4 Fantastic Fishing Trips For Kids

by | May 2, 2023 | Destinations, Family Adventures, USA

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For adults of a certain age, the thought of a family fishing trip might evoke memories of Andy Griffth walking along with a young Ron Howard.  Whistling as they strolled through the pines, headed off for a relaxing day on the lake just outside of quaint Mayberry, North Carolina.  In an effort to recreate this idyllic scene, you may even be tempted to pack up your family and strike out for the town in hopes of creating your own bonding time, much like Andy and Opie.  

The trip would be much shorter than most Californians would assume, as the scene was actually filmed in Franklin Canyon, a man-made reservoir turned recreation area just outside of Los Angeles.  Franklin Canyon is gorgeous, and while it is well worth a visit, you’re more likely to run into the Rolling Stones shooting an album cover than you are a father/son duo from a black and white 1960s television show.  

Before you rush off to create your own family fishing adventure, spend the time choosing the most important part….the destination!  We’ve put together several great locations spread around the country to help families sink their hooks into their own opening credit-worthy outing.



Park City, Utah – The Lodge at Blue Sky 

There is no shortage of people who consider Utah the Promised Land, both figuratively and literally.  The rivers that formed the Martian landscape as they snaked through the desert are teeming with wading opportunities every angler will love.  Who knows, maybe the great fishing was the true reason for Brigham Young’s cross-country trek!


The Fishing

 Ok, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the trip.  The fishing.

The Lodge at Blue Sky, part of the Auberge Resorts collection, has a flawless reputation in the fishing tourism industry, and with great reason. Their partnership with a local guide service provides the local knowledge you need to land a photo-worthy target fish.  It’s no wonder fishermen from around the globe flock to their locations.  They’ve put together some great packages for families to choose from based on goals and time constraints.  All of their trip options provide the necessary gear, waders, and transportation for a successful day on the water. 


Half-Day Wading Trip

There are two destination choices for a half-day wading trip. The Provo River (25-minute drive) and the Weber River (10-minute drive).  This is a great chance for a beginner fly fisherman to learn the basics of rod rigging, casting, basic knots, and fly tying, as well as the great diversity of trout species.  The whole trip takes roughly 3-4 hours, and all participants must be at least eight years of age.  Auberge also offers a full-day wading trip which travels further out to private property and includes lunch.  Offering a chance to further refine your family’s skills under the expert tutelage of your guide. 


Fisherman wading - Fishing Trips For Kids

Sometimes you gotta get wet if you wanna land the big on! © Gaspar Zaldo


High Alpine Driftboat Trip

Families looking for a little more adventure will love this family fishing trip.  After a scenic 1 hour drive through the mountains, you will arrive at your destination.  A private reservoir tucked away in privacy.  Spend 6 hours with your guide as you target the elusive Cutthroat Trout. If ever you had the opportunity to land one, this is it.  This trip will last an entire day (6 hours) with a Max of 2 guests per boat and also has a minimum age of eight.


Heli-Fishing Trip

You came here for the ultimate fishing experience, right?  Well, here it is.  Board a private helicopter right at the Blue Sky Lodge and enjoy a scenic flight high in the Uintas Mountains.  After touching down in a remote mountain meadow, guests make the trek to isolated lakes and streams.  Here, they can try their hand in some of the least worked waters available besides experienced guides.  Before heading back, take the opportunity to enjoy a rustic lunch by the lake and let the experience sink in.  This trip lasts 4 hours and has an 8-guest max.  


People Fishing with helicopter in the background - Fishing Trips For Kids

Is there anything cooler than a helicopter ride to go fishing? © Blue Sky Lodge


Gracies Farm

When Blue Sky first arrived, they found a beautiful landscape, excellent for artistic inspiration but ill-suited for farming.  The soil was hard-packed, over-grazed, and lacking essential nutrients.  Enter Blue Sky and their sustainable farming guru Lynsey Gammon.  A self-described ‘farmher,’ Gammon and her team of fellow farmhers have worked hard in pursuit of a successful grow operation without sacrificing their love of the soil.  You won’t see tractors pacing along straight lines for hours on end or sprayers misting fertilizer and pesticides in alternating increasing dosages.  Her all-natural approach has created an oasis of fertility and provides produce at the on-site farmers market from June-October.


Farm Tours

Families wanting to add a little farm experience to their fishing trip can visit Gracies Farm on Tuesdays at 10:00 am. The farm offers a free 30-minute walking tour to all guests of the lodge.  This complimentary tour is an opportunity to learn more about their passion for sustainable farming.  If you don’t know the difference between a caterpillar tunnel and a high tunnel, this is a perfect introduction to a local small-scale farm.  If you’re looking to get a little more in-depth, maybe you’re a gardener yourself, then a private tour may be more your speed. Ask all the questions you’d like on a 90-minute guided tour to transform your garden back home. 


Gracies farm tour people learning about farms - Fishing Trips For Kids

True farm to table at Blue Sky Lodge © Blue Sky Lodge


Little Vaqueros Camp

All parents traveling with kids have been there.  You’re away with the family on vacation and put together a much-needed day of wine tasting or fly-fishing for the adults, but struggle to shake that feeling of guilt for leaving the kids behind.  Blue Sky has found just the solution with their Little Vaqueros Camp.

Each day of the week is themed to provide a full day of activities with a focus on engaging young minds, bodies, and senses with nature.  Counselors take kids ages 5-12 outside for adventure-based activities to learn about the local environment, history, and culture.  While the adults are enjoying their time away, the young ones are learning the basics of fishing, horse care, cooking, farming, mining, and even yoga.  Kids won’t be in a rush to leave by the end of the day. 

The camp runs each day from 9:30 am to 3 pm with a provided lunch break from 11-12. Morning sessions of camp are complimentary. Afternoon sessions are an additional cost.  Full-day campers can enjoy a complimentary meal from the children’s menu. 


Orlando, Florida – Lake Tohopekaliga

Yes, it is a mouthful.  The name dates back to the Seminole Indians who once lived around the lake and gave it the name.  Tohopekaliga is Seminole for “We will gather here,” but the locals refer to it simply as Lake Toho or West Lake to differentiate it from the nearby East Tohopekaliga.  

Lake Toho, just outside Orlando, is considered one of the finest Bass fishing hotspots in the country, best known for the record catch set (with a five-fish limit) in the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society contest that came in at a total of a whopping 45 pounds 2 oz. 

For those of you who have never fished Bass before, a 10-pound lunker is entering trophy fish territory.  The Florida Wildlife Commission performed a study of the lake that showed an average of one bass over 10 pounds for every 10 acres of lake.  With numbers like that, you begin to understand why this 23,000 Acre lake is so productive.  That’s a mind-boggling 2,300 wall-worthy bass!

Why is Lake Toho home to so many monster fish?  The lake is fairly shallow, with a maximum depth of about 13 Feet. Providing ample acreage for the grass flats that Bass shelter in during the summer months when the water temperature rises. 


Large growths of maidencane, bullrush, and hydrilla grasses are excellent areas to target, and Toho has more than its fair share.


Freshwater fishing brings in billions of dollars each year for the state, so it is a priority for them to manage the health of the lakes.  This includes opening up the dam to allow large drawdowns in the Lake level to allow for man-made droughts to help control invasive plant species and ensure healthy algae levels.


Bass with mouth wide open - Fishing Trips For Kids

Remember, kids, always cover your mouth when you yawn © Jeff Vanderspank


AJ’s Orlando Bass Guide

AJ’s Orlando Bass Guides team of full-time fishing guides will ensure a successful and safe day out on the water.  How well do they know the Lake? The company is run by two fishermen, who also happen to hold the Lake records for the largest, and second-largest fish.  One of which weighed an incredible 16 lb. 10 oz!


Freshwater Tours

They offer several varying length trip options from 2.5 hrs up to a full day of 8+ hours.  They recommend the 2.5-hour trip for families traveling with kids or for those short on time. 


AJs is passionate about getting kids out on the water, so all kids under 12 fish free with groups of 3 or more.


All of their trips include the necessary gear and tackle for the conditions of the day.  A day on the Lake with the kids can be a great way to break up a hectic trip to Disney.  Just don’t be surprised when the kids rave about the fishing to the family back home and forget all about the Magic Kingdom.


Saltwater Tours

If you’re looking to head out on the ocean to cast a line, Aj’s still has you covered.  They offer 4,6 and 8 hour trips that leave at first light.  The tours head out to either Cape Canaveral or Mosquito Lagoon on the east central coast and have a maximum of 4 guests.  An added perk of Saltwater fishing in Florida is the lack of a Saltwater fishing license requirement.  


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Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours

Yeah, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, which is pretty cool.  Not sending communications by mail is nice, but you know what is even cooler? Airboats.  Who would’ve guessed that the guy who gave us the telephone was also capable of making something as inarguably cool as airboats?  Thanks Mr. Bell!

Picture your family loudly zipping across the shallow water, dodging marshy shorelines and alligators while looking like the coolest cats in town.  Have you ever seen someone on an airboat that wasn’t happy? No.

Wild Willy’s Airboat will guide your family around Lake Toho on one of his two Airboats depending on the group size.  One-hour smooth flying tours leave throughout the day.  Make sure to book an earlier trip if you’re worried about the midday Florida heat.  Most riders are surprised at just how smooth the ride in an airboat is. Even those prone to motion sickness are pleasantly surprised. 

There is no minimum age restriction, with kids as young as three months having enjoyed the trip.  Willy himself is a nature enthusiast and enjoys pointing out the Gators, Bald Eagles, and Snail Kites that call the Lake Home.  Don’t be surprised when he stops the boat to hop in the water and bring a creature up close for the kids to get a better look.  At the conclusion of your trip, take the opportunity to check out the animals on their property, including the chance to hold their two young alligators, Thunder and Half Stripe!


Family on wild willy airboat tour - fishing trips for kids

I bet if you zoom in, they’re all smiling! © Richard Sagredo


Where to stay near Lake Toho

Odds are this whole area would mostly be a swamp if not for the legendary House of Mouse.  Whether you intend on popping into the park to pay respect on your trip or not, the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge makes a great base for your trip to Florida. A short drive to both Lake Toho and a plethora of theme parks, this resort features a stockpile of family-oriented activities in a fun atmosphere. 


Hakuna Matata Playground

Hakuna Matata, it’s a wonderful phrase and a wonderful playground.  Hotel stays with kids can go sideways fast.  The jumping from bed to bed and the bouncing off the walls can leave parents feeling crazed and worried about bothering the neighbors.  Having a playground on-site to take kids that are being…..well, kids, can feel like a miracle.  

The Hakuna Matata playground isn’t groundbreaking. It looks much like most playgrounds.  With two separate large features sized appropriately for their age groups.  There are various activities, such as a xylophone, a maze, and some speaking tubes.  The area is thoughtfully well-shaded to reduce the heat throughout the day, and the rubber mulch provides excellent drainage after the ever-present Florida rain showers.  Much like Yoda, don’t judge this amenity by its size.


Movies Under the Stars

Each night of the week, there is an outdoor movie available for guests of the lodge.  Luckily, Disney has no shortage of movie rights, and they are able to keep a fresh inventory in circulation.  The location of the movie is shared between the Hakuna Matata playground and the Pembe Savannah overlook.  Here is a handy site for checking the movie schedule, as well as a few extra tips for making the most of the evening activities.  The movies start at 8:30, which can be pretty late for the young ones, so you may want to consider putting on the pajamas before the opening credits. 


Montauk, New York – Deep Sea Fishing

We’ve looked at some dream destination fishing trips for kids, but we’ve been mostly hanging out inland.  Where can we go if we want to add a little salt to our lives? Montauk, New York, claims to hold more fishing records than any other port in the world! Is it true? I have no idea, but I do know this beautiful location is a highly productive sport fishing hotspot.

Montauk is located at the tip of Long Island and formed by the same glacial retreat that gave us Cape Cod and the Islands.  The sun, surf, and tourists should leave many West Coast travelers feeling right at home.  Let’s look at some great options for a family in Montauk.


Susie E II Charter Fishing

Capt. Burt Prince and his crew are ready to take families out on the waves to enjoy some of the finest sport fishing available.  The 48’ Susie E II is well equipped to carry up to 33 passengers out into the waters off Long Island.  Equipped for both inshore trips and long offshore days, the Susie II features the latest technology to ensure a successful day, as well as keep your family safe regardless of what the ocean throws your way.  

Susie E II Sportfishing offers several fishing packages that vary with target species as well as length of day and group size.  Their rates are based on a 6 passenger group, but they can accommodate larger groups for an additional fee.  Each trip includes top notch tackle and bait, as well as the Ice to keep the catch fresh.  Speaking of catch, their crew will clean and bag the keepers as families reel them in.  They will even handle camera duty so everyone can be in the pictures and parents can focus on savoring the moment and enjoying the day.


Cod Fishing trips

Cod might be the most popular fish in the Atlantic, but chasing it is not for the weak.  Peak season for Cod runs from December – April, which can lead to some frosty days.  Cod trips are a long day on the water, with the boat leaving the dock between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. and returning 12 hours later.  Fighting Cod on light tackle is a wonderful way to spend the day, and the hearty family willing to take on the adventure are often rewarded with dozens of pounds of fresh fish to take home.


Shark Fishing

Everyone who has seen the movie Jaws knows sharks are the undeniable king of the ocean.  Their history predates trees by 100 million years and Dinosaurs by an additional hundred.  Seeing them in the wild can be a magical experience from the safety of a boat.  The powerful creatures are a favorite target species for fishermen looking for a worthy opponent.  

The water off Montauk predominantly features Blue, Mako, and Thresher Sharks.  These fantastic beasts will provide families with a workout that is as hard as it is exciting.  Imagine hooking a Mako shark, able to reach speeds up to 50 mph, and battling him back to the boat as he launches himself 20’ in the air.  Or you can tango with a Thresher shark and their long powerful tail, which earned them the nickname ‘sea bull.  Some of these Threshers will leave your family working for hours to finally get the 300-pound monster on board.   If you thought that speckled trout gave you a fight, imagine one of these creatures tugging on your rod and reel!  Old tradition holds you should kiss the first fish you catch for good luck. Maybe best to skip that on this trip, though!



Deep Hollow Ranch

You don’t want to travel all the way to Montauk and not explore some of the scenic beaches.  What better way to travel the sandy shore than horseback?  Deep Hollow Ranch offers tours as rich in history as they are in natural beauty.  

With options for the whole family, a stop at Deep Hollow will give everyone the chance to travel like a true cowboy.  Tours leave throughout the day 7 days a week, be sure to reserve early as tours can fill up fast.  

The 1.5 hr option is restricted to ages eight and above.  Guides teach visitors about the history of Long Island and give them the opportunity to travel along the waves.  For families looking for a more condensed option, there is a 30-minute tour that allows children over six that is also an excellent choice for beginners.  The little members of the family need not worry about being left out.  Pony rides run for several hours in mid-day for children five and under.  


Small child dressed as a cowboy looking at horse - fishing trips for kids

Livin’ out their tiny cowboy dreams © Jamie Coupad


Where to stay in Montauk

Montauk is a long way from the West Coast.  After all that travel you’re sure to be a little weary and in search of a haven for relaxing with the family.  The Roudtree Amagansett will check all the boxes on your list.  Peace and luxury in a warm family-friendly atmosphere.  

Roundtree offers the opportunity to conveniently explore all the activities packed into the tip of Long Island.  Their ‘Signature Experiences’ service allows parents to sit back while they plan their day trips for you.  Let them put together a full day for the family with activities ranging from yoga and baking classes to tee times and massages.  They can even set parents up with a babysitting service and send them off on a tour of the area vineyards.  

As part of their family-friendly atmosphere, each night, there is a campfire providing equal parts smores and songs.  During the day, their beach shack is loaded with enough sand toys to keep the kids entertained on the beach for hours on end.  The Roundtree Amagansett’s convenient location and family-friendly personality make it a great option for your Montauk fishing vacation. 


McCall, Idaho – Shore Lodge

Every state is known for something. Florida has Disney, California has Hollywood, and New York has busy businessmen filling the sidewalks.  To many, Idaho is known as the land of potatoes, and it’s infamous 3-way tie for the state that most resembles a gun.  But fishermen around the country know the hidden truth about Idaho. It has hundreds of miles of deep rivers teeming with lots of fish.  Like good fishing spots around the world, spreading the word at the speed of a whisper has left many areas of Idaho largely uninterrupted.  

High on the bucket list of any serious angler is the steelhead.  Often mistaken for a salmon, the steelhead is actually a member of the trout family, though much larger than most of their smaller cousins.  Anyone lucky enough to land a steelhead likely has a tale to tell.  As these powerful fish are pound for pound the hardest fighting species coming out of our freshwaters.  They use their speed to spool out a fishing line, launching themselves above the surface several times in a display that is equal parts terrifying and beautiful.  

Sure, you’ve fished Spanish Mackerel off the Outer Banks and Mahi Mahi in Hawaii, but you know the key to a memorable day in a new fishing spot is a top-notch guide service.   


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Idaho Steelhead Guides

At some point in the timeline of their hobby, every outdoor sportsman has an entry-level existential crisis.  How can they love the land and still take joy in activities like hunting and fishing?  Over time, the outdoorsman adds techniques to their craft that ensure the species they admire can not only survive but flourish.  At Idaho Steelhead Guides, they not only strive to provide quality time for the entire family on the water but to do so ethically in a way that will preserve their waters for future generations.  Or, in wildlife conservationist Aldo Leopold’s words, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” 

Idaho Steelhead guides not only boasts of their several dozen years of experience on these waters, but they are also members of the ‘Keep em’ wet,’ the ‘Leave No Trace’, and the ‘Idaho River United’ initiatives.  So you can rest assured your whole experience will be as ethical as it is bountiful.


Single Day Trips

Their single-day trip options are perfect for families interested in adding a fly fishing trip to their family vacation.  The trips begin at dawn, and kids of all ages will have a great time soaking in the beautiful scenery as they float down the river in one of the crew’s several float options.  Tackle, rods, live bait, lunch, and life jackets are all provided by the team and included in their fee.  


Fly fishing in waders at shore lodge Idaho

Get those steelheads! © Shore Lodge


Multi-Day Trips

These trips are perfect for the high adventure family with short attention spans looking to spend five days catching lots of fishing and making memories.  You’ll spend the majority of the trip fishing, unburdened with cooking, gear transport,ing and planning that can often bog down long family fishing trips.  Imagine waking up in a private backcountry campsite, sliding into your waders at dawn by the light of the campfire, and setting off on the private charter.  

There are some Class IV rapids along the river, so you may want to wait a few years until the younger kids have a few more years under their belts.  The seasoned guides will safely navigate the rapids for you. Around mid-day, you may even see crew members leapfrog your boat off to set up the next campsite prior to your arrival.  


Where to Stay in McCall

Here’s a riddle.  What has 77 guest rooms, 5,500’ of elevation, and is conveniently located just 90 minutes outside of Boise?  If you guessed the Shore Lodge, congratulations, you are correct.  Shore Lodge is located right on Payette Lake, and its 5,000 acres of deep freshwater is filled with all types of fish.  Shore is the perfect place to take the young anglers in your life to get them out on the water.



Shore Lodge offers several room options.  Families traveling with young kids may find it helpful to have direct outdoor access to let them stretch their legs without corralling them down the hallway.  The Lake Front Suites offer immediate access to the lake with a private seating area in the room and an outdoor patio just outside the door.

In the colder months, kids will enjoy a hot fire after a long day of snowshoeing or snowmobiling on nearby Brundage Mountain.  Their Fireside Suites contain a fireplace in the comfort of the living room, with a dining table and a private outdoor terrace.  The Fireside Suites are available with king or double queen bed options.


Family playing board game at Shore Lodge Idaho - fishing trips for kids

Make family memories on the water and in the room © Blue Sky Lodge.



Shore Lodge prides itself on being a 4 season destination.  They make it a point to offer year-round activities for everyone.  Whether you’re enjoying a parent’s getaway or you’ve got a gaggle of young children tagging along, they’ve got you covered. 


Brundage Mountain

In the winter months, the proximity to Brundage Mountain pays off.  Here, guests can enjoy miles of snowshoeing and snowmobiling trails.  Hire a guide, and explore the snow-covered landscape or rent snowshoes to show the kids you’re still top dog.


Steelhead Guides

Come Spring, it’s the perfect time to book a kids’ fishing charter with Idaho Steelhead Guides.  If you aren’t afraid of getting wet, this is a great time of year to try on a rafting trip and learn why Idaho has earned the nickname “The Whitewater State.”  Take a trip down ‘Hell’s Canyon,’ the deepest gorge in North America.  


Hot Spring, Mines and Links

Don’t think for a second that the heat of summer slows things down at Shore Lodge.  Take out one of their canoes or paddleboards and explore the lake.  Or enjoy a guided 4-wheeler tour into the remote backcountry.  Ride out to take a soak in the Burgdorf Hot Springs or explore the Kimberly Mines.  If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, why not hit the links?  As a guest of Shore Lodge you have exclusive access to Whitetail Club’s 18 hole 7,200-yard course.  


Ponderosa State Park

After a summer spent outside, the cooler fall air can be the perfect time to get out into the woods and put in some miles.  Ponderosa State Park offers 1,000 acres of recreation for you to explore.  Take a hike up to Osprey Point and enjoy the perfect view of the lake.  Or, rent a mountain bike for the day and cruise the seemingly endless trails.


A family fishing trip can feel like a game of Whack-A-Mole.  Fleeting moments of blissful serenity interrupted by pleas for juice and snacks in between sibling feuds.  Proper planning, which starts with choosing the best fishing locations, can set your family up for success as you introduce the little ones to a variety of fishing sports.  Thinking about this family trip as a kids’ trip instead of just a fishing trip will ensure you won’t go wrong at any of these great destinations!




Tom is a Firefighter on the East Coast. He grew up with a love for everything outdoors. These days he enjoys loading his family of 5 into their campervan and trying to keep up with his kids on their weekend adventures. Tom began writing recently as a creative outlet, with the hope of spreading his love of the outdoors.