Summer is the perfect time for picnics, fireworks, baseball, ice cream, and a trip to a favorite fishing hole. Fishing is a favorite pastime of lots of people. Many older adults learned to fish as young kids, so they have fun-filled memories of trying to catch the big one. Grab your rod and bait your hook! Here are some simple activities to “reel” in memories of the sport.

  • Display an old fishing pole (no hook) and net. Ask: Do you enjoy the sport of fishing? Who taught you to fish? Did you fish with your father or grandfather? What do you enjoy about fishing? Ladies, are you a fan of the sport?
  • Show photographs of a man and a boy in old fishing boat. Ask the men to describe a favorite fishing hole that they used – farm pond, creek, stream, lake. Did they have a secret spot to catch the big one?
  • Share a “fish” joke-of-the-day with your group.
  • Debate (with a straight face): All fishermen are liars! Ask: Did you ever exaggerate the size of your catch? What was the biggest fish you ever caught? Did you ever swallow a buddy’s fish tale hook, line, and sinker?
  • Unscramble words related to fishing: rod, lure, bait, waders, bobber, reel, line, tackle, sinkers, hooks, nets, and floats.
  • Listen to the 1951 song “Gone Fishin’ ” by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. Talk about the meaning of the song lyrics.
  • Show pictures of saltwater (marlin, tuna, shark, mackerel) and freshwater fish (salmon, trout, perch, bass, pike) and ask group members to identify them. Name a favorite Catch of the Day. Enjoy a simple fish soup – chowder or bisque.
  • Display a U.S. map and talk about which state has the best fishing. Reminisce about fishing trips with buddies. Show family “fish” photos, if available.
  • Craft a “Gone Fishin'” sign using wood and paint, or make colorful origami fish.
  • Display outdoor sports magazines, such as Field and Stream and Outdoor Life. Reminisce about the TV show, The American Sportsman, which first aired in 1965 and featured hunting and fishing trips. Ask your group to name other outdoor activities they enjoy besides fishing.
  • Talk about fishing in a competition. Ask participants if they ever entered a sport fishing tournament or derby. What kinds of prizes were given to the winners? Share records for biggest catch.
  • Guess the number of goldfish crackers in a fish bowl. (Afterwards, eat them!)
  • Discuss the meaning of “fish” idioms – go on a fishing expedition, have bigger fish to fry, fish or cut bait, there are plenty of fish in the sea.
  • Enjoy a movie with fishing, such as On Golden Pond, Moby Dick, or The Old Man and the Sea.
  • Discuss the adage “Guests, like fish, smell after three days.”


  1. Where are saltwater fish found? Seas and oceans
  2. What are fish eggs called? Roe
  3. Which organ do fish breathe through? Gills
  4. Where are fish raised for stocking? Hatchery
  5. What is the state fish of Alaska? King Salmon
  6. What do you call the process of removing skin and bones from a fish? Filleting
  7. What is the name of artificial bait used to catch fish? Lure
  8. Which state – with 10,000 lakes – has abundant fishing opportunities? Minnesota
  9. What is another name for a fisherman? Angler
  10. What is a fishmonger? Someone who sells fish

“FISHING” written by Sue Hansen. © 2010 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Reprint Policy: To reprint or republish all or portions of this entry, you must acquire written permission and agree to link back to the original source. Please contact us at [email protected] to obtain permission.