Taking Your Kids Fishing for the First Time: A Guide for Fathers

Taking Your Kids Fishing for the First Time: A Guide for Fathers

Introducing your kids to fishing can be a wonderful way to bond, teach them patience, and create lasting memories. Whether you're an experienced angler or new to the sport, taking your kids fishing for the first time requires some planning and preparation. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you get started, including a gear checklist, safety precautions, and tips for fishing in Colorado lakes. 

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Gear Checklist

Before heading out, ensure you have all the necessary gear. Here’s a checklist to help you prepare.

Essential Fishing Gear

  • Fishing Rods and Reels: Lightweight and easy-to-use rods for kids.
  • Fishing Line: 4-6 lb test line for small to medium-sized fish.
  • Hooks: Size 6-10 hooks, barbless if possible to minimize injury for catch and release.
  • Bait: Live bait like worms or minnows, or artificial lures like spinners and jigs. Salmon eggs or power bait works too.
  • Bobbers: To help indicate when a fish is biting.
  • Sinkers: To help the bait sink to the desired depth.
  • Tackle Box: To organize hooks, lures, bobbers, and other small items.
  • Fishing License: Required for anyone over 16 years old in Colorado. Get yours online at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Site here or in person at any State Park entrance and sporting goods stores.
  • Camp Chairs: Sometimes good logs or rocks are hard to find.

Safety and Comfort

  • Life Jackets: Especially important for young children and if you’re fishing from a boat.
  • Sunscreen: Protects skin from harmful UV rays especially from the water reflection.
  • Hats and Sunglasses: For additional sun protection.
  • Insect Repellent: Keeps bugs at bay.
  • First Aid Kit: For minor injuries and emergencies.
  • Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated and energized.
  • Hiking Gear: If walking in a ways. Check out the Legacy Father hiking checklist here.

Precautions When Handling Hooks

Hooks can be dangerous if not handled properly. Here are some precautions to take:

  • Barbless Hooks: Use barbless hooks to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Teach Proper Handling: Show your kids how to handle hooks carefully and avoid waving rods around.
  • Supervise Closely: Always keep an eye on your children, especially when they are handling hooks and casting.
  • Keep Hooks Covered: Use hook covers or keep hooks in the tackle box when not in use.
  • Med Kit: Pack a boo-boo and med kit. Check out the Legacy Father vehicle med kit here.

Preparing the Night Before

Preparation is key to a successful fishing trip. Here’s how to get ready the night before:

  • Check the Weather: Ensure the weather conditions will be safe and suitable for fishing. Bring extra hydration or jackets if needed.
  • Pack Gear: Organize all your fishing gear and pack it in the car. Double-check your checklist.
  • Prepare Snacks and Drinks: Pack plenty of water and healthy snacks to keep everyone hydrated and energized.
  • Plan Your Spot: Decide on a fishing location and make sure you have directions. Research the area if you’re unfamiliar with it.
  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Make sure everyone goes to bed early to be well-rested for the trip.

Fishing in Colorado Lakes

Fishing in Colorado’s lakes offers a unique experience with stunning scenery and a variety of fish. Here’s what to expect:

Types of Fish

  • Rainbow Trout: Commonly found in many Colorado lakes and a favorite among anglers.
  • Brown Trout: Another popular species, known for their fight and beauty.
  • Brook Trout: Often found in cooler, higher elevation lakes.
  • Cutthroat Trout: Colorado’s state fish, found in various lakes and streams.
  • Lake Trout: Typically found in deeper, colder lakes.
  • Bass, Catfish, Pike, and Walley: Google and check your local area for stocking conditions. Check out the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Stocking report page here.

Best Time to Fish

The best times to fish are early morning and evening. Here’s why:

  • Cooler Temperatures: Fish are more active during cooler parts of the day.
  • Feeding Times: Many fish species feed during dawn and dusk, increasing your chances of a catch.
  • Less Crowded: Fewer people around, creating a peaceful and serene fishing environment.


Taking your kids fishing for the first time can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. With the right preparation, gear, and knowledge, you can ensure a safe and successful trip. Colorado’s beautiful lakes offer a fantastic opportunity to introduce your children to the joys of fishing, teaching them patience, respect for nature, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. So pack your gear, plan your trip, and get ready for a wonderful fishing adventure with your kids.


Check out the online community of fathers doing cool stuff with their kids, improving their mental health, and conquering their vices to become the dads they are meant to be.

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