Did you know 18% of the American population goes fishing. So what has got people so hooked on this recreation? When anglers were asked why they tried out fishing, they said it helps you spend time with your family, experience excitement and adventure, and there’s an easy access to fishing. These are all great pluses, especially if you need to get away from the grind of homework, chores, and stress!
But can you really access this sport with ease … just like the anglers said? Yes, you can! Often, there is a big misconception that you have to travel by boat into wild, remote areas to get to where the fish are. Yet in reality, almost anyone can go fishing. That’s because the majority of people live near rivers. Rivers are great sources to find your freshwater fish species because they provide many eddies, gravel beds, and shallow waters that fish depend upon for reproduction and growth. They also supply fish with yummy invertebrates as well as pathways that connect migrating fish to our lakes. Rivers are also our lifelines. They irrigate our crops, give us electricity by moving water through dams, and transport materials by boat. So when you think about it … most cities today are positioned near or along a river! And because rivers are a public resource, they belong to everyone, which offers us TONS of opportunities in outdoor recreation. This makes your access to fishing pretty easy … especially if you are only a few blocks away.
So where can you find access to your rivers? Most cities have biking paths, public parking lots, or city parks that run along the edge of the river, which makes it pretty simple to find your way to a river bank and get fishing! Some cities also have boat launches where you can cast your fishing line off the dock, or launch your boat, canoe, or kayak into the river.
Okay … so we found your river. But where will the fish be? Ah … well to figure that out, you have to think about where the fish will seek refuge. Rivers have strong currents and also lots of predators. So what kind of cover can fish find in a river system?
- Bridges, Docks, and Underwater Structures – These places are dynamite for finding your fish. They slow down the current, which give fish areas to rest and feed on smaller baitfish. And you can normally find lots of underwater structures for you to fish!
- Stumps and Vegetation – See any downed logs, stumps in the water, or areas with overhanging bushes and trees? Stop there. These areas provide lots of shade and protection from birds and predators.
- Islands or Rock Piles – You may see rock piles or sandy islands if your river has low water levels or dams upstream. Since these natural structures break up the current, the downstream side of the rocks and islands can have calmer water. These are good places for fish to find refuge from the strong currents.
- Weeds – These are prime fishing locations. If you spot green vegetation underwater, there may be a group of fish hiding in them. These are calmer areas of the river, and are great places for fish to find food, shade, and cover from predators.
- Talk to an Expert – Still stumped? Good thing there are lots of people you could ask nearby for help. Go to a local bait and tackle shop and ask the staff where the best places are to fish on the river. There may be people who work there that fish the river frequently. Or you can ask any of your relatives, friends, or local fishing clubs for help.
Alright. You are almost ready … Your fishing maps should have a lot of X’s marking where you can begin your river adventure. But how do you fish a river? And what other kinds of fish species can you catch? Let’s test the waters and watch the video! You will discover what methods two teens used while fishing in the city for walleye … and lots of other unique river species too! Or visit the “Learn More” section or lesson activity below to boost your urban fishing and outdoor recreation skills.
And remember … you should always wear a life jacket when fishing in or near a river. Even a strong swimmer may need help if swept up by a strong undercurrent. So always make sure you are wearing a life jacket on your river adventure!
For all kinds of other helpful information and resources on how kids can learn where-to and how-to go fishing, explore our companion KidsFishing.US website. To discover more about becoming a future angler, visit our educational partners that helped make this video, webpage and lesson possible by clicking on their logos below.
And if you decide to fish, you really need to get serious about being a safe angler. So take the complete online boating and water safety course using the link below.
Official Boater Safety Courses
and Boat Safety Education Materials