Over the past few summers, our family has enjoyed more time outdoors than ever before. Fishing is a simple, relaxing activity that has taken over all of our hearts. We take turns preparing hooks and casting our lines, hoping to catch even just a couple fish. Encouraging each other, practicing patience, and the collective excitement with every bite makes these outings some of my daughters’ favorite summertime memories. The keys to a successful fishing adventure are being prepared and being patient. Below you’ll find ideas of where to go and what to bring when you take your kids fishing, as well as other helpful tips to make sure it’s an outing your family won’t forget.
Local Fishing Spots, Shops, Tips, and Essentials
Where to Fish in the South and West Suburbs
The Cook County, DuPage County, and Will County forest preserve websites have awesome information on where to take kids fishing and what kinds of fish are in each body of water. The links above have great maps and detailed information about each location, but be sure to check that your fishing spot is open before you go.
- Forest Preserve District of Cook County Fishing Information
- Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Fishing Information
- Forest Preserve District of Will County Fishing Information
There are also some family-friendly fishing spots that we have gone to or heard of from readers, such as:
- Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm (Bolingbrook)
- Lake View Park (Bloomingdale)
- Barth Pond (Downers Grove)
- Mallard Lake Forest Preserve (Hanover Park)– with Nicole’s review!
- Martin Park Pond (Hickory Hills)
- Central Park (Oak Brook)
- Mayslake (Oak Brook)
- Turner Pond (Roselle)
- Robert Bernas Park (Westmont)
If you and your family enjoy fishing at another location, please let us know by commenting at the end of this article or emailing Annie at email@example.com!
Bait Shops and Fishing Supplies in the Suburbs
Check out these local store for buying bait and fishing gear. Ordering supplies online and having them shipped to your house is also a great option. You can even buy live bait online and have it delivered to your doorstep!
Bass Pro Shops
709 Janes Avenue
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
Giant outdoor store with tons of fishing gear.
Lee’s Bait & Tackle
1400 Army Trail Road
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Small local shop with a great selection.
Lee’s Global Tackle
1010 E. Higgins Road
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
This fishing store offers online ordering with a plethora of equipment.
DuPage Fly Fishing Co.
1512 N. Naper Boulevard, Suite 136
Naperville, IL 60563
Fishing gear, fly tying classes, and fly casting lessons. The company also leads guided kids’ fly fishing trips.
Corley’s Bait Shop
21648 S. Schoolhouse Road
New Lenox, IL 60451
This local bait shop is in the same building as Jack’s Automotive and stocks live bait, fishing accessories, and other gear.
17036 Oak Park Avenue
Tinley Park, IL 60477
In addition to fishing supplies, you can also get insight into local spots to fish, help obtaining a fishing license, and more.
7897 W. 159th Street
Tinley Park, IL 60477
This fishing tackle pro shop has been outfitting fishing enthusiasts since 1995.
What to Bring When Fishing with Kids
- Fishing License: You need to obtain a state fishing license for anyone 16 or older. The Illinois resident fishing license cost is $15 and can be obtained online through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
- Fishing Pole: Child-sized poles are typically inexpensive. You can find them at Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Bass Pro Shop, as well as many of the fishing stores listed in the bait section above.
- Hooks and Bobbers: First, check the fishing pole to see if a hook and bobber is included. The bobber is a ball tied onto the fishing line. When it goes underwater, it signals that something is attached to your line!
- Tackle Box: You’ll be able to purchase a small tackle box wherever you find a fishing pole. Just a few extra supplies are needed such as extra line, fishing hooks, bobbers, plastic worms, needle-nose pliers (to help remove the hook from the fish), a small first aid kit, and sunscreen. (Seriously, don’t forget the sunscreen.)
- Bait: “Take Me Fishing” has a great guide to fishing with live bait. Here’s a tip: if you are bringing live worms as bait, use plastic to-go cups (such as the ones used at restaurants to hold condiments).
- Hand Wipes: Handling bait and fish can leave your hands feeling icky. Make sure to bring something to clean up if you’re planning to eat or do other activities while fishing.
More Tips for Taking Kids Fishing in Chicagoland
If you are fishing in a boat or near deep water, it is a good idea to have your child wear a life jacket. Make sure to wear a hat or sunglasses and have a cooler packed with water. And wear bug spray!
Check out your local library for some books on fishing. Looking through the books together will get your kids excited to fish.
Remember: fishing takes patience. Relax and enjoy the beauty of nature and your surroundings. Pack water, food and snacks to keep everyone happy.
To help fish survive after you’ve caught and released them:
- Use barbless hooks
- Use a landing net
- Keep the fish in the water until you’re ready to release them
- Wet your hands
- Hold the fish upside down while you remove the hook
- Remove the hook quickly
- Cut the line if you can’t remove the hook
- Don’t touch the gills
Thanks so much for reading. You’ll always find tons of outdoor fun for kids here on Kidlist!