Looking for something new to try or just a fun way to get out with your family during these trying times? Look no further than fishing! Fishing is a great way to get out in nature, learn something new, and spend meaningful time with your family. Best of all, anglers under 16 do not need a fishing license. Everyone else can purchase a license online at wildohio.gov and some local retailers. As a bonus, you can keep your limits of fish and enjoy them for dinner as a family too.
Whether you’ve never fished before or fish together regularly as a family, there’s always something new to learn that can help make your trips more rewarding. Getting started is easy. All you need is a beginner’s spincast rod and reel combo equipped with a hook, bobber, a couple of split shot, 6-10 lb. monofilament line and bait. For young children, the Dock Demon is an affordable and durable rod and reel combo that is available at many retailers, including online for under $20. However, the rod that has been in the basement collecting dust can work well too, with cleaning and new line. A good all-around hook to start with is a #6 long shank Carlisle or Aberdeen style hook.
Setting up a rod doesn’t need to be complicated. First, you will need to string the fishing line through the guides (little metal loops) along the rod. Next, you will attach the hook at the end of the line using a clinch not. There are tutorials for tying this knot on YouTube. Give a pull to make sure the hook is secure and then attach 2-3 BB size split shot about a foot from the hook to keep the bait down where the fish are. Finally attach the bobber about 4 feet from the hook. Change the bobber placement until you start getting bites. The bobber serves as a bite indicator, allowing the angler to know when to set the hook and giving kids a focal point for their attention.
When deciding what bait to use, worms are a good choice. Kids enjoy looking for them in the lawn with a flashlight at night following a drenching rain. Worms can also be purchased at bait and many convenience stores. A benefit of going to a bait store is that you will have additional bait options from maggots to minnows, as well as being a great place to pick up fishing tips. Other options that you may already have at home are canned corn or cut up pieces of hot dogs. An important lesson with bait is to always dispose of all worms you purchase in the trash. Worms should not be released in the woods or your yard, as they are not native and harm the native plants and animals.
There are many great places to fish within Cleveland Metroparks. Also, the Cleveland Metroparks fishing report is uploaded every Thursday fall through spring and monthly in summer. It includes fishing updates for the different bodies of water, fish stocking updates throughout the park and photos from local anglers. Please send photos from your outing to Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in the fishing report! Also contact Mike if you would like a copy of our Fishing Areas of Cleveland Metroparks booklet.