We recently went fishing with Connor's cub scout den. It is a wolf-requirement for the scout to do outdoor cooking and there is also a fishing belt loop. We decided to kill two fish with one pole, so to say. We headed up to Mt. Baldy Trout Pools for a morning of fishing and then headed across the street to a clearing for cooking.
Mt. Baldy Trout Pools is to fishing as the Ritz Carlton is to hotels. This is the best place to take a group of young children or beginners to learn to fish. First of all, you can rent a pole for $2. What a deal. They give you the pole, the bait (flavored dough). They have nets and pliers and buckets available. You literally do not need to bring anything with you. I wanted to get five poles since five children would be fishing.
Both my husband and the owner disagreed. They talked me down to three poles - we would have been fine with one or two poles. It took a bit of one-on-one instruction to teach the children to be aware of the hook, how to put a little dough on the hook and how to cast the hook into the water. The kids each took a turn fishing. They each caught a fish within 10 minutes. In fact, in some incidences it took longer to instruct the child on how to catch a fish than it took to actually catch a fish. I swear they don't feed these fish, they are ready to go and chomp on to the hook right away. Perfect for a group of impatient scouts.
Lots of learning and experiencing happened, including talk about how the fish was going to die, discussing the importance of only killing what we eat. There was explanation about taking the hook out of the fish's mouth. Blood. It was a little hard for me since I'm not really outdoorsy. But I held all my squeals in and took lots of pictures. The kids had a great time.
On hour later we took our bucket of five fish to the employees. They weighed (and charged us by the weight), cleaned and packed the fish for us. They did it right in front of the window so the kids could watch and I didn't have to get my hands dirty. It really could not have been more perfect.
We crossed the street and claimed some picnic tables for our outdoor cooking requirement. A little salt, pepper, oil and herbs on the fish all wrapped up in aluminum foil and thrown on a camping stove was lunch. I brought along sandwiches, too. We talked about how to cook the fish, how to know it was done. We found out that the meat just peels off the bone and skin when it is done and the boys had fun poking its eyeball and checking out its skeletal system.
Not a bad way to spend a few hours meeting the cub scout requirements. It was fairly easy, fairly inexpensive. The drive wasn't too bad, it was up in the mountains, but not too windy at all. The supplies were pretty simple - we all managed to share just 2 camp stoves.
I highly recommend Mt. Baldy Trout Pools, check out the website here.