback time will come years later when they take you fishing.”

To help ensure your youngster’s fishing trips are not their last, Fish and Game provides the following suggestions:

•  The younger the child, the shorter the attention span. If the fish aren’t biting, don’t keep them chained to their fishing poles, or held hostage in a boat. Allow some breaks for rock skipping, swimming, enjoying some beach time, catching frogs — whatever keeps them happy and lets them enjoy the outdoors.

•  Be patient. Accept that they may not keep quiet, and they probably will get a few tangles. Keeping the outing short (under an hour for beginners) and ending on a cheerful note before anyone gets crabby will set you on course for cultivating a lifelong fishing buddy.

•  Keep it simple — short poles and closed-face reels are good choices. A small tackle box with a few small hooks, a few 1-inch bobbers and sinkers is all you need to get started.

•  If bait is used, encourage them to bait their own hooks. Let them practice with plastic worms. Eventually they’ll get used to the idea of doing it themselves.

•  Pack a cooler with sandwiches, some cookies and water. Remember to take garbage bags to pack your trash, and encourage the kids to pick up.

•  Essentials. Be sure to take sunscreen, a few Band-Aids and a fishing license, if required.

•  Quantity over quality. Your kids will have a lot more fun reeling in several easy-to-catch stocked trout rather than waiting for a 5-pound lunker to bite. Finding a well-stocked pond or lake is essential to hooking youngsters to fishing.