Few memories stick out in our minds as clearly as catching our first fish, and who we were with when we caught it. If you’re needing a special pre-Father’s Day treat, teach kids the ropes this June and remember, it’s the memories that count the most.

Don’t have a fishing permit? No worries! Young angling enthusiasts can bait their hooks and cast their lines for free on Saturday, June 12 during the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency’s (TWRA) Kids’ Fishing Rodeos. On this day only, kids can fish without licenses or fees. It’s a great opportunity to give it a whirl. 

GETTING STARTED

The biggest thing to know about going fishing with kids is that it is about spending quality time together. 

Avoid putting pressure on yourself or the kids by expecting to catch lots of fish or especially big fish: Remember they call it fishing — not catching — for a reason. Patience is the key! Fishing provides a great time to learn more about your kids and to just talk.

 Kids will remember these moments forever, and it’s the little things that stick with us. It’s not about the big boat; or stopping at nothing to bring home a bucket of fish; or spending time buying all of that high-quality fishing equipment. Favorite memories come from laughter, simple surprises and just being together. So before you head out on your first fishing trip this summer, remember: keep it simple!

It’s not the time to try out new spots or to practice new techniques. Go to a tried-and-true location where you know fish will be. Smaller ponds that are well stocked are a great choice, simply because you don’t have to search hard for fish. Just cast out a worm and you’ll be reeling in fish in no time. 

DO’S AND DON’TS

DO plan for a shorter day
Simplicity is key and you don’t want to drag out the day. Set aside enough time for fun, but don’t expect it to go as planned. 

DO pay attention to weather
Is it cool and windy? Chance of rain? This will make a huge difference, especially if you plan on casting your line from a boat. If it rains, don’t grab the umbrellas and head out anyway. There will be more sunny days. 

DO go to “small” water, especially if your kids are little
Small ponds make it easier to catch a fish. As kids grow older, you can start experimenting with larger lakes and heading out on boats. 

DO choose live bait
This is the easiest way to catch a fish if you’re a beginner. If it’s your child’s first time fishing, use live bait such as mealworms or wax worms — everything that swims will eat it. 

DON’T carry too much
Keep your equipment light. The last thing you want is to lug along loads of heavy equipment and use your time together getting it all setup. Your fishing rod, your kids new fishing pole, bait, snacks, sunscreen, water, hand sanitizer and towels. Done. 

DON’T target a specific fish
This can be way too complicated, especially with younger kids. Whatever they catch, whether it be a giant catfish or little tiny bluegill, make a big deal of it!

DON’T stay in one spot
Move around and let your kids have a say on where they want to go next. If they are young and you’re not getting a bite for the first five or 10 minutes, move on! 

DON’T take things for granted
Be mindful of where you choose your fishing spot, watch the kids closely, and never let your kids bait a hook or handle fishing equipment by themselves unless they already know how. Guide them through it and assist them with their first cast.

The Kid Who Bit the Fish in the Family Photo Has Gone Viral | Time

FREE KIDS’ FISHING RODEOS ON JUNE 12

23rd Annual George Gregory Youth Fishing Rodeo
3880 Williamsport Pike, Williamsport
615-920-9060  •  ryne.goats@tn.gov

Come out to Maury County’s Whippoorwill Lake in Williamsport from 7 - 10 a.m. for this youth fishing rodeo for kids ages 16 and younger. Only one fishing adult per fishing child; only one rod per person. Limited bait will be provided (worms).

Cannon County Fishing Rodeo
120 Alexander Drive, Woodbury
615-203-4688  •  mark.vance@tn.gov

Come out to East Fork Stones River/Dillon Park in Woodbury from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. for this fishing event for kids age 2 - 12. Parking is on site; one fishing pole per fisherman. The first 50 fisherman will get a grab bag of goddies. 

Hendersonville Fishing Rodeo
139 East Main Street, Hendersonville
hvilletn.org  •  awise@hvilletn.org

Come out to Memorial Park in Hendersonville from 7 - 11 a.m. for this ishing rodeo sponsored by the Hendersonville Parks Department. Register when you arrive. Parking will be available at the other end of the park. Bring your own pole and bait. Catch a fish and get a picture and a prize!

Columbia Free Fishing Day Event
821 W 9th St, Columbia
barry.cross@tn.gov

Come out to Woodland Park in Columbia from 7 - 10 a.m. for this fishing event for kids. Poles and bait will be provided. Open to all kids who can hold a rod and reel on their own up to 16 years of age. 

Ed Carson Memorial Fishing Day
390 S Main St, Shelbyville
931-684-9780  •  jennifer.swan@shelbyvilletn.org

Come out to River Bottom Park at 320 S Main Street in Shelbyville. River Bottom Park is located behind Shelbyville Power Company. Catfish will be stocked in the river and hotdogs and drinks

Macon Co. Youth Fishing Classic
655 Nature Trail Way, Lafayette 
615-788-6443  •  jonathan.lee@tn.gov

Come out to Winding Stairs Nature Park in Lafayette from 7 a.m. - 12 p.m. for the Macon County Youth Fishing Classic, sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Macon County Bass Team.Onsite registration will begin at 6:30 a.m. 

Montgomery Co. Fishing Rodeo
1190 Cumberland Dr, Clarksville 
tnwildlife.org 
•  montana.michelson@tn.gov
Come out to the Liberty Park pond at 1190 Cumberland Dr. in Clarksville from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. for fishing for kids ages 2 to 15.

Rutherford Youth Fishing Rodeo
381 Old Jones Mill Road, La Vergne
615-203-2102  •  Ethan.Davis@tn.gov
Come out to Percy Priest WMA in La Vergne from 7 - 10 a.m for fishing and fun for kids age 5 - 16. Bring your own fishing gear and bait.

Springfield Youth Fishing Rodeo
4155 Wilks Rd, Springfield
springfieldtn.gov  •  sherry.bryant@springfieldtn.gov

Come out to J. Travis Price Park in Springfield at 6:30 a.m. where fishing enthusiasts age 14 and younger can cast their lines. Special prizes for anglers catching the big one. Reel in catfish, bream, sunfish and other small fish stocked by TWRA in advance. 

Westmoreland Fishing Rodeo
918 Lake Road, Westmoreland
615-388-9255  •  moe.taylor@holstongases.com

Come out to Westmoreland City Lake from 1 - 5 p.m. for the 10th Annual Westmoreland Fishing Rodeo. There are three age groups, 3 to 6, 7 to 11 and 12 to 17 with prizes for the “Biggest” and “Smallest Fish” in each age group.

Williamson Co. Fishing Event at Veterans Memorial Park
7106 Black Pine Road, Fairview
fairview-tn.org  •  hayden.cook@tn.gov

Come out to Veterans Memorial Park in Fairview from 6 a.m. - 12 p.m. for fishing, fun, prizes and food. For ages 16 and under, the location will be stocked with catfish. Please bring fishing gear (poles, tackle, bait, etc.) The event will open to all ages at 12 p.m.