Boy fishing

Fishing opportunities for youth

Fishing with your kids or grandkids can be a lot of fun for all. Check out ODFW's fishing opportunities for youth, tips for parents/guardians, and free fishing events across the state.

ODFW has made it as easy and affordable as possible to take the kids (and grandkids!) fishing -- from affordable youth licenses (kids 11 and younger fish free), to free Family Fishing events, to well-stocked, family-friendly fishing locations.

License requirements

  • Kids 11 years or younger don't need a license.
  • Youth 12 to 17 years need a $10 Combined Annual License (12-17 years old) (includes fishing, hunting and shellfish licenses, and a Columbia River Basin Endorsement).

Fishing skills a little rusty? Not sure you're ready to take the kids fishing? At ODFW's free Family Fishing Events the whole family can fish together -- a chance to learn new skills or remember old ones.

Family fishing events

The Family Fishing Events Program offers dozens of free Family Fishing Events throughout the state, usually in spring and early summer. At these events ODFW staff and volunteers will be there to show you everything you need to know to go fishing -- from how to bait the hook, cast the rod and reel in fish. We'll even have rods, reels and tackle for you to use for the day. In addition, event locations are liberally stocked with rainbow trout so there will be plenty of fish to catch. The calendar of Family Fishing events is posted in April or May.

Youth-only fishing ponds

Youth-only ponds are open to youngsters ages 17 and under as well as persons with disabilities who possess a current Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License.

Northwest Zone

Three Rivers - open to youth June 1- July 15 from Cedar Creek Hatchery deadline to marker located downstream of Gauldy Mtn. Road Bridge. 

Willamette Zone

Canby Pond - Canby Pond is a one-acre pond located at Canby Community Park in the southwest portion of Canby. Access the park by traveling south from hwy 99E on SW Berg Parkway. The pond is often stocked with trout but also contains largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill.
Small Fry LakeWith plenty of stocked trout and easy access from Portland, this one-acre lake within the Promontory Park is a great family fishing destination.

Central Zone

Jefferson County Pond - Often stocked with trout, this kid-only pond is an easy drive from Bend.
Prineville Youth Pond - This small, one-acre pond was built in 2009 in order to provide a convenient fishing opportunity for local kids.
Shevlin Pond - A half-acre pond located among aspen trees in the beautiful Shevlin Park with a casting dock and good bank access.


In addition to youth-only ponds, ODFW has identified a host of family-friendly fishing locations. These are places that have simple regulations, are regularly stocked with trout, offer good bank access and creature comforts (restrooms, picnic tables, etc.), and are convenient to major towns or cities. Check out the Easy Angling Oregon article series for a list of these places.

Tips to consider when taking kids fishing

  • Make it an adventure!
    Depending on their age, allow time and give permission for wading in the water, skipping stones, catching frogs or some other form of free play. This is not time wasted; it’s an investment in the future by creating a fun first experience.
  • Use simple tackle.
    Spincasting tackle is best for teaching children to fish.
  • Use simple baits.
    Such as worms or PowerBait with bobbers or sinkers. It’s fun, easier than lure fishing, and lets kids explore the surroundings while waiting for bites.
  • Be prepared to teach.
    For older kids, help don't do. Guide them as they bait their own hooks or cast their own rod. For younger children you'll need to be prepared to tie the knots, bait the hooks, make the casts, and take the fish off of the hook. If the kids want to participate, let them. Be sure to let them reel in the fish – that’s the fun part! Don’t be critical of their casting skill, knot tying ability or reluctance to handle bait or fish.
  • Be safe.
    If the children are likely to wade or play in the water, we strongly encourage them to wear a Personal Flotation Device. If you are fishing from a boat, you must have a PFD for each person on board, and children 12 and under must wear them at all times while underway.
  • Have fun!
    The number, kind and size of fish caught is not as important as spending time with a child and helping him or her learn a sport they will enjoy for their entire lives.

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