Making fishing fun and easy for kids –


Did you know that camDown blocks unwanted traffic and disables remote access from FSAs?
John Neporadny Jr.The Free Fishing Days set for Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13 allow any person to fish state waters without a Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) fishing permit so parents and guardians have a free opportunity to try fishing for the first time and introduce their kids to the sport. The MDC also helps introduce kids to fishing by holding Kids Fishing Days programs the same weekend at a conservation area or participating location near you.If you are unable to attend one of the MDC kids programs, the Lake of the Ozarks or a local pond are also ideal locations to teach your kids how to fish. Whether you are a hardcore experienced angler or have never fished before, the following five tips will help make fishing a fun and easy experience when you introduce them to the sport.Use live bait and simple fishing tackle such as a cane pole or spincast rod-and-reel combo for the kids. All fish prefer the real deal, so live bait is the best way for beginners to start fishing. All they have to do is throw out their lines and let the bait do the rest. Keeping the tackle simple allows the kids to easily cast or plunk their bait into the water and prevents you from having to untangle balls of line that occur frequently when novices try to cast spinning or bait-cast reels. The cane pole is the simplest form of fishing tackle because it can deliver a bait to the fish without having to push any buttons or make a long cast, and fish can be hooked and landed by merely lifting the pole rather than having to reel in line.Let the kids decide when they want to start fishing. If they would rather go swimming for a while, let them swim. While they are swimming, you can wet a line a safe distance from them and you might spark their interest if you start catching a bunch of fish.Avoid coaching your kids too much. Allow them to try a new bait or cast to a different spot if they want to try something different. Remember that you became a better angler because you experimented with different techniques and lures, so why shouldn’t you allow your kids the same opportunities.Bring along plenty of other forms of entertainment, such as toys and games, for the kids—especially if you are fishing from a boat. Remember that kids have a short attention span and will want to do something else, even if the fish are practically jumping in the boat. So if you still want to get in on the good fishing, have something else readily available for the kids to do.Turn your fishing trip into an educational experience. I have a bad habit of tuning out the surroundings on the water and focusing on my line to detect bites, which is fine for fishing in tournaments but is not the way to get kids involved in the sport. Let them take in the whole fishing experience and point out to them the blue heron stalking the shoreline for a fish, the turtles sunning on logs or the bluebirds singing in the trees.These tips can help make the first fishing trip a fun and easy experience that hopefully gets your kid hooked on fishing for life.FREE FISHING DAYS SPOTS TO CHECK OUT• McCubbins PointDown a few miles of blacktop, off of State Highway A in Camden County, lies a lesser known piece of Lake of the Ozarks. A favorite among kayakers, the state park slopes gently down to the lake’s shore, providing for easy launch, and there’s a handy wooden dock next to the normal sized boat ramp. Find a spot under a shaded tree and fish the day away. McCubbin’s Point is located in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Another popular spot in the state park is the Pe He Tsi access just off the Osage Beach Parkway in Osage Beach.• Brown Bend Access Boat Ramp near EdwardsLocated on the Osage Arm at the 61.5-mile marker near Climax Springs. The access is located off Highway 7 on Route DD, west 3.5 miles to Route DD north to FF for about 5 miles to FF-14. On FF-14, follow another two miles to the access ramp.•Ha Ha Tonka StateDefinitely a must-go spot for fishing on Lake of the Ozarks with the kids in tow. Has a dock and easily accessible shoreline for a day of fishing. The park also has playgrounds and picnic areas to keep the kids entertained all day. End the day with a short hike to the natural spring.• Gale Access Boat RampOn the Niangua Arm of the lake, the shoreline around the access is a great place for beginners. The area includes lighting and parking and a courtesy dock. Take Highway 54 west of Camdenton to Route AA, then north to AA 101 (Koehler Rd.), turn on Larry Gale Rd.  •Shawnee Bend AccessLocated a the 10.9-mile marker on the Osage Arm of the lake, the access is a perfect spot for those looking for somewhere on the west side to check out. Take Highway 5 to Route F to Route TT. There’s a parking area and easy access to the lake.•Coffman BeachOn the Gravois Arm of the lake at the 2.6-mile marker, this is a popular access for boats and for families who enjoy shoreline and dock fishing. There is a paved parking lot. Take Y Rd west from Eldon to Rocky Mount. Turn on Y-20 and follow the signs.  •Bagnell Dam AccessJust below Bagnell Dam, is a fun spot to take the kids on a fishing expedition. Located directly below the dam. Kids can watch the birds as they feed below the dam and get an up close view of the hydroelectric plant. It is a busy location with lots of boats coming and going but there is plenty of shoreline to walk upstream to throw in a line.The access areas mentioned are not intended for swimming. Please be safe anytime you are around the water, on a dock, on the shoreline or on a boat, and buckle up in an approved lifejacket.
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