Thursday, October 1, 2009

Take A Kid Ice Fishing in Newaygo Michigan

Like catching plenty of fish and can’t get a baby sitter? Try Ice fishing with a child. It does require a certain amount of patience but with the right mind set and a few simple tips, chances are it will be a great success.

No doubt, it does require some work but the rewards in return will be worth it. Imagine the look on a 5 year olds face when they reel in their first fish. It is priceless! Or imagine your 7 year old at school showing off the picture of his 10” long Crappie and him telling his little friends about the great time he had with his Mom and/or Dad.

That is just the beginning of the art of telling fish stories. Trust me, even at the young age of 7, this ability comes naturally. The fish story gets better each time it is told and the fish seems to get a bit bigger and the fight a little tougher. And that is how fish stories should be.

There are several important tips to help make a fishing trip with a child a success.

1. Keep it interesting. Catching fish is the ultimate goal so I suggest starting out with fishing for Crappies or Bluegills. In most cases, the chances of catching something - anything- are much greater with these species than say -Walleye or Northern. Eventually, you will be able to graduate to larger species that require more technique and patience.

For beginners, quantity seems to matter much more than size. Give the child age appropriate jobs. For example, helping mark where the hole will be drilled, cleaning ice out of the holes after drilling or scooping minnows from the minnow bucket.

Keep rules and instructions short and simple. Nothing deters interest faster than long explanations and constant nagging.

Set realistic time goals. For example, 1- 2 hrs. of actual fishing time is about as good at it can be expected for first few trips. Don't be discouraged, the time span grows with age and experience.

The key is to make the first ice fishing trips memorable and positive. Hopefully, fun will be an element and they will be begging to go again.

2. Snacks. Don't ever leave home without them!

Many a fishing trips have been saved by a snack during a slow period. I can fish all day without eating but children seem to get hungry, cranky and tired. It is amazing how a little food enhances the attitude and mood of a child. Make sure to pack plenty of lunch and a drink. You may even want to bring a small charcoal grill and roast hot dogs. There have been occasions where I have allowed a small toy.

3. Safety. No matter how many times you remind a child of the dangers of a 10" ice hole, it does not seem sink in until they experience it first hand. My son took a step in the icy cold lake water during the cold winter months within the first minute of drilling the holes. Fortunately, he did not experience any harm other than wet feet and cold toes. A constant and watchful eye is a must.

A life jacket is a good idea for small children if they are walking around on the ice. Warm clothing is essential. Remember, while you are busy working getting everything lined up, a child is more apt to get cold much quicker than seems possible.

An extra pair of mittens is also a good idea. It is inevitable that every pair of mittens a child wears will some how end up wet.

4. Take pictures. Bring a camera. These photos will be treasured forever. You can only imagine how many times a child will want to see a picture of themselves holding their prized catch. It is a source of great pride and it keeps the adventure alive in their minds.

5. Equipment. The first and most important piece of equipment in my opinion is an ice fishing rod with a reel. This will provide lots of entertainment -opening the bail, sending the lure down, jigging and reeling the fish up. A ice shanty will help to block the wind during those cold winter days. An auger is needed to drill the hole. A bucket for the fish and a few bag style folding chairs are always useful too. The equipment you bring will depend on how long of a trip you are planning

Remember, when you take a child fishing, it should be all about them. Keep them happy and don't over do it. When they are done - they are done.

Be patient and you will help them to develop a true interest in the sport of ice fishing and hopefully a life long hobby they can in turn share with their family.

It is always convenient if you are able to rent a waterfront vacation home when ice fishing with children. If your children get cold and tired they can go back and get warm. Many vacation homes offer discounted rates during the winter months with a minimal stay. Some house rentals in Newaygo, Michigan offer ice fishing packages – which includes most of your equipment and accommodations. you can stay one day or more. For more information on Hess Lake, visit Hess Lake fishing is known for Crappie and Blue Gills.

Hopefully in the years to come, that family will ask to ice fish every winter.

See you out on the ice!


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