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Tips for Planning a Pet-Friendly Fishing Trip in the USA

going fishing with your dog

Now that pet-centric holidays are all the rage, enthusiastic anglers are, too, joining in on the fun. Going on a fishing trip with your canine companion takes comprehensive planning—from keeping up with trout season in the early spring to embarking on a more challenging ice fishing journey throughout the Ber months. 

If casting a line with a four-legged friend by your side is part of your upcoming holiday itinerary, here are a few things you should keep in mind.  

Guest Post by Kenneth from Perfect Captain

Research Your Destination

Some states are more pet-friendly than others and may even provide accommodation for canine guests. However, researching your destination is more than just shortlisting pet hotels—you’ll also want to account for factors like weather conditions and local protocols. 

Best Angling States For Dog Owners

If you’re taking your water-loving dog on a fishing trip, these top pet-friendly states belong on your shortlist of potential destinations. 

San Diego

The Bay Area is by far one of the most pet-friendly cities in America and is also a go-to destination for freshwater and saltwater fishing. Here, you can enjoy off-shore charter trips with your dog and enjoy vacation rentals that accommodate both human and canine guests. 

Key West

The Florida Keys are a world-class fishing destination for anglers with canine travel companions. Rich with species-abundant reefs and shipwrecks, you won’t find any shortage of fishing charters—nearly all of which accommodate dogs. 

At Key West, you can go on dog-friendly lobster hunts, deep-sea fishing, and even enjoy your catch at the marina. 

Garden City

When it comes to angling, you can’t discount Idaho from your holiday shortlist—especially if you and your pet are on the market for trout. Bear State Lake Park is an all-time favorite for dogs and anglers who also want to enjoy an afternoon of hiking and birdwatching.  

Pet-Friendly Accommodation

No two pet-friendly hotels enforce the same policies. For instance, it isn’t uncommon for dog-friendly resorts to impose weight restrictions on four-legged guests. So when booking a stay, you’ll want to ensure that your dog falls within these size limitations. 

Similarly, you’ll want to account for any additional pet fees that include boarding and cleaning. Some pet-friendly hotels even offer daycare services. 

Outdoor Protocols

Just as hotels have their protocols and regulations, so do outdoor spaces that accommodate dogs. Before taking your pet to the pier or lake to cast lines, ensure that you review any existing rules. 

Some outdoor spaces, for instance, will allow you to travel with pets off-leash, while others will require that you keep them on a harness. As a rule of thumb, always prepare the essentials for keeping outdoor spaces the way you found them—that means picking up after your pet.   

Emergency Services

Knowing where to go in an unfamiliar space when there is an emergency is vital to keeping you and your pet safe. Before venturing into the great outdoors, take note of the closest veterinary services. 

Set an Appointment with Your Vet

Consulting with a vet before embarking on your pet-friendly fishing trip is essential for many reasons. First, it is imperative if you are traveling with an older dog or one with special needs. Second, while swimming at the beach or lake is an excellent way to improve mobility in dogs, for example, it may not be suitable for those with more severe injuries or conditions. 

Travel Requirements

Not only can your vet determine whether your pet is fit for travel, but they can also provide the necessary travel documents for venturing cross-country. While domestic destinations aren’t as demanding as international ones, you will be better off traveling with your dog’s updated medical records.

Pack the Right Essentials

We aren’t just referring to your rod and reel when we talk gear—we also mean your dog’s essentials. A few key accessories when taking Fido on a fishing trip include: 

  • A leash and harness, for keeping them secure by the shore or on a boat
  • Water bottles to keep them hydrated throughout the day—and especially if you are traveling to a hot or humid destination
  • Food and treats for breaks between casts
  • A first aid kit that includes an antiseptic solution, bandages, scissors, and tweezers
  • A life jacket for dogs

Practice Basic Commands

While your dog need not be a command connoisseur to enjoy a fishing trip successfully, they should be familiar with a few standard commands. For example, learning to sit and stay can go a long way in keeping your dog calm and safe when out at sea. 

Not to mention, a well-behaved dog won’t go after your catch or mess around with your gear. Is your pet new to learning commands? Consider these tips for how to train your dog.

Review Your Conditions

Fishing on a boat is not the same as fishing by the shore. Depending on what type of fishing you’re embarking on with your dog, here are a few safety precautions you need to keep in mind. 

On-Shore Fishing

While it may be tempting to allow your dog to wander as you cast your line from shore, you never know when they’ll swim a little too far into the water. So instead, you can keep your dog on a lengthy lead tied to something sturdy like a tree or boulder—and don’t forget to provide them with plenty of water!

On-Boat Fishing

Even if your dog is an excellent swimmer, you can never be too careful. On-boat fishing comes with a few additional responsibilities. For instance, you never know when you’ll come across an unforgiving tide. As such, you’ll want to keep your dog secure with a life jacket. You’ll also want to make sure they are trained not to jump out of a moving boat.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons to go on a fishing trip with your dog—to enrich your senior pet, improve your skills, or simply try something new. With ample preparation, a dog-centric angling holiday may be one for the books!

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About the Author

Kenneth has been a fishing professional for over two decades and has since launched his resource website Perfect Captain. He hopes to inspire budding anglers to further their skills by accessing his tips and tricks.