A Child's First Time Ice Fishing
My son Gavin was finally ready to go ice fishing. He said “I am seven now and I can carry stuff and I am strong” So we planned a family outing to a pond I have been fishing for 20 years. Once my 12 year old daughter learned her brother was going she decided she was coming along too even though she turned down 200 trips previous to the intel that the little brother was going. She decide she wanted uncle Al to go and made a call. We were all set.
If you want your child’s first ice fishing trip to be fun there are a few things you must do.
First you should know how to actually ice fish! (big help). Safety is paramount. If you have not ice fished your self, it is your responsibility as a parent to learn how to be safe on the ice. Research, study, watch videos, what ever it takes. Even ask a seasoned friend or hire a guide either for yourself or your kids. For a podcast on the subject CLICK HERE
Second now that you know how to ice fish and be safe the next thing is to keep them warm. If their hands or feet get cold your trip is over before it starts. Just as in adults good layers matter. I like a couple of thin layers before any bulky stuff. A decent pair of snow pants, good knit hat, good gloves not the cute knit super hero ones, and warm socks. They actually sell kids wool socks, I found some at target. They are not as thick as adults socks so toe warmers are a must especially since kids boot are crap. You can get good boots online but for the price you better hope they are going to wear them a lot.
Third if you own a shelter use no matter how nice it is outside. If it 30s out it will be like your living room in the shelter. Warm kids are happy kids.
Fourth take them somewhere with a high number of fish. Size does not matter to new fisher people. Success is a major key to get them to come back. 20 tiny blue gills trump that bass you have been chasing.
Fifth have entertainment. Many kids have devices now days. A game of mindcraft or a cartoon can buy you a couple more hours on the ice. Now don’t be mad if they want to play on the ice or in the snow. In fact bring a sled or skates. You may already have a sled take your stuff out and let them have some fun.
Sixth and most important point is snacks and food. On a short trip some small snacks and juice boxes will do the trick. On a full day we always start with hot chocolate and doughnuts holes. On special occasions like my little mans first trip we order a pizza!
So how did it go you ask? It was the perfect day. It only took a couple holes to find the fish. It was not terribly cold which meant the shelters were very warm. My daughter started catching gills on every drop and did not stop for an hour! She only stopped to teach a young girl how to ice skate while the rest of us mixed catching, eating doughnut holes, and drinking chocolate milk.
My youngest Gavin enjoyed video game fishing watching the camera and catching his first ice fish. We laughed, listened to music, caught, and missed fish. Both my kids stole my otter sled and played with that for quite some time. We ordered a pizza caught a few more and called it a day. We caught most of our fish on small jigs with Magic Maggies and spikes. An adventure I will remember always.