Go Fish!
May 23, 2012

Go Fish!

The annual National Fishing and Boating Week, a country-wide celebration, is June 2 through June 10 this year. Many states take the opportunity to offer special events and even waive fishing license requirements. It’s the perfect time to teach kids the basics of fishing and participate in some fun family activities.

Massachusetts offers statewide free fishing over the weekend of June 2 and 3. You don’t need a fishing license to fish any body of water. For families who want some instruction or tips, plan to go to the Great Falls Family Fishing Day in Turners Falls on June 2. You can learn about fish, safety, ethics, and fishing equipment. On June 3, the 21st Annual Horn Pond Family Fishing Festival in Woburn offers a similar program.

For more extensive activities, head north to the Maine Free Family Fishing Festival, sponsored by the Upper Andro Anglers Alliance in Bethel. There will be casting workshops and fly-tying instruction throughout the day taught by local Maine guides and members of the Mollyockett Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Instruction includes both spin casting and fly casting. All younger kids will receive a mini-tackle box complete with bobber, sinkers, and hook. After learning to cast, you can fish in the one-acre pond, stocked with trout, and best of all, you can take home your catch! The Bethel Fire Department is hosting a barbecue or you can pack a picnic lunch. If you feel like making a weekend of it, special overnight family packages are available at nearby hotels and inns.

A wonderful resource for all things to do with fishing and boating is the aptly named Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. The nonprofit’s mission is to increase participation in those sports and “thereby increase public awareness and appreciation of the need to protect, conserve and restore this nation's aquatic natural resources.”

On their excellent website Take Me Fishing, you can find events, tips, a community forum, a blog, links to get a fishing or boating license, and much more. The “Fishing with Your Family” section offers tons of advice, safety information, pages just for kids with games and fun facts, and even downloadable certificates that you can personalize to commemorate that first catch or a big fish.

As with any outdoor activity, especially on or near the water, safety is the priority. Kids should always wear a personal floatation device, even if they know how to swim. The right clothing and gear, like hats and insect repellant, are important, and learning how to handle fishing hooks and other equipment properly will make your fishing trips much more enjoyable.





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