Family fishing spots
Kids can angle for a reel good time at these rivers, ponds and lakes.
Your budding angler will be hooked after a class with Chicago Park District’s “Fish N’ Kids” program at Northerly Island. Kids learn the basics of fishing in 35-minute sessions with the rods, reels and bait provided by instructors. Call to register. 1700 S Linn White Dr (312-742-4969, chicagoparkdistrict.com). Through Aug 17, Mon–Fri 9am–4pm; Sept–Oct, Sat 9am–noon. Free. Ages 8 and up.
You don’t have to be a fishing grand master to compete in the Barth Pond Annual Fishing Derby. Trophies are awarded for the longest and shortest fish caught in each age group. Fishing licenses required for ages 16 and up. Register at the event. Patriots Park, between 55th St and Grand Ave, Downers Grove (630-963-7250, dgparks.org). Aug 11, 9am–noon. Free. All ages.
This lake is a DIY spot: Bring your poles, bait and bobbers to aid your young fishing fiend. It’s catch-and-release for all catfish, bluegill and bass, but carp are free to join you on the drive home. Licenses required for ages 16 and up. 2201 N Windsor Dr, Arlington Heights (847-577-3059, ahpd.org). Open daily through Sept 3 from 10am–7pm. Free. All ages.
Snag your little fisher and come learn the intricacies of fly-fishing—from casting to tying knots to fish biology—during an hour-long, private lesson with the professionals at Chicago Fly Fishing. Just bring water to drink and don some sunscreen. Chicago Fly Fishing, 1279 N Clybourn Ave (312-944-3474, chifly.org). Available year round. $90 for two people. Ages 8 and up.
May Watts Park
Reel in the fun with “Fishin’ Kids” at May Watts Park in Naperville. These classes teach anglers how to rig a pole, bait the hook, cast the line and handle the slippery fish. Fishing gear is provided, so just bring your camera and a lawn chair. Register online. 804 S Whispering Hills Dr, Naperville (630-848-5000, napervilleparks.org). Aug 8, 5–7pm. $29, residents $19. Ages 5–11.