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Should You Take a Kid Fishing?

Nine-year-old Carter catches his first muskie! • Credit: Tina Spedding
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Should You Take a Kid Fishing?


The best age to bring your kids fishing to Canada is probably earlier than you think.

I just got back from the sports shows where I had the opportunity to talk with many fishermen who have been to Canada fishing with their buddies. Now, many are wondering if their kids are old enough to bring along on the next trip.

Children are most welcome to visit Sunset Country anytime; however, if you want to spend most of the days on the lake fishing, I would say wait until they are at least 7 years old. Some think that is too young, and maybe it might be in some of the lakes in the US where it takes you all day to catch a fish. But here in Sunset Country, the fishing is much faster and they will be catching lots of fish (and often out-fish the parents!).

The smile says it all!

When they are not reeling in a fish, they'll be amazed at what they see while cruising the lake: plenty of bald eagles (and if they're lucky, maybe even see one swoop down and catch a fish himself), deer, moose, or bear at the water’s edge.

You can’t forget about the waterfalls and beaches that may dot the shoreline. They’ll certainly enjoy the shore lunch. The whole crew will be happy to stop for a swim on a hot day.

Guests at Hideaway Lodge jump off "The Rock" on Clearwater Lake. 

Back at camp, many resorts and lodges have sand beaches, firepits, and water toys such as water trampolines or waterslides. You can rent or use the camp’s canoes, paddle boats, or even a SUP. But more often than not, you can find the kids casting off the dock every evening. 

On rainy days, you may want to head into town to see some of the attractions or museums like the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre, the Northern Ontario Sport Fishing Centre in Sioux Narrows, the Lake of the Woods Museum in Kenora, the Fort Frances Museum, Atikokan Centennial Museum or the Sioux Lookout Museum.  

Ben Kelly caught this massive walleye while staying at Kashabowie River Resort.

As far back as anyone remembers, there have been multiple generations coming to Canada to fish. The kids that were once going fishing with their dads and grandpas are now the age where they are bringing their own children. Below, Jim Moody is shown when he first went to Canada at the age of 7. Now, Moody brings his two sons of his own to Sunset Country. 

Jim Moody and his dad on his first trip to Lac Des Mille Lacs when he was 7.
Brendan and Tyler Moody fishing on Shearstone Lake.

So if you have any reservations about bringing your kids on your fishing trip, I think you should put them to rest. They’ll be happy in the wilderness and out on the lakes fishing. They certainly won’t be asking for their smartphones or iPads for something to do!

To help plan your trip, find a tourist camp that welcomes you and your children. Often the lodges also give discounts for your children! You can also send your kids to a summer camp or participate in the family camps at Luther Village. Enjoy playing at the waterfront, hiking, fire building, learning new skills in the archery range, singing at campfires, joining others at our nightly campfires, and worshipping under the majestic pines.  

Having fun at Luther Village.

Tips for Travelling with Minors:

If you are driving, children under 16 do not need a passport. They only need to present proof of U.S. citizenship. You can get a passport for your child if you’d like. They are valid for five years and can be applied for at a Passport Acceptance Facility or by mail if it is a renewal. If you plan to travel to Canada with a minor who is not your own child or for whom you do not have full legal custody, CBSA may require you to present a notarized affidavit of consent from the minor’s parents. Please refer to the CBSA website for more details.    

Sophie is fishing with her dad on Lake of the Woods.

Do Minors Need a Fishing License?

Non-residents of Canada and Under 18 years old:

  • No Outdoors Card or fishing license tag is required if you are accompanied by a person who has a valid Outdoors Card and fishing license tag.
  • Government-issued identification with your name and date of birth. 
  • Any fish kept are part of the catch and possession limit of the person who holds the license.
  • If the children want to have their own limits, they can buy their own Outdoors Cards and licenses.

Residents of Canada Under 18 years old:

  • No Outdoors Card or fishing license tag required
  • Government-issued identification with your name and date of birth. 
  • You must follow catch and possession limits for sport fishing

You can purchase your fishing licenses ahead of time online or at the lodge if they sell them. 

Gord Pyzer wrote a great article for Outdoor Canada on getting kids hooked on fishing. His advice? Don’t treat them as kids. Give them a rod (or two or three), some tackle, and let them have at it. They’ll love your fishing trips together even more.

Have a great trip fishing with your children! And don't forget, if you don't want to give up your fishing trip with your buddies, you can always take two trips: one with your friends and one with the family!

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