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Caught a Fish. Photo: Justine Russo

Six Tips for a Successful Fishing Trip with Kids in British Columbia

Learning to fish. Photo: Justine Russo

Learning to fish. Photo: Justine Russo

If you love fishing, you are probably hoping that your kids will as well. Many anglers have great childhood memories of fishing with their grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, or other fishing teachers. With Spring Break just around the corner, some of you will be venturing out on your first camping trips of the year. Here are some tips for a successful fishing trip with your kids:

Rod Loan Program. Photo: Justine Russo

Rod Loan Program. Photo: Justine Russo

  1. Don’t splurge on the gear before you know if they will like it. Take the pressure off, and borrow tackle and rods for free with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s Rod Loan Program. Many Tourism Visitor Centres have basic freshwater fishing tackle and gear available to borrow on your next camping trip. If this wasn’t the time to introduce your children to the sport of fishing, you didn’t spend a lot of money, and you can try again when they are older.
  1. Have them practice casting before you go. Bring your fishing rod to a school field or park, with a small toy or ball tied to the end of the line. This way, kids can learn some techniques for safely casting with a rod before any potentially dangerous hooks are involved. Once they start to get the hang of casting, put hula hoops or other targets out on the field for them to aim at. Bring out your own rod, and make it a fun competition.

    Float Fishing. Photo by Tanya Laird

    Float Fishing. Photo: Tanya Laird

  1. Wear sunglasses or other eye protection (not only your kids, but yourself too). Some of those casts can be a little off-target; protect yourselves.
  1. Start with float fishing. Kids have a hard time reacting to the feeling of a fish striking a lure on the end of line, but they can see when the bobber goes under. Encourage your child to hold the tip of the rod close to the water so that when the float goes down, they just need to lift the rod tip high to set the hook.

    Caught a Fish. Photo: Justine Russo

    Caught a Fish. Photo: Justine Russo

  1. Increase your chances of catching a fish. During Spring Break, many lakes in B.C. will still be frozen, but lakes on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland will be ice-free, and the stocking of trout will have started. Check the stocking reports to see where catchable rainbow trout will be released, and try those lakes first.
  1. Keeping your kids’ stomachs full and appendages warm will give you more time fishing. Snacks, warm socks, and fingerless gloves are the staples of a successful spring fishing trip.

Remember, kids under 16 years of age do not require a freshwater fishing licence in B.C., but still need to follow the provincial fishing regulations.

Good Luck!

Whistler Fun with Kids (Without Hitting the Slopes)

Recently our family had the chance to head up to Whistler for a quick day trip. We don’t ski or snowboard, so we were looking for fun (inexpensive) activities we could enjoy off the slopes. With Easter coming up, here’s a day’s worth of Whistler fun with kids under 10, for under $40 – without ever setting foot on the mountains.

Ochestra playing in outdoor gazebo

Live music at a gazebo in Whistler, just one of the free ways to have fun off the slopes.

Before you go, we recommend you download a copy of the area map here: http://www.whistler.com/resources/pdf/maps/whistler_village_map_small.pdf. Note: most of these activities take place in “Village North” – the left-hand side of the map.

1. “Adventure Playground” – Free!

Little girl climbing down a ladder at a playground

Adventure abounds on this beautiful playground.

Located in the Olympic Village, this inclusive playground is perfect for year-round adventure. Accessible to children of all abilities, it features two tree houses, slides, and interactive components like a musical station. In the winter it’s a snow-covered wonderland, and in summer there are splash pools for staying cool. It’s also adjacent to a Blenz and a Starbucks, so mom and dad can keep up their stamina.

2. Live Music and Entertainment – Free!

Just south of the playground is a gazebo where we stumbled upon a performance by a high-school band. They covered a medley of Beatles tunes, and had us dancing in the streets. If you want to be sure to catch a performance during your stay, check out http://www.whistler.com/concerts/ and http://www.whistler.com/events/ to review what’s happening.

3. Lunch at El Furniture Warehouse – Cheap! (El Furniture Warehouse)

When we stepped inside “El Furny” we weren’t sure it would be kid-friendly. It has a kitch, 1970s pub-style décor. But with all menu items coming in at $5.95, this is a great place to feed the family. The hostess immediately found crayons and paper for our little one, and after a few minutes’ wait, we were seated. The booths are a little tricky (slippery) for small ones to stay put, otherwise the environment is fun and very casual. The patio would be a great choice in warmer weather.

Little girl looking a restaurant menu

Decisions, decisions. Hard to choose what to order at “El Furny”.

We tried the chicken strips and fries, the pulled chicken sandwich with daily soup (yum!), and a twisted greens salad. With water for mom and dad and a small juice, this lunch clocked in at under $25 (plus tax and tip). Can’t beat that!

4. Afternoon Quiet Time at the Whistler Public Library – Free!

Can a library be a tourist attraction? This one is! The Whistler Library has a fantastic kids section with books, puppets, toys, and a computer for educational games (10 minutes a turn). They also have a small room where toddlers can explore and play as loudly as they like.

5. Extend Your Trip With Camping 

Our trip ended there, but we were surprised to learn how many camping options there are nearby. In addition to a number of private campgrounds, there are several provincial parks and recreation sites within a short driving distance. Next time we’d consider the following nearby camping options and extend our stay:

Whether it’s a day trip or you end up spending the night under the stars, Whistler is an affordable year-round destination for families – even those that don’t ski!

Published: March 30th, 2015

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