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State Parks, County Parks – Family Fishing Fun

State Parks, County Parks – Family Fishing Fun

State parks can provide great fishing.  We think of county and state parks as great places to hike, camp, picnic and play.  When there is a lake, there is so much more to do.  Type “state parks” or “county parks” into your browser.  You will probably find a list of parks, in your state, that offer fishing and boating.  These parks are accessible and inexpensive.  They can be a vacation destination out of state or a great day trip.  Fishing lodges and guided trips are great, but not a possibility for everyone.  Not everybody can get to an isolated lake or stream to fish.  Accessible fishing in parks can be fun for the family or someone who wants to get away for a few hours of fishing.

Fishing at County and State Parks

Parks provide the same fishing as any water in the region.  In many places, rainbow trout are stocked by the parks system.  These fish are hardy and adapt quickly in water with adequate oxygen and temperature.  State parks often have artificial lakesMan-made lakes can form a healthy, water ecosystem allowing predatory fish to thrive.  One tiny, county lake in central California provides great bass,  many well over 10 pounds.

Trolling or still fishing from a boat is most productive because its easy to move from  spot to spot.  The lake inlet is a great place for action.  If the lake is artificial, deep water along the dam can be very productive.

State parks are fun for kids.A spot on the bank can be fun, too. Most parks maintain walking paths on some part of the lake.  If someone in the family doesn’t like to fish, a hike along the lake can fill the time.  In the right spot, kids can cast without concern for brush and trees.  The day can be spent sitting in one spot or walking the shoreline fishing at likely spots.

Park lakes can provide a relaxing day in nature or some great fishing.  With access controlled, the number of people on and around the lakes usually doesn’t get out of hand.  The protected environment supports a healthy fish population.  In many lakes, regular stocking adds to that population.

 

Boating at County and State Parks

rental boats at state parksCounty parks often provide some kind of boat rentals.  Row boats and paddle boats are the most common form of boat rental.  They require little maintenance.  They also minimize the need for assistance, by park staff, because of break-down.  Many parks offer boats with electric motors.  If the lake is small, non-power boats protect the lake bottom and banks with the possibility of covering the whole lake on any excursion.

Larger lakes often rent power boats.  These are usually 12- 15 ft. boats with small outboards.  There are lots of lakes that rent ski boats state parks with boat rampsas well as pontoon boats for touring.  Some county lakes even offer house boats.  Almost all parks allow the use of personal kayaks, canoes and paddle boats.   Parks with large lakes allow power boating.  They provide launch state park have hours of operationramps for a fee.  Facilities for lakes within park boundaries usually operate from dawn to dusk.  Because of accessibility, launch times may be by reservation.  As well, parking space may be limited as a means of controlling the number of boats on the lake.   In most cases, gas is not available at state or county parks.  Camp stores and restaurants are common.  Park websites to list amenities you can expect.

Activities at State and County Parks

Fishing

Parks with lakes offer fishing for everyone from the trophy angler to the novice dropping live bait over the  Seniors enjoy state parks.side of a rowboat to the kid catching tiny bluegills from the bank.  Well, used spots on banks not only provide fishing, but a place to sit and relax in nature.  For a small entrance fee, which provides for park administration and maintenance, you can be in nature enjoying fishing as much as hard core folks who have backpacked into an isolated lake.  But, this fishing trip is accessible from your home.

Hiking

State parks often have great hiking trailsIf someone wants a break from fishing, hiking is fun in most parks.  Trails around lakes are scenic.  Off lake trails are usually well marked in terms of distance and difficulty.  If critters might be a problem, alerts are posted often with advice on how to react to some of the more wild visitors to the park.  Many parks maintain stair systems to assist with steep inclines.  As with any hike, its a good idea to take water and some food.  Tables are provided at many parks to encourage picnicking.

Education

State parks provide informationMost parks provide some kind of information about the fish, wildlife and vegetation found in the park.  This can take the form of guided tours on trails that provide easy access to trees, plants and flowers.  Sometimes there are classes about things of interest in the park.  In larger parks, films provide of a view of more isolated parts of the environment.  Sign boards are also used to educate.  They provide pictures and facts on fish and wildlife in the park.  Often, the history of the park is displayed.  Parks may have exhibits of past industry such as logging, mining or fishing.  Education isn’t boring when its combined with a day at a lake.

Park Staff

State parks have ranger stations.Park staff do more than greet and collect fees. They answer questions and provide suggestions that enhance the day in the park.  Many parks have small stores providing everything from clothes to bait.  Fishing licenses are on sale, for customer convenience, in the stores.  Restroom facilities placed around the park take some out the “natural” out of the park experience.  Staff will periodically patrol the lake, by boat and on foot, checking for licenses and ensuring that park rules are followed.  This protects the safety of the park and visitors.  The ranger station is the place to go with questions or for help.

Don’t abandon the idea of a fishing trip because its too difficult to get to the water in the short amount of time available.  Type “state parks in your state” into your browser.  Or, look up county parks with lakes in your area. You’ll discover some great spots to create fishing memories.  There are two simple rules to be remembered whenever you are spending time in nature:  Carry in – Carry Out; Push Through Don’t Cut.

When asked what he thought about a county lake in California, Mitchell looked out at the water and said, “Its so peaceful.  Its so fun.”  That pretty well sums it up.

Take a moment to leave a comment below.  Is there a park with a lake near you?  How often do you use it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cold Winter Fun – Ice Fishing – Growing Popularity

Cold Winter Fun – Ice Fishing – Growing Popularity

Ice fishing has been around ever since there has been winter combined with a need to eat.  Ice fishing is cold winter fun growing in popularity every year.  People pack ice fishing supplies wearing ice fishing clothes and head out to the lake.

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Ice Fishing Popularity on the Rise

cold winter fun

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that ice fishing is on the rise.  This is despite the high cost of necessary equipment.

Inside and Out

Ice huts are used across the north.  They are Huts for cold winter fun.an investment which can be used for decades.   Furniture, heaters and  TV’s make ice fishing a far cry different from the days of braving wind and snow for a fresh fish dinner.

Some intrepid folks still use hand augers to cut through the ice.  They Too much cold winter funhunker down on a wind swept lake or pond.  They endure  the elements to catch a few fish.

Every state, with a winter freeze, encourages ice fishing.  Every country with a winter freeze has ice fishing laws.

Even the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife reports that more people are ice fishing every year.  This state has a much shorter season than cold weather states.  The state warns that common sense should be used when fishing private ponds and isolated lakes not officially checked for ice thickness.  This is good advice for everyone going ice fishing.

Some say that ice fishing is as fun as watching grass grow.  To the initiated, there is nothing more fun.  Freeze up is welcomed with joy.

Even In the Movies

Ice fishing has been a theme in the movies like “Grumpy Old Men.”  Walter Mathau’s “Green Hornet” fishing pole was the envy of his neighbor, Jack Lemmon.   In “Snow Dogs”, an ice fishing colony was the setting for a show down between Cuba Goodings, Jr. and his father, James Coburn.

New Tech Ice Fishing

The Peninsula Clarion, one of the most popular newspapers in Alaska, speculates that new technology has given ice fishing a boost.

Think about how technology has impacted this winter sport.  There are:

  • Portable ice fishing shelters.
  • Cold Winter Fun Power Auger.

    Power ice augers.

  • Light, ice fishing clothing.
  • Efficient, safe heaters.
  • Reliable snow machines.
  • New fluorescent lures.
  • Light weight, ice fishing rods
  • High tech, LED flashlights
  • Ultralight sleds.
  • Digital cameras to record
  • Dried, easy to pack dried food.
  • Chemical foot  warmers.
  • High tech, winter boots.
  • Light weight, durable snow shoes.
  • Specialized snow glasses.

Getting Ready to Ice Fish

You can’t just throw a couple of rods, a tackle box and some food in the car to ice fish.   You’ll have a miserable day if you aren’t prepared.   Ice is cold and wet.  Lakes are exposed to weather.

Fishing Equipment

If you haven’t experienced ice fishing, do some research on equipment.  Do you want to use a rod or a tip up?  Do you know what a tip up is?  How will you cut through the ice?   What kind of bait works best?  How will you clear ice and snow from the water?  Should you have some kind of shelter?

You can ice fish with any kind of fishing equipment.  But, unique ice fishing  equipment is best.  Bait isn’t cast and retrieved horizontally. Its dropped straight down.  Lures don’t wobble as they are pulled toward you.  The action is in a vertical retrieve.  You can’t see a bobber in an ice hole.  A strike must be shown above the ice.  Its hard to fight a fish through the ice with a normal fishing rod.   You want to be as close to the fishing hole as possible.  Ice fishing equipment does all this.

                                   All the Ice Fishing Equipment You Need

 Personal Equipment

So, you’ve just stepped onto the ice.  You slip and fall into a huge puddle. You’re soaked for the day. Water proof clothes would have helped.

You’re standing around your fishing hole trying to keep your feet warm. Its not working.  Your feet are literally freezing while you enjoy this cold winter fun. You need a better pair of boots.

 Its a beautiful sunny day, but the wind begins to whip across the lake.  All you can do is hope the wind dies down. A shelter would be great.

You have a wonderfully warm coat, but the sun is beating down.  Its too cold for no coat, but too hot for your coat. Consider buying ice fishing clothes.

After a great day of fishing, your truck won’t start.  There’s no cell service where you have been fishing.  Can you start a fire?

Ice fishing is cold winter fun, but lots of things can happen.  Winter makes everything a little more difficult.   Make an ice fishing equipment list for everything you will need. Check the internet for a comprehensive list. 

Going Fishing

Species

Most species can be caught through ice.  Check local regulations to be sure your catch is legal.  Many places have put into place “intent” laws.  If you are caught with bait or a lure, normally used to catch an out of season species you can be charged with “intent” to catch an illegal fish.

Enjoying cold winter fun.

Fishing Holes

Local regulations will tell you how many rods you can use in how many ice holes.  Its fun to see a strike across the ice.  Running to set the hook can be comical especially if you get two strikes at once.

Back and forth for cold winter fun

Its often good to fish shallow water and deep water at the same time.  A third hole, if allowed, at a drop off is good. If you know the water where you are ice fishing, avoid rocks and logs.  There is no way to play a fish out of this kind of cover.

Rods

Easy to Use Tip-Up

Tips-Ups are the best type of rod.  A flag pops up with each strike.  The flag can be seen across the ice.  Small jigging rods work well.  To jig effectively, you have to work the rod.  This means sitting in one place.  Jigging rods provide more action.  They can be set across a chunk of ice.  The tip can be seen jumping from a strike.

23″ light jigging rod

People do use traditional fishing rod and reels for ice fishing.  This means sitting farther from the hole.  You have less control with a longer rod.

There are also people who simply drop bait or jigs to the bottom on a line.  They pull the line by hand. Pulling the line up quickly attracts the fish.

Be Safe

Check on the safety of the ice at your fishing spot.

The ice of most accessible lakes, ponds and rivers will be tested by the county or the state.  Test results are often published in local papers.  Where ice fishing is popular, radio stations will report on ice conditions.  You can also look on the internet for test results.

If you know that your fishing spot has not been tested, you need to test the ice thoroughly.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Responses has put together this simple chart to make your cold winter fun safe.

Be safe in cold winter fun.

But, you still have to test the ice.   Cold doesn’t always mean good ice.  Current can thin the ice.  Heavy snow can insulate thin ice.  Sudden warm weather can quickly rot exposed ice.

Always apply the 10 step rule when testing ice.  Test the ice next to the shore by punching a hole.  If its safe, take 10 small steps and test again.  Repeat this process  until you get to your fishing spot.  A long handled chisel is best for testing ice.

The safest thing, if you don’t know anything about the ice on a lake, is to Stay Off.

Lots of Cold Winter Fun

Hopefully, you’ll catch your limit when you’re ice fishing.  But, the list of fun things to do on a frozen lake is endless.

Have a snowball fight.  Build a  snowman.  Do a little cross country skiing.  Play football or baseball.  Throw a frisbee. Have a picnic.  Enjoy riding a snow machine.  Fly a kite.  Make sure the ice is strong and have some cold winter fun.

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Share you thoughts about the cold winter fun of ice fishing in the comment section below. Have you been ice fishing?  Would you like to try ice fishing.  How far is the closest lake where the ice is tested?


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Best Beginner Child’s Rod – Styles Available

Best Beginner Child’s Rod – Styles Available

 Kids can fish as soon as they can hold a rod.  Size is most important when choosing the best beginner rod for a child.

Best Beginner Rod Size

Holding the rod is the first step to fishing.  Watching me, my kids wanted to hold a rod although they didn’t really know why.   They were holding a rod long before they could cast.  I would cast and give them the rod.

A rod between 2 and 3 feet long seems the best size.  Its the right length to  handle easily.  Its long enough to play a fish.

child-fishing with beginner rod

Two Starter Rod Styles

Mickey Mouse Combo by Shakespeare best beginner rod
Mickey Mouse Combo by Shakespeare

The Kid’s Caster is perfect for the toddler fisherman.  Its easy to grip with two hands. The rod is stiff so it won’t move around with a fish on.  If one little hand can hold the rod, the other can begin to reel.

The Mickey Rod is more advanced.  Its heavier and harder to hold.  It will have more action.

These are two of the many beginner rods available.

First Fishing Trip

The first fishing trip should be from dock or the shore. A piece of worm will catch blue gills and squeals of delight.  Tiny fisherman shouldn’t be pushed to do too much too fast.  Fun is the keyword.  Either type of beginner rod will start the fun.  Be sure you have a camera.

Why a Beginner Rod?

These plastic rods are durable.  They won’t break when walked on by little feet.  Being stuck into the ground  or in the branches won’t snap them.  Rod and reel are one piece so neither can be left behind.  Your minature fisherman looses the whole rod or nothing.

Bait casting reels take too much coordination.  Holding the line with the thumb and then releasing is hard for little hands.  Pushing the button is easy and understandable.  The little fisherman is pushing buttons on electronic toys all the time.  This button will be easy.

The closed faced reel eliminates knotted line.  Its not necessary to touch the line to cast.  Slack line won’t wrap around the reel.  The only problem my kids had was dropping rod and reel in the water.

Even if fishing isn’t really your child’s thing, trying it out will make great memories.

As easy as using the best beginner rod
Camping World

 

Child’s First Fishing Rod Makes Memories

Child’s First Fishing Rod Makes Memories

A child’s first fishing rod can build memories that will last a life time.

Fishing Gear Rod and Reel Combo

Your child’s first fishing rod could be a

Telescoping Rod                                                                                                                                                                                                     Closed Face Spinning Reel                                                                                                                  This could be a child's first fishing rod.                                                             with Stringer, Bobbers, Hooks                                                                  

Price: $24.95 


Your Child’s First Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

     Since I suggested that a family fishing trip is important, I thought I would offer some information on an important part of making that trip happen.  A child’s first fishing rod should fit the child and be easy to use.  A rod and reel combination is a great way to teach a child to fish.

Easy to Use, Easy to Carry

     This particular combo has a closed faced spinning reel which makes for easy, tangle free casting.  More importantly, there is a button to release the cast rather than the complex function of opening a bale, holding the line and then releasing at the right time.  The closed bale system can be used by toddlers even while they can’t master the motion of casting.

     The telescoping rod is great for transporting particularly as a child swings through the world bumping into everything in sight.

Extra Gear Gives Good Value

     The Fishing Gear model comes with monofiliment line and a bit of tackle.  The spoon will help with learning to cast, but the jigs are more appropriate for the type of fishing a child will be doing.  There is also a small assortment of hooks for bait.  This combination is a bit more expensive than some child’s combos because the reel separates from the rod and the telescoping rod can play a real fish.  This combo is a good value that can be enjoyed for many years.

South Bend Worm Gear Tackle Box

Plastic, Single Drawer Tackle Box                                                                                                                                                                         with assorted bobbers, stringer, hook extractor                                                                                                                                                     and assorted hooks.                                                                                                                            A tackle box to go with a child's first fishing rod.

Price:  $8.96


A Tackle Box is Important

A tackle box is another piece of equipment to haul around, but this one drawer box is durable and light weight.

It would hold the assorted tackle that comes with the rod and reel combination plus the items sold with the tackle box.

This plastic tackle box will float long enough to be fished out of the drink.  The box has a large clasp latch that will be easy for most children to manipulate.

Safety First

These hooks should be used only by an older fishing partner until little hands can safely work with line and hook.  The tackle box with assorted tackle is a great value.

The combo and tackle box can be purchased together at a slight discount.  The rod and reel would make a great surprise to begin a family fishing trip.  Someone will carry the tackle box.  It will  add to the surprise and make the trip more exciting.

Camping World

 Share you thoughts in the comment section below.  What kind of fishing rod did you have as a kid?  Do your children have fishing rods?

 

 

 

 

 

Family Fishing Trips Include Everyone, Young and Old

Family Fishing Trips Include Everyone, Young and Old

Have you thought about family fishing trips?  They can be fun, inexpensive and create a wonderful memory.

Family Fishing Trips – Great for Everyone

Family fishing trips can be a great experience for everyone.  Its an inter generational event that is not necessarily competitive.  The fishing gear can be inexpensive and should last for a long time.  I had the first rod and reel that I bought off a comic book cover for more than 40 years.  I hope the person who stole it is still enjoying it.

Kids enjoy family fishing trips.

Close to Home

A lake close to home is best as the family begins to fish together. Long drives, for an experiment like fishing, can often prove difficult.  A “put & take” pay-lake is a good idea because there is a high likelihood of everyone catching fish.  Adults should understand that they will not be fishing very much while children learn to bait a hook, put on a lure, cast, untangle line, unsnag line,  untangle line, take fish off the hook, unsnag line, rebait the hook or change lures, and cast.  This is  short term pain that will provide wonderful long term gains.  The idea is to help kids enjoy the experience.  If you are a novice as well, you will have the joy of learning together.

Include Everyone

Some people just don’t like the idea of catching a fish.  This goes for kids and adults.  So, family fishing trips should include other activities that involve everyone…. a meal, a movie, swimming, a hike, shopping or a boat ride.  Everyone should have fun at a family event.  I suggest that the everyone draw straws  to decide who gets to keep their cell phone “in case of emergency.”  Everyone else leaves the phone in the car.  Include the non-enthusiastic by having them pick the fishing spot, or drive the boat or choose the lures.  There are lots of ways to involve everyone.

Plan a Fishing Trip

Its easy to offer a reason for staying home, but home now tends to be a place where people are isolated by chores, or computers, or cell phones or TV or something else.  Family fishing trips can bring the family together focusing on each other.  Find a lake near you.  Asking at a bait shop or sporting goods store can often provide good information for planning your day together.  Do you need fresh water lures?  Is there a tackle shop nearby.  Do you need a fishing boat?  Where can you find state fishing regulations?  Who needs a fishing license.

Plan a family fishing trip.  If your family  is too busy to go fishing, you are too busy.

Leave a comment below.  When did you take your last family fishing trip?  Was it fun?

 

Camping World promotes family fishing trips.

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing Therapy Improves Every Area of Life

Fishing Therapy Improves Every Area of Life

Fishing Therapy is recreation and sport.

In Nature

Fishing therapy is recreation and sport. When we fish, we are in nature.  Sometimes, we are in the water.   We can be on the water.  Sometimes, we are near the water.  We are outdoors.  A deep breath in the fresh air, a stretch in the sunlight, smelling a wild flower, lying down in the grass are all simple ways to be in nature.  Being in nature calms emotions clearing the mind.

fishing-fall is fishing therapy

Primal Instincts

When we fish,  we experience some basic instincts.  Our hunting/gathering nature is kicks in as we search for the deep hole in the lake or the eddy behind the rock or the break in the weeds.  We battle the fish rather than the store clerk or mechanic or teacher or neighbor.  Even if we don’t eat fish, after a successful catch. we find some sense of pride in knowing that we could provide.

A Healthy Pastime


Fishing is healthy.  When we hook that fish, our heart races.   Our breath quickens,  We begin the exercise of playing the fish.  A day of walking the bank, wading the stream or moving about the boat can be quite a workout. Some fishing spots challenge us with strenuous climbing across logs and over rock or scrambling up and down steep river banks.

Good Therapy

Fishing Therapy is good therapy.  We laugh and yell in delight.  We talk to the fish on the line and in the water.  Doing all the actions of fishing like casting, baiting the hook or reading the water makes us proud. We enjoy friendly competition with buddies and famiy.   Stories of  “the one that got away”,from family fishing trips, are told for decades.  Everything around us fades, for just awhile and we feel better when we fish.

Good for Everyone

Whether we are world class athletes or hampered by a physical disability, we can go fishing.  Children using their first fishing rod need help.  One person may not like baiting a hook.  Another may be afraid to take a fish off the line.  Someone may not want to go ocean fishing because they get sea sick.  Another person may not want to be in a boat at all.  Everyone can find some way, some where to go fishing.

I am quite convinced that the world would be a different place if our  leaders regularly fished together.

Please leave a comment below.  Why do you fish?  Would you like to start fishing?

Camping World can provide fishing therapy.