Family Fishing in Missouri: My First Fishing Experience with a “Frozen” Rod and Reel

Going to a lake to relax and fish is the ideal afternoon fishing trip. But that’s not what you’ll get if you take your three-year-old daughter along. You’ll get  way more out of the trip than you realize.

IMG_1898One lake in particular my family visits quite often is Binder Lake, just west of Jefferson City. Binder Lake is a beautiful 155-acre fishing lake stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, perch and crappie.  I have created some fond memories with my family fishing at Binder.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in May and I had the itch to go fishing, but this time it was going to be different. I loaded up the truck with my fishing gear and started to leave the house, but then I heard my three-year-old daughter saying, “Daddy, I’m a big girl. I want to go fishing, too.” So I did what any dad would do — I got her dressed and ready go. But before I left for the lake I packed the best rod and reel money can buy for three-year-old girl: a Frozen fishing pole.

When we arrived at Binder Lake, my daughter was literally jumping up and down with excitement to begin our fishing adventure. First, I showed her how to bait her hook with a worm. I know what you’re thinking: “a three-year-old baiting a hook with a worm, yeah right!” Well, yes, it totally happened. The funny thing is, I never knew how busy a worm could keep a three-year-old girl. Once I showed her how to bait a hook with a worm, that’s all she wanted to do. It was, “Worm this, worm that… Can I bait your hook daddy?” she asked like a hundred times.


Once I finally once I got her mind off worms and on to fish, I showed her how to cast and reel in her line. I didn’t think she would be that great at it, but she surprised me. I think she is actually better at casting and reeling in her line than her mom. (But don’t tell my wife I said that!)

IMG_1915After a few minutes of practicing, I explained to my daughter that she needs to keep her line and hook in the water so that she could catch a fish. But explaining the concept of fishing to a three-year-old is pretty hard. My daughter’s attention span can be like a gnat; things go in one ear and out the other.

After about 30 minutes of fishing, she calmed down and actually had a couple nibbles on her bait, which got her really excited. She would start to reel in her line, but there was no fish.  The sneaky little fish took her bait before she reeled it in.

Between playing with worms and hearing Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” song from Frozen a hundred times that afternoon, my little girl had a blast on her first fishing trip. Although we didn’t catch any fish that day, we went home with much more: a memory that will last a lifetime.


Fishing In Missouri

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish. Missouri has more than a million acres of surface waters and more than 400,000 lakes and ponds stocked with fish. To see a map of lakes throughout the state, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website at and search Missouri Lakes. For more on fishing, visit MDC at

Written by Lucas Bond from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Lucas is a News Services Coordinator for the Missouri Department of Conservation. In addition to fishing with his daughter, he also enjoys bow fishing, hunting, going to concerts, watching movies, and spending most of his time with family and friends in the outdoors.

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