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Planning A Family Camping & Fishing Trip

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By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Selecting The Right Place To Camp

Camping & Fishing

From the moment you decide you want to go camping, the most important decision you will make is where you want to camp. All other decisions will be dependant on this choice. So before you select a destination, consider the main activities you want included in your trip. If fishing is the main purpose of the trip, start by locating all fishing areas in which you are interested and determine which of them will fulfill your other interests.

If you plan to use your vehicle as a base camp, it may limit some of your options. At the same time it offers safety and convenience issues in the event of foul weather or other unexpected events. If you are including children in your plans, camping close to your vehicle may be a good choice. Visit these websites for information to help you plan your next camping trip.

US Forest Service

National Parks Service

Planning Your Camping Trip

Once you have isolated potential camp sites, issues like weather, fire danger and road construction should be evaluated to determine your top candidates. If fishing is a major part of your plans, acquire fishing reports and determine if water level issues would impact your plans. It is worth a phone call to a bait and tackle store near your proposed camping area to get local information on how busy the camp area has been, fishing reports, road conditions and expected weather patterns. Once you make your final selection, make any necessary reservations for camp sites and get the proper fishing license and stamps. It is a good idea to select a back up camp area in the event of the unexpected. For additional information on planning your trip visit the National Forest Service outdoor and camping tips.

Camping Trip Preparation

Make a list of everything you intend to take. Discuss this list with all participants and mentally walk through all the activities of each activity on the trip. Be certain everything you will need is on this list. Next get out the gear and do an inspection to make sure there has not been damage since it’s last use. It is a good idea to test stoves, lanterns and the like to make sure they still work. If it is battery powered, check the batteries and make sure you have a backup set of batteries. If you haven’t used the tent in a while, it may be a good idea to set it up and make sure the material has not deteriorated while in storage. A first aid kit should be on every camper’s list. Make sure that it is complete for emergencies you may encounter.

Loading Up

Loading the vehicle should be a simple process of collecting everything on the list and placing it in the vehicle in an organized manner. Some thought should be given to the items you will need first upon arrival at the campsite. Those items should be loaded last. Use blankets and sleeping bags as padding for fragile items like lanterns. For safety reasons fuel for stoves and lanterns should be carried outside the vehicle if at all possible. Be certain that all items are secure to avoid shifting during transport. Be sure to include extra drinking water as well as water to extinguish campfires if it is not readily available at the camping area.

Traveling To The Campsite

Before you leave, make sure family or friends know exactly where you are going, your basic itinerary and when you plan to return. Check road conditions with the California highway department before heading out. It could save you time somewhere along the way. Plan your travel with extra time for breaks and normal traffic issues. Buckle up and travel at posted speeds or below. Your vehicle is probably loaded heavier than usual and it may handle slightly different than normal, especially in a critical moment. Better safe than sorry cannot be overstated for these trips. Take your time and enjoy the scenery and the anticipation of your upcoming camping experience.

Setting Up Camp

Organized campsites make for a more enjoyable stay. Have everyone involved in setting up camp so they know where things are. Check with the California agencies for concerns about food and garbage storage as it relates to local wildlife. Make sure all tents and sleeping areas are situated safely away from natural water drainage in the event of an unexpected storm. Be aware of others camping in close proximity and be a good neighbor. Plan your activities to leave the area as clean or cleaner than it was before you arrived.


Always check fire danger levels with appropriate California agencies and/or National Parks Service before starting fires of any kind. If campfires are allowed take extra caution to make sure your fire does not exceed the boundaries of it’s intended use. Check the flammable materials that may be at risk around the area before selecting the exact location for the camp fire. Keep an eye out for burning embers and sparks that could ignite unwanted areas. Follow approved methods for putting out your campfire and make 100% sure it is out before leaving the area. Visit the USDA Forest Service website for additional fire safety information.


Plan meals in advance to be hearty, simple and enjoyable without a great deal of effort. Extra snacks are always welcome and will come in handy to fuel the extra energy you will exert during these outdoor activities. Casseroles made up in advance and frozen help to keep other foods cool until it is time to thaw them. This reduces the amount of ice required for the entire cold storage.

Nature Walks, Hiking & Fishing

Camping offers you and your fellow campers to experience the outdoors. Take short walks around the camp area to see what nature has to offer. Check with the proper agencies to determine safety issues for the area you plan to traverse. Always carry more water than you think you will need and be prepared for at least minor emergencies of scrapes, cuts and the like. Before leaving camp for any extended period notify other members of your fellow campers of your plans and what to do in an emergency. Be sure that camp is secure and all recommendations for food and garbage storage has been followed. Give yourself plenty of time for your intended activity so you can relax and enjoy your time.

Wilderness Survival

If your camping plans include any excursions away from civilization, it could save your life to know a little bit about surviving in the wild. Check with local agencies, National Parks Service and/or other local experts for details on what one might expect in your area at the time of your trip. Simply knowing some basics can make all the difference in being safe until you find your way back or are rescued by others.