While nothing says “summer!” quite like dangling tootsies over a dock and casting a line, for many people the whole idea of taking kids fishing can be intimidating. There are just so many considerations here – do you need a license? (Not necessarily.) What kind of bait do you need? (French Fries.) And most critical of all, what do you do if your 3-year-old actually catches a flippin' fish? (Don’t scream and run.)
Tackling – pun shamelessly intended! – the subject for our 2017 Summer Fun Checklist, we've rounded up five locations for the newbie fishing family and seasoned pro alike – and per Texas Parks & Wildlife regulations children under 17 years of age and any person fishing from the banks of a state-park enclosed waterway, do not require a license. Since many locations are catch & release, you won’t even have to lie to your kid about why you’re not going to be gutting their prized, 3-inch sunfish for dinner. A win!
Don’t have gear? No worries with this privately-owned Cedar Creek fishing pond and camp, just southeast of Austin. Offering up lessons, pole rentals, party packages and even aid baiting that hook, Moby Dick’s is a hit for all levels and group sizes. And their “full service,” option includes a guide who will bait, untangle, and assist you throughout your experience. The pond is open 7 days a week and operated by reservations, so make sure to call ahead.
Where: 343 Pope Bend S, Cedar Creek TX.
Contact: (512) 308-7577
Cost: $5 per hour for fishing; $20 per hour for full service; party packages available.
Originally designed as a residential water source, Lake Pflugerville has become a water-play destination for many families in the greater Austin area. Though fishing is a hot event year round, be sure to check out Kidfish the first Saturday each June, when the lake is fully stocked and prizes are awarded to kids 17 and under for their big catches.
Where: 18216 Weiss Lane, Pflugerville TX.
Many neighborhoods in and around Austin boast wonderful ponds and sometimes even larger lakes just waiting to be fished! One great example is Mueller Lake Park in central northeast Austin. Getting super local by choosing a location where you live has many benefits – not the least of which is a short drive or even walk back to your own bathroom. Many of these ponds are catch and release only, so be sure to verify with local HOA’s or city websites before leaving with your catch. Fishing jail is no place for the weak.
McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park
Located within Austin city limits, McKinney Falls offers up ample fishing opportunities in addition to camping and hiking. Two creeks serve as your base of operations for bank fishing and the Onion Creek trail has an added benefit – its pathway is paved to allow for easy stroller and kid-bike access.
Where: 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway Austin, TX
Contact: (512) 243-1643
Cost: $6 per adult; children 12 and under are free.
Southeast Metropolitan Park
Just minutes east of Austin-Bergstrom airport, the Southeast Metro Park stocks two ponds and has a covered dock to hide from that summer sun. The trail to catch and release fishing here can be rough & tumble at points – something to keep in mind for the youngest kiddos in your group.
Where: 4511 TX-71, Del Valle, TX.
Contact: (512) 854-7275