Family Fishing Vacations (Fear Not)

Guaranteed fun for the kids--and you.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Sunburns, long car rides, and tangled lines-ah, the joys of a family fishing trip. As much as children love to catch fish, though, their minds have a tendency to wander, and trying to keep a rod in their hands for more than an hour may start to feel like hounding them to do their homework. That's no fun for anyone. The best solution: Put them on water with fast fishing action, and make sure there are plenty of other activities nearby. Here are five spots that meet those criteria, where you and your family will have a blast. After a week at one of them, the only thing the kids will be whining about is wanting to stay longer.

THE SPOT
Thunder Lake Lodge, in the big woods of northern Minnesota. 800-336-8163; www.thunder lakelodge.com

THE FISHING
There's solid walleye, small- and largemouth bass, northern pike, crappie, and sunfish action. The lake is manageable with a topo map and a boat. If you're looking for a challenge, your host can put you in touch with a guide to take you to nearby muskie water.

THE LODGING
$1,000 per week for a tidy cabin with a fully equipped kitchen and bath.

FAMILY FUN
On-facility attractions abound, including volleyball and tennis courts, video games, paddleboats and canoes, and a sandy beach. There's a weekly kids' fishing tournament and even a private clubhouse for teens-no children or adults allowed.

THE SPOT
**Canoe-Picnic Point State Park ** at Grindstone Island, New York, in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River. 315-654-2522; www.wildernet.com

THE FISHING
While bass fishing has made the Thousand Islands region a favorite stop on the Bassmaster circuit, opportunities for walleyes, pike, panfish, and muskies are equally impressive. The Clayton Chamber of Commerce (315-686-3771) will provide names of guides.

THE LODGING
$205 per week for a rustic four-bed cabin with refrigerators, electricity, running water, and fire pits. The island is accessible only by boat.

FAMILY FUN
This getaway will have your kids feeling like Tom and Huck on their very own island. But the easy boat run into nearby Clayton will put you right in the middle of civilization, with restaurants and cultural sites. There's even a go-cart racetrack in the area.

THE SPOT
Edgewater Resort & RV Park at Clear Lake, in the Lake Country section of Northern California. 800-396-6224; www.edgewaterresort.net

THE FISHING
Catfish, crappies, and bluegills are plentiful, but the real action here is for big largemouth bass. Clear Lake is the self-proclaimed Bass Capital of the West, and the concentration of bass over 5 pounds may be the greatest in the nation.

THE LODGING
$28 per night for campsites and RV hookups.

$125 per night for four-person cabins.

FAMILY FUN
The Edgewater resort specializes in family getaways. There are numerous on- and off-site activities, a Kids' Club for the younger set, and a host of historical and cultural sites in the surrounding area. A nearby water park is a favorite side trip.

THE SPOT
**Emerald Pines Lodge, ** located above Kachemak Bay in Homer, Alaska, the halibut fishing capital of the world. 888-350-6204; www.emeraldpineslodge.com

THE FISHING
Kachemak Bay and its environs offer world-class fishing for Alaskan halibut, king salmon, rainbow trout, steelhead, and Arctic char- some of the best on the planet.

THE LODGING
$2,850 per adult, half that per child, for a five-day, six-night package. This small, full-service lodge is all-inclusive. Pack your clothes and a toothbrush and you're all set.
FAMILY FUN
Your hosts will gladly arrange whale-watching excursions, grizzly bear hikes, a bush-plane flight to the Iliamna River, or a trip to a historic Russian village. The astounding scenery and wildlife will enrapture even the most attention-deficient youngsters.

THE SPOT
**Cooper Lake State Park, ** in northeastern Texas. 903-945-5256; www.tpwd.state.tx. us/park/cooper

THE FISHING
Cooper Lake has excellent largemouth, catfish, crappie, and white bass fishing. You'll also want to spend at least a day at nearby Lake Fork, the top bass spot in the state and home of the state-record largemouth. Go to www.lakeforktexas.com for lake and guide info.

THE LODGING
$8 per night for campsites. $80 per night for a four-bed cabin with kitchen, deck, grill, and central air and heat.

FAMILY FUN

The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in nearby Athens has exhibits and aquariums, as well as a tour through a working fish hatchery. You can even see the park staff hand-feed the all-tackle world-record blue catfish, a 121-pound monster.