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From left to right Chloe, Carden, David, and Tanner King (from Arizona) with a stringer of rainbows they caught at Moose Pond.

It certainly can be tough to teach children to fish. Today’s column is dedicated to all of you who struggle to pass on your love of fishing to the next generation. And, hopefully, you will pick up a tip or two that will assist in your quest.

A few weeks ago, I received a call from a good friend, Guy Durrant, who wanted some advice on how to catch fish on Moose Pond, a small lake (stuffed with rainbows) on Highway 44 between Manila and Vernal.

I told him what to buy, how to rig the tackle, which baits to use, where to cast, and in short, everything I thought he needed to be able to teach four of his grandchildren to catch fish. But, when he took them to the lake, the results didn’t match the expectations. Guy and his grandchildren struggled to catch fish and were a little disappointed in their adventure.

When I heard the story, I decided to take matters into my own hands and physically show Carden, David, Tanner, and Chloe King (Guy’s grandchildren from Arizona) how to catch fish at Moose Pond, the same place they had fished the previous evening with little success.

We made plans to meet at Moose Pond the following day in the early evening and once again try to catch some fish. I arrived 30 minutes before the rest of the group. Next, I rigged my rod and reel with the exact same tackle I described to my friend just a couple of days previous.

Then, I made a long cast into the middle of the lake. Knowing I had the right bait, tackle, and rigging, the only thing lacking was the first strike. I watched my line as it first floated on the surface and then, ever so slowly began to sink.

Suddenly, the line twitched and then became tight. I set the hook and brought in an 11-inch rainbow, just one of literally hundreds that were stocked in the lake just a week before. I knew the lake was full of fish and had just caught one so I had confidence that when the children arrived, they could also catch fish.

Within a few minutes, the children arrived, and we began to fish together. At first, the children didn’t recognize the strikes, and I showed them how to watch their lines. Then, they didn’t understand how to set the hook and so I explained we set the hook with our wrists and not our arms.

With just that simple instruction, all of the children caught multiple fish and they literally had the time of their lives.

Here is a list of things to do to insure your children or grandchildren will have a successful time as they learn to fish.

  1. For fishing small ponds and lakes, set up the rods with a clear bubble (fill it 3/4 quarters full of water), a small safety pin swivel immediately below the bubble, a 30-inch leader hooked to the swivel with a loop, and a size 16 treble hook. Above the hook 12 inches, place a split shot weight. Then, bait the hook with one of three colors of Powerbait, green, pink, and yellow.
  2. Check the stocking report on the lake or community fishery you want to fish. If possible, try to go within a week of the last stocking.
  3. Once again, if possible, go without the kids just to verify you have the right tackle, baits and techniques to be certain the fish will cooperate.
  4. Teach the children to recognize strikes, how to set the hook, and how to reel in the fish.
  5. Limit your fishing time (with the children) to two hours … and take along plenty of treats.

Teaching children to fish should be fun. Plan ahead, have the right baits and riggings for the lake you want to fish, limit your fishing time, and try to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Good Luck, and call or email me with questions at

Don Allphin can be reached at

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