How to teach your Toddler to Fish

How to Teach your Toddler to Fish

Reap the benefits of teaching your toddler how to fish with these simple steps.  Not only is the experience fun, it’s also educational.  There are many ways to incorporate several lessons into a fishing trip.  Anything from nature and science, biology, life lessons, respect and patience are all teaching tools that are easily integrated into fishing.  Its time to take your toddler fishing!

Fishing is an outdoor activity our family takes seriously.  When it’s time to fish, we grab our gear, pack a cooler and head out for a full day on the water.  Naturally as our family grew, we knew fishing would still be a big part of our lives.  So, I present to you this very important content with how to teach your toddler to fish!

Don’t worry.  No fish were harmed in the making of this blog.  We are catch and release fisherman, we fish strictly for the sport of it.  All fish are safely released back into their natural habitat.

Teaching a toddler to fish, hmm, the idea of this sounds a bit intimidating at first, but I assure you it is a blast.  When your little one is walking, it’s time to get them ready to cast for a whopper themselves.  These simple steps will help you and your family, ease into the fishing process and make for a fun family event.

how to teach children to fish

For those of you that don’t have a big background in fishing and would like to know a bit more before you head out, read THIS POST.  There you can acquire the basic information and skills needed regarding fishing for beginners.


Get the Gear

Take your child out to your local sporting goods store and let them browse for their own rod and reel.  It’s likely they will choose one with their favorite character on it, such as Scooby Doo or Little Mermaid.  This allows them to personalize their experience opening the door to fishing and encouraging a connection. They will have an appreciation for their reel, making it special and meaningful.

toddler fishing pole

Get Them Excited about Fishing

No brainer right?  What I mean by this is for the first trip out your main focus is to show your child how much fun fishing can be.  This venture should be pressure free on the little one and demonstrate how fishing is enjoyable.

On this first trip, be sure to fish with the intention to catch something, anything.  An easy catch would be Perch.  Perch are fairly easy to locate and inhabit almost anywhere.  They bite frequently, are easy to bait and are easily reeled in.  Keep in mind, it’s a toddler fishing, no need to hook a ten pounder!

They are toddlers, so don’t be surprised if they start to play with the grass or start picking flowers, this is expected.  No pressure.  Begin with you, the parent, baiting and casting their rod.  Don’t even bother with your rod today.  The Mermaid rod is your reel for the day.  When you get a bite, set the hook and call for your child to come reel in the fish.  This is when it gets exciting.


Trigger Their Interest

If your little one is fiddling in the weeds, call for them to come help you catch the fish.  When they run over, hand them the rod and let them attempt to reel in the fish.  Now your child will experience the thrill of catching their first fish and reeling it in, with help from you of course.  Keep one hand on the rod in case they are startled and drop it suddenly.  That wriggling animal on the other end may give them a scare at first.

how to teach your children to fish

Encourage them during this process.  Once they understand how it works they will be more likely to want to learn to do it themselves.  This first catch is focused on the outcome of the fishing process.  Exhibiting that when fishing, you are rewarded after the wait with the thrill of catching a fish.  With your toddler intrigued with the end result, you can then emphasize the beginning of the process and explain the importance of patience.

Integrate a Life Lesson

Fishing takes patience.  Toddlers have very little patience.  When your little one realizes the benefits of waiting quietly and calmly results in catching an awesome fish, they are more inclined to participate.  Now is a great time to incorporate a life lesson and the importance of practicing patience.  This lesson will help aid quick tempers and demanding attitudes.


It took us several trips with us casting and hooking a fish first, then letting our child reel it in before we moved on to the next phase.

Time for Safety

I would have put this step first, but the main goal here is to teach your little one about the joys of fishing.  Definitely inform them of the dangers of the fish hook on day one.  Explain how it can cause injury and it’s not a toy.

Always bait the hook and cast the reel for them in the beginning.  They will learn to cast on their own in due time, but for now its best an adult does it.  Show your child the bait and have them observe how to bait the hook, but no touching.  You want your child to become familiar with the bait and not be afraid of it.  Let them hold the bait or touch it.

how to teach your kids to fish

Same goes for the casting, you the parent cast the rod.  No one needs a hook in their nose.  Ouch!  Your child can practice casting the rod without the hook later.  Set the line up with only a bobber and let them practice in the back yard.

You will be surprised how quickly they pick it up.  Our son was casting on his own by age 3.  It takes time.  Your child may have it mastered sooner or later.  Some adults still cannot cast properly, so no need to compare.  Encourage them to keep practicing.  Soon they will get the hang of it.

Trial and Error

It’s a learning process.  Once your child is more inclined to fish for themselves, it’s a matter of letting them fail to succeed.  There may be many snagged lines and lost hooks, again it’s a learning process.  The anticipation of catching a fish becomes a goal they can strive for.  Not only will fishing teach them patience, they will learn the value of it being worth the wait.

fishing with kids

On these ventures, incorporate a lesson.  Focus on the ecosystem, life cycles, fish types or many other educational subjects.  There are many opportunities to teach your child something new while you fish.  I have included here a few printouts that you can take on your fishing adventure.  I hope you enjoy them!

Pond life Worksheet

Fish tally

I wish you the best of luck on your fishing adventure!  I invite you to share your stories below in the comments.  Let us know how your fishing trip went and what steps worked best for your family.

Janie and Jack Sale on Now


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  1. I love the integrating a life lesson. It is hard to imagine a small child being still for that long but I imagine those are the memories that last a lifetime

  2. Omg I la la love this!! I grew up on the ocean and I am obsessed with fishing! All 5 of my kids have been fishing with me and love being on the water as well. This is so great to get kids out in nature and it’s so peaceful! Great post! xo

  3. Fishing for kids I believe is a great idea. The have fun, they learn new things, they bond with the family and make great memories plus it’s an outdoors activity which is great Great post!

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