Outdoors: Kids and crappies

As a guide throughout the season, I get many opportunities to guide children of all ages.

Dylan and Hayley Ebeling, 7-year-old twins from Stanchfield.Photo submitted
Dylan and Hayley Ebeling, 7-year-old twins from Stanchfield. Photo submitted

Many times they are as young as 4, and oftentimes pre-teens. With the assistance of their parents (most of the time) I get to put them on fish and teach them the basics on a typical morning. Because kids can have very short attention spans, techniques can be limited. Here are some thoughts on getting kids on fish.

Pan fish

This season has been a good one for this guide especially for crappies. Luckily the crappies have not moved much during the summer and have been very reliable. Most pan fish are still located along green weed lines in the 9- to 11-foot-level and there are many fish now congregated in deeper water and suspended half way up from the bottom. A good rule of thumb is to chase those weed line crappies first and if not successful, use your electronics to locate those suspended deep fish.


I have never been a fan of bobber fishing. That is my last choice and I only use them if I have to. When I have heavy winds blasting against a shoreline, I will often use a two-anchor system to hold my boat parallel to the shore. By anchoring off the nose of the boat ,your main anchor will hold. Use your electric motor to swing the rear of the boat over to the side and use a smaller, secondary anchor to hold the rear of the boat. Now you are parallel to shore allowing kids and adults to cast and retrieve with ease.

Fish cleaning

Teaching kids to fish on the water is a great joy for me but also I like to include them in the fish cleaning process. I often show the kids the innards of the fish I am cleaning and showcase the worms, leeches, larvae, etc., inside the stomachs. Kids love this. Then I ice the fish immediately. This process shows respect for the resource and teaches kids the importance of being a good steward.

This lesson of stewardship is as important as the lesson on the water!