The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is stocking trout in lakes and streams around the state in October, making the next few weekends a perfect time to take your family on a fishing trip. If you’ve been planning to introduce your kids to fishing for the first time, here’s a few things that might just help them catch their first trout.
Practice at home
One way you can get your kids ready to catch a trout is giving them plenty of opportunities to practice. Be patient with them as you cover the basics, such as casting a line and reeling it back in. Set up a target for them to aim at to make the lesson more entertaining. This is also a great time to demonstrate how it feels when you get a bite and when to set the hook.
Keep it simple
Leave the fly fishing gear in the garage because an old Zebco 33 or any basic rod and reel is all your kids need to catch their first trout. Make sure you have plenty of small hooks, such as #4 salmon egg hooks, small split shot sinkers and bait such as waxworms and garlic salmon eggs. You can also use a small bobber about two feet above the hook. The bobber gives children something to watch and they can visually see if a fish bites.
Take your kids to the fish
When you can enjoy a relaxing morning in the outdoors, you don’t have to catch anything for it to be a good day. But for your kids’ sake, you’ll want to set them up for success. That means you need to take them to a fishing spot where you know the trout are biting. Lucky for you, Cacapon Lake, Coopers Rock Lake, Seneca Lake and Watoga Lake are receiving announced stockings on Oct. 24. The WVDNR is stocking 40 lakes and streams in total this fall.
Make sure they have fun
Your kids might be really excited about fishing and your kids may get bored after 20 minutes. Whether the fish bite or not, there are ways to make the experience entertaining for your kids. If your kids are up for a good conversation, share your own fishing stories with them. If they get distracted easily, it’s OK to bring a toy or even smartphone or tablet to keep them occupied while you wait for a fish to bite. Bring a snack or two. But whatever you do, don’t make this experience about catching fish of your own. Better yet, leave your rod at home and give your full attention to your kids.
If and when your kid feels a tug at the end of their line, don’t be surprised if the excitement of the moment causes them to freeze up or make a mistake. If they need help, patiently coach them and encourage them to remember everything you’ve taught them, but don’t do it for them. This is their chance to make a memory they’ll never forget.
Buy your fishing license and trout stamp today
While fishing for trout, all anglers 15 and older are required to have a West Virginia fishing license, trout stamp and valid form of identification. All other kids can fish for free. To learn more about West Virginia’s fishing regulations, visit www.wvdnr.gov. To purchase a fishing license and trout stamps, visit www.wvfish.com.
Safe Travel in West Virginia
While state parks, public lakes and other outdoor areas in West Virginia are some of the safest places to travel, statewide health guidelines are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes a statewide requirement to wear a mask inside when physical distancing of six feet is not possible. For the most recent updates on COVID-19 in West Virginia, visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov.
For more information about fall in West Virginia, visit www.wvtourism.com/fall.