Pike County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs
FISHING WITH KIDS
Fishing with children poses special challenges. Children do not always possess the skills needed to cast most lures, they get bored easily, and safety is always a concern. This website is intended to provide anglers with information intended to make fishing with children safer and more enjoyable.
Tips for Fishing with Children
1. Safety First
Let's face it, some of the best fishing areas are just not safe for youngsters. Trout streams with their slippery rocks pose many threats ranging from injuries due to falls, to drowning and hypothermia. Play it safe. Choose an area that is relatively safe and save the rugged areas until they are older.
2. Kids Get Bored
Plan the fishing trip with the children in mind. Keep it short, a couple of hours is usually more than enough. Allow the children to roam and explore if the area is safe and open enough that they may be observed. Bring snacks. A hungry child is a cranky child. Finally, fish for high percentage species. Most children will have more fun catching twenty sunfish than a single bass.
3. Make it a Learning Experience
When fishing is slow, point out interesting birds and wildlife. Take time to catch a frog and discuss its finer points. Turn over a rock or two to find out what lives under it. Not only will you help alleviate boredom, but you will also develop the child's interest in nature.
4. Use Natural Baits
Natural baits such as worms and minnows are proven fish catchers and work quite well suspended from a bobber. Artificial lures, however, generally involve some finesse, skills, and patients the child probably does not yet possess.
5. Do Not Make the Common Fishing Mistakes
Many anglers who are used to stream fishing or using artificial lures often overlook simple mistakes made by children. Do not suspend the bait too high in the water column. This is often difficult with a bobber, but try to keep the bait fairly close to the bottom. Do not use too large of a bobber. In most cases as smaller bobber will more effectively signal bites and is less likely to spook the fish. (Try a pencil bobber.) Finally, don't fish in water that is too shallow. Be prepared to cast for your child if it is necessary to get the bait into deeper water.
Top Fishing Waters for Kids
The following is a list of waters that should produce good panfish action for children:
1. Shohola Lake
This 1000+ acre impoundment is loaded with bass, panfish, and bullheads. Despite its large size, there is surprisingly little room for shore fishing. And, where shore fishing is available, the water is usually quite shallow. Therefore, it is recommended that anglers use a boat. (No gasoline engines allowed.) With children aboard, consider rowing across the lake and tying to one of the numerous stumps. Fish with worms for saucer sized sunfish and an occasional bass, perch, pickerel, or crappie. Although smaller sunnys will bite all day, the best time for larger fish is when the sun starts to set behind the mountains. As the light fades, the sunfish action will decrease. They are soon replaced by bullheads looking to feed throughout the night. There is a downside to fishing Shohola Lake. The fallen timber and heavy weed beds that produce so many fish will result in snags and weed covered hooks!
Warning: Shohola Lake was created by the Pennsylvania Game Commission for the expressed purpose of providing a duck and goose hunting area. The surrounding area is public hunting lands. Hunters have priority and interfering with them is a violation of state law. Between September and February, it is best to limit fishing to Sundays.
Bonus: Shohola Lake is one of the first two places where eagles were reintroduced into Pennsylvania. Anglers are often rewarded with seeing these magnificent birds fly around, and fish in, the lake. Click here for more information about Shohola Lake's eagles.
Directions: Shohola Lake is on US-6, halfway between Lords Valley and Milford.
2. Lake Wallenpaupack
Lake Wallenpaupack is known for its bass, striped bass, walleye, and trout fisheries. Because most anglers target those species, the sunfish go uncaught and can grow quite large. Since all property deeds stop before the lake shore, Lake Wallenpaupack's 52 miles of shoreline are open to all. In areas with a rocky shoreline, children should be able to catch rock bass using worms and similar baits. If you have access to a dock (they are privately owned), the deeper water around the dock will hold 1+ pound sunfish with pickerel, bass, and other sport fish acting as a bonus.
Directions: Lake Wallenpaupack is surrounded by, and has public access from, US-6, PA-590, and PA-507.
3. Private Community Lakes
Often overlooked are the lakes in private residential communities. Sunrise Lakes, Gold Key Lakes, Wild Acres Lakes, Birchwood Lakes, Hemlock Farms, Twin Lakes, and many others all have great fishing for bass and panfish. Conashaugh Lakes has even added striped bass to their managed waters. While the lakes are only open to community members and their guests, getting an invitation is usually not much of a problem. Because these waters are often under utilized, they usually produce great shore fishing.
4. Loch Lohman
Loch Lohman is in the Delaware Water Gap - National Recreational Area. It is stocked with trout and offers a good fishing spot for children. (See Safe Trout Waters for Kids section for more details.)
5. Lily Pond
Lily Pond is in the Pike County Park. It is a great place for kids to fish for trout and panfish. (See Safe Trout Waters for Kids section for more details.)
Safe Trout Waters to Fish with Children
When most anglers think of trout fishing, they picture idyllic mountain steams with ice cold water cascading over moss covered rocks into deep pristine pools. But those scenes, as perfect as they might be, are no place for young children. However, there is no need for despair. Pike County offers several "family friendly" trout fishing waters.
Loch Lohman is located in Delaware Township in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The lake is surrounded by grassy fields. There is a gravel parking area and picnic facilities. Loch Lohman is liberally stocked with brook trout between April and the end of May. The shallow water by the shore and the low grass surrounding the lake will allow a parent to fish while keeping an eye on an exploring child.
How to get to Loch Lohman:
From Milford: Take US-209 South to the traffic light at PA-739. Go through the light and make the first right onto Wilson Hill Road. Carefully follow Wilson Hill Road to the top of the hill. Loch Lohman will be on the left just after the intersection of Chestnut Ridge Road.
From Bushkill: Take US-209 North to Dingman Campgrounds. After passing Dingman Campgrounds, look for Wilson Hill Road on left. Carefully follow Wilson Hill Road to the top of the hill. Loch Lohman will be on the left just after the intersection of Chestnut Ridge Road.
From the West: Take US-6 East to PA-739. Follow PA-739 to the intersection of SR-2001(Milford Road). Arnolds Country Corner Sunoco is at this corner. Turn right onto SR-2001 and proceed to the first intersection. Cross the intersection. Go down into the valley and up the hill. Take the second left onto Wilson Hill Road (turn at signs for library and Delaware Twp. Municipal Building). Follow Wilson Hill Road to Loch Lohman. The intersection with Chestnut Ridge Road is just past the Loch Lohman parking area.
Bait Warning: Because Loch Lohman is in the DWG-NRA there are limits on the baits that may be used. Worms and minnows are permitted. Crayfish and insect larvae (such as hellgrammites) may be used if they were purchased and the receipt is retained by the angler. The use (and collection) of reptiles and amphibians is prohibited as is the collection of crayfish and insect larvae within the park boundaries.
How it Came About: The stocking of Loch Lohman is a cooperative effort of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the National Park Service. It was brought about through the efforts of the Pike County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.
Lily Pond is located in the newly formed Pike County Park. Presently, the Park is stocked with trout by donations from various civic organizations and sporting clubs. The lake is scheduled to be stocked by the Pike County Fish & Boat Commission starting Y-2000. The lake is only open for fishing to children under 16 years of age during the first two weeks of each trout season, after which, it is open to all.
How to Get to Lily Pond:
From Milford: Take US-6 West up hill to Schocopee Road. (If you come to I-84, you've gone too far.) Turn right onto Schocopee Road. Follow Schocopee Road to Firetower Road. Follow Firetower Road to Pike County Park.
From West: Take either US-6 East to I-84 interchange (or I-84 East to exit 10. Then exit on to US-6 East) Proceed past Big Willie's Road House then look for Schocopee Road on left. Turn left on to Schocopee Road. Follow Schocopee Road to Firetower Road. Follow Firetower Road to Pike County Park.
Youth Only: Only children 16 or under may fish Lily Pond during the first 2 weeks of the trout season.
Fishing Derby: Each year, since the park first opened, there has been a youth fishing derby on the first day of trout season. Prizes are given in several categories.
Is a License Required?
Pennsylvania requires a fishing license in order for an adult to fish. But is a license is needed for an adult to assist a child who is fishing? The short answer is "some times!"
According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, a fishing license is required by any person who is 16 years of age, or older. There are several license categories:
Lifetime Senior Resident
3 Day Non-Resident
7 Day Non-Resident
Note: No license is required by children under 16 years of age
Free fishing licenses are available for disabled veterans
Licenses may be purchased at many sporting good stores
For more information contact the PF&BC
Persons possessing any of these licenses may not only fish for themselves, but may also assist children in fishing.
However, adults and people over 16 years of age, may also assist children as long as they do not perform acts that could be construed as fishing. The Pennsylvania Summary of Fishing Regulations and Laws states:
Casting and/or retrieving , whether by rod, reel and line, or by hand-line, for oneself or for others, requires a current license, unless exempted by law.
Therefore, adults assisting children may bait hooks and remove the fish, however, casting, holding the rod, and/or reeling in the line may constitute fishing and require a fishing license.
Fishing licenses are relatively inexpensive, especially for residents. If your child is so young as to require your assistance in casting, purchase a license to avoid worrying about breaking the law.
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Watch this space for future postings