Things To Do: North Texas' Best Fishing Holes for Kids / Stocked Ponds and Beginner Workshops for Mini Anglers

WORDS
Julia Bunch
PUBLISHED
May 2016 in
DallasChild, FortWorthChild, NorthTexasChild
UPDATED
April 25, 2016
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Good things may come to those who bait — er, wait — but kids’ attention spans and interests won’t typically last for a full-day fishing excursion. Instead, let them cast in stocked ponds, beginner workshops and neighborhood fishing holes where reeling in perch, bass and crappie is nearly guaranteed. So equip the tackle box (or rent one for up to seven days from more than 30 Texas state parks at tpwd.texas.gov), and explore North Texas’ best spots for beginners to get a great catch.

Cedar Hill State Park
Texas Parks & Wildlife hosts a couple of family-friendly Go Fish! events throughout the year at Cedar Hill State Park. An instructor teaches kids and parents the basics — baiting, hooking and releasing — before you spend an hour casting lines in the perch pond at the northwest corner of the park, which is known for plentiful catfish, bluegill and bass. The next event is May 14, from 9am−12pm but look online for others. No need to register or bring your own rod.
Price: Free to attend the workshop; entrance into the park: adults, $7; kids younger than 12, free
Tackle: Provided, or bring your own
Cedar Hill, 972/900-1296
 
Bass Pro Shops
The Grapevine location offers weekly kids’ workshops for inexperienced but eager fishergirls and boys every Saturday from 11am−1pm (assuming good weather). Kids cast a line with provided reels and corn bait in the 1,000-square-foot pond on the shop’s property filled with perch, crappie, bluegill, bass and other small pan fish. A fishing instructor stays on-site to help kids hook bait, tie knots, reel in (and release) fish and answer questions. No need to register or bring your own rod.
Price: Free
Tackle: Borrow for free
Grapevine, 972/724-2018
 
Orvis Fly Fishing 101
Most Saturdays through August (dates and times vary), Orvis retail stores host free workshops for those who want to fly fish but don’t know where to begin. Learn to tie, cast, knot and reel in trout, carp and more using insect-like lures instead of bait, then practice by casting a Velcro-laced line to mock fish. Kids (and parents) who want the real deal can sign up for Fly Fishing 201 (for free) and 301 ($150 per person) to test their newfound skills in the open water (local lakes) with an instructor.
Price: Free
Tackle: Borrow for free, then buy supplies if you choose
Southlake, 817/251-0262
Dallas, 214/265-1600
Plano, 972/596-7529

Chisholm Park
Set up the ice chest, rod and lawn chairs on the bank of the 5-acre pond, which is regularly replenished with catfish in the summer and rainbow trout in the winter. No rod? No problem. Rent tackle for free at Hurst Public Library before you go. Texas Parks & Wildlife requires that adults older than 17 have a fishing license, and each fisherman limits their catches to five per day (unless catching and releasing). Plus, the two playgrounds will tire out the kids if they want to cut bait or fish aren’t biting.
Price: Free
Tackle: Bring your own or rent for free at Hurst Public Library
Hurst, 817/788-7320

Ray Roberts Lake State Park
Visit one of the two kids-only, catch-and-release fishing holes at Ray Roberts Lake State Park. Enter the park through the Isle du Bois Unit, park in Bluestem Grove and navigate through a half-mile of lush landscape to find one kids’ pond teeming with trout. Catch catfish in the other, Willow Cove, in the Johnson Branch Unit on the north side of the lake, where you can borrow the necessary equipment — hooks and rods — for free.
Price: Adults, $7; kids younger than 12, free
Tackle: Bring your own to the Isle du Bois Unit or rent for free at the Johnson Branch Unit
Pilot Point; 940/686-2148
 
Bachman Lake
Catch the crappie, sunfish, bass and catfish swimming in this 205-acre lake. While not nearly as populated as White Rock Lake, this lake and surrounding 3-mile trail can get busy. Besides rods and bait, bring seed to feed ducks. And watch the airplanes taking off and landing at nearby Dallas Love Field airport.
Price: Free
Tackle: Bring your own
Dallas, 214/670-4100
 
Bob Woodruff Park Lake
Enter through the north entrance, closest to the pier, to get to the 12.7-acre lake that sits smack dab in the middle of this park. Bring your own equipment to reel in catfish, bass and a few elusive trout before letting the littles loose to frolic on the large playground or to climb trees. Adults must have a fishing license.
Price: Free
Tackle: Bring your own
Plano, 972/941-7250
 
Towne Lake Recreation Area
With a disc golf course, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts and a playground, this 108-acre park deserves to draw more crowds. Bass, catfish and small pan fish call the 22-acre fountain pond in the center of the park home. Adults must have a fishing license.
Price: Free
Tackle: Bring your own
McKinney, 972/547-7330

Trinity Park
The massive park most Cowtowners know as the home of Mayfest also boasts two fishing areas. Fish are frequently released into the Trinity River, so catch dinner (you can clean, grill and eat on-site). Then let the kids venture to one of the playgrounds or ride the 5-mile Forest Park Miniature Railroad (fpmt.us) within the park for $4 per adult and $3.50 per kid.
Price: Free
Tackle: Bring your own
Fort Worth, 817/392-5700
 
Greenbriar Park
Reel in sunfish, carp, bass, trout and catfish at Greenbriar Lake. Greenbriar Community Center often hosts sporadic fishing tournaments for kids at the monthly stocked pond. Make a day of the angling adventure with the park’s additional amenities, including a playground, grills and picnic tables. Be sure to check the City of Fort Worth’s website before you go to find bag limit regulations (which vary based on fish populations). Permit is required.
Price: Free
Tackle: Bring your own
Fort Worth, 817/926-6214
 
South Lakes Park
Sit on the dock of the bay (or pond) and put your line in, in hopes that catfish, trout and more might bite (take-home limit is five fish per child). The 2.5-acre pond within the 187-acre park has a dock, grills and picnic tables so make a day of the fishing adventure. Adults 17 and older need a fishing license; kids do not.
Price: Free
Tackle: Bring your own
Denton, 940/349-7465

Lakeside Park
Find the bigger fish to fry at this 51-acre park’s man-made pond. Texas Parks & Wildlife keeps the pond stocked with catfish and other common pan fish throughout the year. After fishing, let kiddos run free on the playgrounds, basketball and volleyball courts and softball fields.
Price: Free
Tackle: Bring your own
Duncanville, 972/780-5088
 
Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area
Most think about Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area’s (LLELA) as a hotspot for hiking. But LLELA also offers prime fishing for families. Walk down the riverbanks (away from the dam) and cast a line to catch large-mouth bass, catfish and other small pan fish. Plus, check the online calendar regularly for sporadic kids’ fishing days, where kids learn the basics from an instructor for $7 per kid. Call ahead to check lake conditions after heavy rains.
Price: $5 per vehicle
Tackle: Bring your own
Lewisville; 972/219-3550

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