Where to Go Fishing with Kids

Fishing with Kids
MA Office of Travel & TourismFishing with kids is a great way to unplug.

There’s a lot to be said for the act of fishing, from learning patience to unplugging from technology to simply enjoying being outside. I live in the city, where fishing is certainly not something every kid learns how to do, but it’s one of those summer activities that can be so much fun and so rewarding, regardless of whether or not you catch anything.

In Boston, I often find myself stopping to watch locals fish at Jamaica Pond, which the city stocks with trout each year. It’s striking how in-the-moment people are when they fish. Rarely is anyone on their phone; they are sitting quietly waiting for their lines to jiggle. It’s very peaceful, which is something we all could use more of in our lives.

For families and kids who might want to try out the sport themselves, but don’t know where to start, there are several clinics and events you can check out in New England (see below).

Like any sport, make sure you know the rules before you head out to fish, especially if you’re not participating in a class. In Massachusetts, a license is required to fish in both fresh and salt water for residents over 15 years of age. Visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game website to purchase one if you plan on fishing with your child. Always check the rules for any state that you decide to fish in before you head out.

Upcoming Events and Programs

August 13: Billerica Dog Days Family Fishing Day
Held at Nuttings Lake in Billerica, Mass., from 9 a.m. to noon, this is a free, non-competitive, family-friendly, learn-to-fish event. Bring fishing equipment or borrow what you need (limited equipment and bait will be provided). For more information, contact Sandra Libby at 978-671-0921 or slibby@town.billerica.ma.us.

September 10: Harold Parker State Forest Family Fishing Festival,
This free, non-competitive, family-friendly, learn-to-fish festival will be held at Sudden Pond in the Harold Parker State Forest from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Andover, Mass. Bring fishing equipment or borrow what you need (limited equipment and bait will be provided). For more information, contact the Harold Parker State Forest at 978-686-3391.

August 19, 26, and September 2: Family Fishing Courses
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Fisheries Division, sponsors free fishing classes year-round for families and individuals age 9 and up across Connecticut. At these classes, held from 9 a.m. to noon at Stratton State Park in Simsbury, Conn., you’ll learn all you need to know about fish and fishing. Spend time learning from experienced instructors in the classroom, and then go on a fishing trip. Classes are taught by state certified volunteer instructors. Visit www.ct.gov or call 860-663-1656 to find more programs, from half-day events to four-day courses. All equipment is provided.

August: L.L. Bean Fly-Casting Discovery Course
L.L. Bean offers multiple one-hour fly-casting courses in August in Freeport, Maine, all led by expert instructors. After brief introductions and a safety talk, you and your kids (children over age 8 welcome with an adult) will learn the components of a fly-rod outfit, then the four-part cast, false cast and roll cast—foundational skills on which to build more advanced casting techniques. You’ll also have time to practice your skills, so you can confidently cast on your own. All necessary fly-casting equipment is provided. The class is $25. Call 888-552-3261 or visit L.L. Bean’s website for exact dates and times.

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Kim Foley MacKinnon

Along with Ethan Hipple, Kim Foley MacKinnon writes AMC’s Great Kids, Great Outdoors blog. She is a Boston-based editor, journalist, and travel writer whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe, AAA Horizons, Travel + Leisure, and USA Today, among other publications. Kim has been writing about what to do and where to go in New England since her teenager was a toddler. Her latest book for AMC is Outdoors with Kids Boston.