Best Places for Kids to Fish in Kansas City

Why travel hours to the Ozarks for prime fishing, when great bodies of water and an abundance of fish are right here? If your little one loves the thrill of a nip on their line or the sinking of a bobber, then this guide will help you navigate the best places for kids to fish in Kansas City.

Whether you will be casting off a boat or from shore, both sides of the state line offer impressive resources for your lake-loving kiddo.

In Missouri, those who are 15 and under do not need a fishing license, and in Kansas the same applies for those under 16.

Best places for kids to fish in Kansas City: Missouri side

Lake Jacomo

Location: 7401 W. Park Road, Blue Springs, MO

Topping the list for Missouri is Lake Jacomo, where bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish can be found. Locals enjoy fishing directly off the boat docks and find much success. Every year, this is where the annual Jackson County Kids Fishing Derby takes place. Children receive their own rod and reel combo for participating.

When the fish aren’t biting, sit and watch the sailboats go by or enjoy one of the many hikes nearby.

Longview Lake

Location: 11101 Raytown Road, Lee’s Summit, MO

Known to be one of the best fishing spots in the state, Longview is a great place to reserve a day for outdoor explorations. Boat rentals are available for those wishing to be on the water, but shore fishing is just as great.

Bring a few dollars to feed the HUGE carp at the marina before you leave, as it is worth the trip alone.

Blue Springs Lake

Location: 1500 N.E. Bowlin Road, Lee’s Summit, MO

Tree lined shores are what parents will appreciate about Blue Springs Lake, just be sure to steer clear of them when casting. Be prepared to fish for bass, bluegill, catfish and carp.

James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area

Location: 12405 S.E. Ranson Road, Lee’s Summit, MO

A kids-only fishing pond (Honker Pond) is why James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife area should top your list. Offering 12 lakes/ponds, there’s a vast range of fish to find and plenty to catch.

Keep an eye out for turkey, deer and other wildlife sightings.

Smithville Lake

Location: 16311 County Road DD, Smithville, MO

Smithville lake is large and regularly stocked, making for catching different species of catfish, bluegill and bass a delight.

The area is known for its recreational attractions, so consider other activities, such as wildflower spotting, swimming and playing, while there.

Best places for kids to fish in Kansas City: Kansas side

Shawnee Mission Park Lake

Location: 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS

Bass and crappie are the perfect targets for beginners, and they are plentiful in this spot. They are fun to catch, put up a bit of a fight and most of the time can be caught from the shore. This lake also releases rainbow trout in February, March and October for those more experienced or wanting to fly fish.

Kill Creek Lake

11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe, KS

Kill Creek has a large lake, but also a small, stocked fishing pond. Offering both provides families with options based on their specific needs. The shade and the diverse landscape also make it a great spot for exploring, picnicking and swimming.

Wyandotte County Lake

91st Street and Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, KS

Rainbow trout stocking in March attracts hundreds of fishermen/women to this spot, all angling for the prized fish. Plan your own outing during that month for some entertaining and lively action or arrive any other time for a glimpse of crappie, bass and catfish.

Are you a fishing novice and unsure where to begin? In both Kansas and Missouri, the state-run departments of conservation and wildlife are here to help. From tutorials, help with casting and even in person classes, both offer a plethora of resources to help encourage kids to get outside and enjoy the beautiful assets our states have to offer.

Mom tips for making the most of your fishing adventure

  • Want to know what bait might lure a fish to bite? Calling a local fly shop or the talking to a park ranger on site will give you a head start.
  • Bring life jackets for smaller children.
  • When in doubt, always bring a container of worms. If the fish won’t eat them, the kids will certainly love playing with them as they wiggle about.
  • Worry about the prize fish when children are older and possess a longer attention span. The key to get them hooked on the sport is to catch a lot of fish fast. So focus on the crappie, perch and even bass to experience the thrill of the catch and the fun of throwing it back.
Kristin Ruthstrom
Kristin is a Lee’s Summit suburb transplant, after living in the Brookside and Plaza areas for over eight years. Raising three young boys with her husband, Jake, has helped her to embrace the messy, wild side of life where love is expressed in bear hugs and body slams. Professionally, she can be found teaching classes as an adjunct professor in the areas of Business, Marketing and PR. She is able to provide her students with applicable, real-life knowledge as she draws from several years working in the corporate sector. “Free time” (ha!, what's that again?) is spent on an occasional date night to favorite local restaurants, reading blogs on everything from home design to politics, riding her sweet beach cruiser bike and thinking of ways to convince her husband to do yet another home improvement project.