The most important thing to remember is that your Iowa fishing trip isn’t about how many fish you can catch – it’s about how many memories you can make. It’s also about teaching your kids how to fish and having a good time. If your kids feel like they’re being lectured, they’ll lose interest – and won’t want to make another trip. So keep it fun!
Check out Iowa lakes like Lake Red Rock, Big Spirit Lake and Lake Manawa that have campgrounds, picnic facilities, playgrounds, beaches and more so you can take a break if needed.
2. Keep it simple with easy-to-use tackle
Really, all you need is a nightcrawler and bobber. Think small, because the fish you’ll likely encounter will have mouths about the size of the tips of your finger. So use small hooks and baits, a quarter-sized bobber and 2- to 4-pound test line.
Find bait and tackle all around Iowa at places like Tournament Tackle in Des Moines and Rathbun Dam Site Depot in Moravia.
10 Family Fishing Tips
3. Give each child a job to do
Giving your kids a responsibility, like carrying the tackle box, will help them feel like an important part of the trip. It will also help keep them focused and get the right clothing for them, Buy4Outdoors selling wetsuits for children special for this events.
4. Give your kids your full attention
It’s important to keep a constant eye on your kids to ensure their safety and that they don’t fall into the water. Life jackets are always a good idea for shore fishing. Also, before you throw out a few casts yourself, make sure your kids are comfortable fishing. Show them the basics and let them know you’re proud of how they’re doing. Get all the safety and fishing equipment you need at places like Jax Outdoor Gear in Ames and the Iowa Outdoors Store in Fort Dodge.
5. Fish for species that are easy to catch
Bluegill and crappie are good fish to start with. Check the weekly fishing report before you go.
6. Go early in the day
After all, that’s when kids are most attentive. Not only are kids in brighter spirits in the morning, temperatures are also cooler. Plus, a fishing trip during a skipped naptime is a recipe for disaster.
10 Family Fishing Tips
7. Keep it short
An all-day (or week-long) fishing trip might sound perfect to you, but it can make even the most even-keeled kid crabby. Kids have shorter attention spans, so start with just an hour or two and leave when they start to get fidgety. Make sure they remember the positive, fun parts of the trip.
8. Pack snacks
Avoid a cranky angler by packing a cooler of sandwiches, easy-to-eat snacks like granola bars and, of course, lots of water. Speaking of staying hydrated – make sure there’s a restroom nearby.
Some Iowa lakes, like Gray’s Lake in Des Moines, even have a snack shop on site. Talk about convenient!
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