Ready, set, go fish! Fishing is a fun, family-friendly pastime that not only creates many childhood memories, but can be done from a beach, a pier or a boat, with minimal skill and experience. With the sun shining, now is the perfect time to check out one of these spots where fishing with kids is reel-y fun. Here’s where to bring your pint-size anglers!
Jim's U Fish
The fish are jumping at Jim's! With two freshwater ponds stocked with rainbow trout, the fish here are pretty easy to catch, but kids still think it's lots of fun. This U-fish spot makes a great day out with the fam and not only can you catch some fish, you can also enjoy all that Old McDebbie's 20+ acre farm has to offer. The flat fee general admission is good for all attractions at Old McDebbie's Farm and you can bring your own gear too (although rentals are available if you need them). Psst...pack your own lunch to enjoy at one of several picnic spots.
Good to know: No catch-and-release is allowed here. Fish are cleaned and bagged for free.
Cost: $10/general admission; $2/pole rental; $2/bait; $6/fish
Hours: Wed.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in summer
Old McDebbie's Farm & Jim's U Fish
4924 268th St. E.
Spanaway, WA 98387
You'll enjoy a lovely view from this fishing pier on Lake Washington, especially if the mountain is out. Après fishing, enjoy a stroll through Seward Park, swing on the zip line, play on the new and improved playground equipment or go for a swim at the swimming beach.
Good to know: Don’t forget to bring an extra layer. This fishing spot can get a bit windy.
Reverend Murphy Fishing Pier at Seward Park
5900 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Seattle, WA 98118
Watch ferries crisscross the Sound as you fish from the driftwood strewn beach at Lincoln Park. Popular with families, Lincoln Park boasts great salmon fishing during the summer months, as well as plenty of other activities (think playgrounds, hiking trails, ballfields, zip lines and even an outdoor, heated saltwater pool). Enjoy the inclusive and accessible play elements, including a small alcove for sensory sensitive children. But be prepared, Lincoln Park can get quite busy, especially during the bi-annual "pink" salmon run.
8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
Seattle, WA 98136
Nestled on the shores of Union Bay, you’ll find Belvoir Place, a 400-foot fishing dock. This hidden gem in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood is not usually busy, so it's perfect for beginners. Kids can fish for largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, sablefish, black crappie, and more. Psst...this spot is one of Seattle's best-kept secrets, probably because it's quite hard to find (squeezed between two houses).
3659 42nd Ave. N. E.
Seattle, WA 98105
Apart from the occasional airliner passing overhead, Angle Lake is a great escape from the city. At this L-shaped, 10-acre urban park, you will find a big fishing pier, sandy beach and grassy area as well as a playground, picnic/BBQ area, and swimming beach to pass the time when the fish aren't biting. During the summer months, silver trout called kokanee are plentiful, but you can also reel in largemouth bass, black crappie, rock bass, yellow perch and, if you're lucky, a rainbow trout.
19408 International Blvd.
SeaTac, WA 98188
Redondo Beach Pier
Many kids have memories of catching their first fish at Redondo Pier. Fish for salmon, sole and perch at this popular spot south of Seattle. There's a bait shop at the top of the pier and complimentary children’s life jackets for use while fishing. Afterwards, take a stroll along the boardwalk and stop in at Salty's pop-up seafood stall on the pier. All summer long they'll feature fresh-cooked fish and shrimp, as well as ice cream and snacks.
Redondo Beach Dr. & Redondo Way
Des Moines, WA 98198
For little anglers in North Seattle, Green Lake is stocked full of rainbow and brown trout just waiting to be caught. Kids can also catch channel catfish, carp and pumpkinseed sunfish. With excellent shoreline access and fishing piers, you can drop your line anywhere around the lake and see what will nibble on your line. Of course, Green Lake also offers tons of other activities if the fish are not biting including a three-mile paved trail, boat rentals, a play area, wading pool and lots of tasty nearby eateries and coffeeshops.
5900 W. Green Lake Way N.
Seattle, WA 98103
Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
There's so much to do at this Lake Washington park, including fishing from the pier. Hang out at the fishing pier or stroller along the paved shoreside walking trails. But don't worry if you don't catch any fish, you can always catch a tasty cod 'n' chips from Ivars, located right by the fishing pier or grab a burger from Kidd Valley. No dogs are allowed at Coulon Beach, so leave Fido at home.
1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N.
Renton, WA 98056
Luther Burbank Park
If you're looking for a spot in between Bellevue and Seattle, head over to Mercer Island, where the fishing is fine! Drop your line into Lake Washington from the fishing pier at Luther Burbank Park and see if you can catch a black crappie, coastal cutthroat, largemouth bass, crawfish or longnose sucker—all while enjoying the amazing views. The park boasts three-quarters of a mile of waterfront, a swimming beach (no lifeguard on duty), a great play area, and an off-leash dog park for your pooch.
2040 84th Ave. S.E.
Mercer Island, WA 98040
The Old Fishing Hole
The Old Fishing Hole, adjacent to the Green River Trail, is a favorite of young fishers for generations, catering to anglers aged 14 years and younger. The best part? It's stocked with 1,500 trout every year! So grab yourself a spot on the grassy shore, bait your hook and reel 'em in!
The Old Fishing Hole (south of W. Meeker St.)
Kent, WA 98032
Gold Creek Trout Farm
This hatchery can be loads of fishy fun for amateur anglers, but you might find the fish are really easy to catch (sometimes they're practically jumping on to your line). With poles, bait, buckets and nets supplied, plus staff to offer helpful pointers that enhance your experience, this is a no-brainer when it comes to first fishing experiences. They'll be hooked in no time. Parents, take note, there's no catch-and-release here, so plan to bring your fish home. You can get them cleaned and prepared on-site (50 cents per fish), or you can clean them yourself. Either way you'll be able to cook and eat 'em when you get home.
Good to know: Gold Creek Trout Farm is a state certified food fish supplier, and their ponds are filled with spring water so the fish have a very fresh taste. No license required.
15844 148th Ave. N.E.
Woodinville, WA 98072
Pine Lake Park
The young Eastside anglers' not-so-secret spot, Pine Lake is perfect for fishing with kids. The catch rate is highest early in the season, but also consider stopping by in the fall when fish have had all summer to grow and become active around the lake in the cooler temperatures. Here, you can reel in rainbow trout, largemouth bass, brown bullhead, yellow perch and pumpkinseed sunfish from the fishing pier. Or bring your boat and try catching a big one out in the lake! There is ample shoreline and a large fishing pier at the public park. There is a boat ramp, but water craft are restricted to car-toppers and float tubes; outboard motors are prohibited.
2401 228th Ave. S.E.
Sammamish, WA 98075
Good to Know: Children 14 & under do not need a fishing license to fish or shellfish in the state of Washington. However, they do need to keep and fill out a catch record card if they are fishing for salmon, halibut, sturgeon, steelhead or Puget Sound Dungeness crab. You can register for one online or call the Fish Program Customer Service line at 360-902-2700 for more information. All catch record cards must be returned to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife by the appropriate deadline, even if you didn’t catch anything.
—Abbey McGee, Helen Walker Green & Kristina Moy
feature image: iStock