Fishing with Kids Near Melbourne: Our Top Tips and Fave Places to Go
Fishing can be a fantastic way of spending time in the great outdoors, among old-fashioned values, learning good old-fashioned patience. It can also be a complete maelstrom of whiny, bored children, toddlers around large bodies of water, and potentially dangerous hooks, lifelike lures, and other items that we need to keep inquisitive little hands supervised around. Relaxing? Hardly!
But done the right way, in the right surrounds, with realistic expectations, it's a lot of fun. And with our kid-fishing tips you can bypass the headaches and get the most out of your aquatic trip.
Make sure everyone knows the rules
Of course everyone needs to understand where the dangers lie and what the boundaries are to keep everyone safe and out of trouble. Lay out some ground rules before things kick off, and ensure everyone has a basic understanding of how to bait a hook safely, how to cast their lines, how to determine when it is safe to do so, what to do if a hook goes awry, and where all the first aid things are.
Depending on the age of the kids also, be specific about where they can go and how close to the water they can get.
Also don't forget sun protection, even if it's a cloudy day - fishing can take a while and the sun is sneaky!
What gear do I need?
Honestly - not much. We fished with hand lines and a bit of bait as kids, but this can go as large or as little as you need.
Fishing rods and reels
There are great kid-sized rods that are lightweight and easy to use, and it's often worth it to get a better quality line as they snap and snag less, which is helpful for smaller kids who are not as patient as us. Speak to the people at the fishing or tackle store for tips and to point you in the right direction.
Live bait can be a bit confronting for kids, but if you think they can handle it, go for it. You can also use frozen bait or small bits of pilchard or meat.
You might want to use lures instead and there are almost an infinite amount of options. Maybe select a couple of kid-friendly options and have them choose which ones they'd prefer from those items.
You'll need a fishing licence uless you are exempt (aka under 18 or over 70 years of age) when taking, or attempting to take, any species of fish by any method including line fishing, bait collection, gathering shellfish, yabby fishing, prawning and spear fishing.
You can purchase your Victorian recreational fishing licence online before you go, and you will need a printer to provide proof of purchase or a mobile device to store it electronically.
What is a good age for kids to start fishing?
That's going to depend on how often you go, how well you think they'll take to it, and the temperament of the individual kid. Kids can learn the basics from extraordinarily young ages, and plenty of kids are happy to sit and watch the line for signs of life.
Place and Time
Where you go will determine to a certain extent how everyone will enjoy the experience, and for eager little ones, we'd recommend going somewhere where the fish are plentiful. Make sure there's ample space to sit (especially if you're going to be there a while), the environment is conducive to everyone having a good time (including you, who will be supervising the kids around water), and how well it fits in with the kind of fishing trip you want to go on.
You're more likely to catch a fish in the first two and last two hours of a tide (they are more active in the water then), in the mornings and afternoons - which is also a better time to stay out of the full sun. Check online or in local spots for where the fishing is good and get going!
Kids will be kids
They're going to get hungry, cold, bitten by bugs, have to be kept out of the sun... all the usual things you need to cater for when taking a kid out, but your first aid kit may look a bit more comprehensive! Snacks, sunscreen, jumpers, bug spray, drinking water, seats to sit on, hats, rashies, and a full first aid kit are pretty necessary for the fishers, and a full tackle box and buckets for the fish themselves. Gloves, a filleting knife, pliers and extra plastic bags are also useful to have on hand also.
You will be out of your regular environment, so be prepared - the kids may love it, or they might be miserable and need extra encouragement to help them along. Eventually they will get the hang of it!
Fantastic Fishing Spots for Kids Near Melbourne
Keep it simple: snag-free spots that are pretty well-stocked with fish is usually better for smaller kids with shorter attention-spans, and makes it more enjoyable for everyone. Pleasant surrounds, plenty of shade, and kid-friendly environments are all more conducive to a happy experience, so check these spots out next time you're keen for an angle:
Marysville Trout Farm
Some solid fishing fun in a managed environment where the owners will even prepare your catch so all you have to do is pop it on the BBQ onsite. Kids can get up close with the fish in the touch tanks, and you can choose what experience level to fish at, as they have ponds of varying difficulty and fish between 400g and 6kg in size.
Location: 261 Marysville Rd, Marysville
You'll find estruary perch at the Tarwin River, and plenty of it. Bream, too. There are plenty of accessible fishing platforms with walkways and bridges, and is a popular spot for families.
Location: South Gippsland area
Every school holidays, the Department of Agriculture stocks more than 80 lakes in Victoria with ready-to-catch rainbow trout, and Eildon Pondage is one of them. It's a great family-friendly spot with playgrounds nearby and (usually) plenty of room for everyone.
Location: 261 Eildon Rd, Eildon
Williamstown Gem Pier
An historic pier in Port Philip Bay is a great spot to take the kids on a first fishing trip, what with its easy access and cafes aplenty should the fish not be biting!
Location: 1 Syme St, Williamstown
See you on the water!