Minnesotans 15-years-old or younger and their grown up companion can fish without licenses on Friday, June 5, through Sunday, June 7, during the Minnesota DNR’s “Take a Kid Fishing Weekend”. You don’t even need to own fishing gear, because it is available for loan from Minnesota State Parks. We have borrowed fishing gear at William O’Brien State Park. It was very easy to do and a park ranger stopped by to give the girls pointers. Note that if you can’t make it to Take a Kid Fishing Weekend, Minnesota residents generally can fish in state parks without a fishing license, unless the body of water requires a trout stamp.
Read More: The Best Fishing Holes in the Twin Cities
Print a Fish Poster to Go With Your Kid Fishing Weekend
If you are interested in learning more about the fish that live in Minnesota lakes and rivers, Explore Minnesota has a PDF poster of Minnesota Fish that you can print and take with you to compare to any fish you encounter. (Or pick one up for free the next time you are at the State Fair.)
DNR Tips To Take a Kid Fishing and Some Colorful Personal Commentary:
- Plan to have fun and remember to bring a camera. This seems like a no-brainer to me, but as a kid, I’ve gone fishing with adults who took it very seriously. This is not your fishing day. This is the day to help you secure fishing buddy when your children are older.
- Choose fishing spots with a high likelihood of success. (Learn where, when, and how the fish bite). Several years ago, we had amazingly good luck off the pier at Roseville’s Central Park. Every time my daughter dropped her Pink Princess fishing pole into the water, she brought up a Sunny. I don’t know if that is normal, but that is where I would personally start.
- Use live bait to increase the chance of catching a fish. (Live bait is more interesting to kids, too.) I’m not sure if I agree with the part in parenthesis. My kids don’t particularly like handling worms and neither do I. If you are going to deal with live bait (and plan to keep your fish for that matter), bring someone who is not squeamish.
- Pick a place that is comfortable, safe, and easy to get to—public fishing piers are a great place to start. (Find a fishing pier (←PDF). If its windy, public fishing piers can be a little nerve wracking with preschoolers and toddlers. You may want to put them in life-jackets.
- Bring snacks! That’s just good general parenting advice. Always bring snacks.
- Remember the basics: sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit. Again, I’d add life-jackets, diapers & wipes, a change of clothes and towels.
- Provide kids with simple tackle in working order. If you already enjoy fishing, you can probably dig through your own stash. Otherwise, see the part about State Parks offering this stuff for free.
- Start with realistic expectations. With short attention spans, kids may want to move onto something else after a very short time. Choose a park with a playground or a beach. Bring a non-fishing adult who doesn’t mind taking them if you want to continue fishing for a bit
- Have patience! I think they are talking about fishing, but this is also just good advice for parenting.
When is fishing season in Minnesota?
Pretty much always for something. Click here to see the DNR’s overview of fishing seasons.