Oregon is a beautiful state with so many fun things to explore. And let’s face it, now that the sun is here, we all want to explore all of Oregon’s beauty. Don’t we all have a little extra spring in our steps with the sun out and the weather so lovely? One great thing to do as a family in the great outdoors is to go fishing. 

You may be thinking, why fishing? Well, fishing gets you out in nature (and probably off your devices). Fishing allows your children to understand the cycle of life and where your food can come from. Food just tastes better when you harvest it yourself. Fishing can build confidence, and it definitely will teach you patience.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has what you need to get you and your family started fishing. ODFW has resources to teach you about fishing, how you get your fishing license, and provide events to get you fishing. Children who are 11 years or younger do not need a license, so it is free and legal to fish without one with them. Youths 12 to 17 years need a $10 Combined Annual License (includes fishing, hunting, and shellfish licenses, and a Columbia River Basin Endorsement).

ODFW has Family Fishing Events that actually start this time of year. The Family Fishing Events Program offers dozens of free Family Fishing Events throughout the state. At these events, ODFW staff and volunteers will be there to show you everything you need to know to go fishing. This is a perfect opportunity to learn how to bait the hook, cast the rod, and reel in fish. These events even have rods, reels, and tackle for you to use for the day. In addition, event locations are liberally stocked with rainbow trout, so there will be plenty of fish to catch. If you or your kids are new to fishing, be sure to check out one of these events. Go here to learn more about the Family Fishing Events Program and to see a calendar of events. 

There are even youth-only fishing ponds in Oregon. Youth-only ponds are open to youngsters ages 17 and under as well as persons with disabilities who possess a current Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License. Check out this link to show a map of where to fish and what ponds are stocked with what fish. 

A couple of great places to start fishing are Vernonia Pond and Hagg Lake. Vernonia Pond is a 45-acre man-made reservoir that sits right on the edge of the small city of Vernonia. Vernonia is a traditional logging town located in the forested hills of Columbia County northwest of Portland. They have some great little restaurants to hit up on your trip. Hagg Lake is a reservoir that was formed by the construction of Scoggins Dam. Hagg Lake is a wonderful place for boating, swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, and more. Even if you don’t check out the fishing, go for a swim, hike, or bike ride around the lake.

If you like to get gear, you are really going to love fishing. You don’t have to have a lot of gear if you are more of a minimalist. However, getting the right fishing gear can be important for success and enjoyment. Look for smaller fishing rods and reels with kid-friendly features. It would also be helpful to include a fishing net, pliers, a tacklebox, and bait. If you want to get your gear locally, check out Fisherman’s Marine. You also want to make sure to bring a raincoat (we do live in the PNW), sunscreen, hats, chairs, and a change of clothes and towels do not hurt. Oh, and bring the drinks and snacks. We all know that snacks make the world go round. 

Fishing with your kids in Oregon can be an unforgettable experience. Fishing offers bonding time with your family, gets your kids engaged in nature, and teaches them important life skills. Are you a fisherperson? Did you grow up fishing? Have you taken your kids fishing? Do you want to? What are your favorite places to fish?