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Fishing With Kids: 5 Spots for Beginners

Get your little anglers started early!

Interested in fishing? This is the perfect time of year to teach your little ones how to bait a hook, cast a line, and reel in a catch. Pennsylvania makes it easy, sponsoring educational programs and allowing children 16 and younger to fish without a license. Adults helping a kid 12 or younger don’t need a license, either.


Each year, the state has two “Fish-for-Free” days, when anyone can fish without a license. In 2018, those days are May 27 and July 4. The state Fish and Boat Commission has a ton of helpful information, including maps of where to fish and where to borrow gear, a rundown of all the rules, and how to get a license.

Here are five great places to try fishing this summer.

Springton Manor Farm, Chester County

860 Springton Road, Glenmoore

This farm and park has a catch-and-release pond that’s perfect for newbies. Better yet, on June 5, catch a state-sponsored family fishing program where kids older than 6 can learn how to tie knots, cast, bait a hook, and unhook a fish. The event is free, and all equipment is provided, but it’s BYOB (bring your own bait). The teaching portion runs from 5 to 7 pm, and you can fish until 8 pm.

Linvilla Orchards

137 W. Knowlton Road, Media

Linvilla has everything for the budding fisher: rental rods, bait for sale, and the choice to catch and release or keep what you haul in. The season generally runs from the end of April until early November; the orchard sponsors fishing tournaments in the early spring, too. Linvilla charges $9.99 for anyone 11 and older, and $6.99 for 10 and younger. No license is required, and dads fish for free on Father’s Day with a paid child.

Nockamixon State Park

1542 Mountain View Dr., Quakertown

This park has a lake that’s full of big-time fish, as well as a special kids’ pond aimed at smaller fry. The Friends of Nockamixon State Park is sponsoring a free kids fishing tournament on June 16, from 9 to 11 am. It’s for ages 5 to 14, and includes prizes.

Saw Mill Park

666 Earles Lane, Newtown Square

Little Darby Creek is an easy spot for beginners that’s also convenient. Fishing is allowed for all ages here, and there are trails and a picnic area to make it worth the trip. There’s a trout derby for kids, typically in April.

Valley Forge National Historic Park

1400 N. Outer Line Dr., King of Prussia

Valley Creek is the stream that gives the park its name, and it’s a prime spot for brown trout, as well as other fish. But water pollution means it’s catch-and-release only. You can keep what you catch in the Schuylkill River, which also runs through the park. The park forbids the use of live bait in Valley Creek, and has some rules about what to use in the Schuylkill. You’ll need a license here for anyone older than 16.



Photograph courtesy of Linvilla Orchards. 



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