How to Catch a Limit of Trout with Your Kids

How to Catch a Limit of Trout with Your Kids

There are four counties in Minnesota that don’t have a single natural lake. I grew up in one of them. While I spent plenty of time daydreaming about fishing big water, I didn’t have it too bad. The bottom-right corner of the state, where I hail from, is absolutely laced with streams and rivers.

Even in grade school, my buddies and I would bike our way to the edge of town and try to catch trout. That pretty much solidified a love of small, fast-moving water and its inhabitants. A love I am actively trying to pass to my daughters, although it’s a heavier lift for us to get to any decent streams these days.

Still, there’s a lot of water out there where you can target browns, rainbows, and in some places, brook trout. Some of the best water is conducive to fishing with youngsters, but before that, it’s a matter of catching some bait.

Worm Wrangling

One of the reasons I’m hooked on saltwater fishing is the option to catch your own bait. It just adds a cool element to the experience, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun to throw a cast net over a school of mullet or other baitfish. Freshwater fishing isn’t quite the same, but you can catch your own bait if trout are your quarry.

Now, I know a lot of diehard flyfishermen will hate this, but I don’t care. If you want to catch a limit of trout with your kids, you better bring along some meat. Some folks love to romanticize trout as finicky creatures that only sip their meals off the surface during just the right hatch, but that’s a special moment. The rest of the time, they are happy to eat plain old worms.

After a hard rain, the worm picking is easy. It gets even more fun for the kids if you head out with a flashlight after dark to work on your nightcrawler stalking skills. If not, the tried-and-true method of flipping over rocks, logs, and landscaping blocks can get you ready to go bait-wise.

trout fishing with kids

Easy Water

One of my favorite streams to fish when I’m alone is a small brook trout stream in northern Wisconsin that winds its way through giant tracts of timber. While my daughters are good enough now to cast into the small eddies and pools where those native brookies hole up, that wasn’t always the case. We had to fish in easier water.

A trout stream threaded through a pasture, a park, or just about any open ground is a good option for young kids. While that’s intuitive for flyfishing and the backcast reality, it’s also true for anyone toting a spinning rod who doesn’t want to get snagged up on streamside vegetation the whole day.

The type of water you fish with your kids is just as important as anything else. While the easy stuff will get fished harder, it’s also just the best option for youngsters. As they grow and learn how to cast better, you can broaden your horizons to tighter water.

Natural Drifts, Tight Lines

Drowning worms is a great way to catch trout, but there’s more to it than tossing bait into a deep hole and then setting your rod in a Y stick to wait out a bite. A natural drift is key, and that means the less weight you have, the better. The downside to less weight is that it increases the difficulty of casting.

My kids, even when they were little, used spinning rods that were at least six feet long. This allowed them to cast with light line (usually four- or six-pound mono) and follow the natural drift of their presentation.

A half of a nightcrawler threaded on a small hook and then drifted with zero drag through rapids and deeper holes is about it for presentation. If they can get that right by standing downstream of their target and casting upstream, they’ll catch fish. In decently fast-moving water, the trout have very little time to decide if they should eat or not. If a worm drifting past them looks natural, they’ll mostly eat it. That’s really about it.

This style of casting for a natural drift also cuts down on the chances that your kids will gut-hook a fish since the take is usually quickly evident. Even if you’re looking for some trout for the grill and fully plan to conk a couple on the head with a stream-side rock, you don’t want to encourage extra mortality when it can be avoided. The easiest way to do this also happens to be the best way to catch them, which is a win-win situation.

For more information on getting your kids outdoors, check out these articles: The 6 Best Youth Deer Hunting Rifles, How To Introduce Your Kids To Deer Scouting, and How Not To Introduce Your Kids To Guns.

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