How to Go Fishing With Your Dog

For most of the country, the summer weather is finally here and that means one thing: it’s time for some fishing. Oftentimes, going fishing means leaving your gun dog gear at home in exchange for a rod and tackle, but there’s no reason your hunting buddy needs to exclusively be your hunting buddy. As long as you’re being safe and planning ahead, there’s no reason you cannot take your dog fishing with you. Here’s a few tips to help make the fishing trip go smoothly:

Plan Ahead

Before you and your dog make the trek to the water, ask yourself if your dog will be comfortable once you get to your desired location. If you’ll be spending the day on a boat, then your dog should be accustomed to jumping in and out of the boat, being steady and able to relax. Much like any training scenario, you want to ensure success for your dog and not just expect them to be comfortable in any new situation; that’s just unfair.

During the Fishing Trip

If you don’t plan to fish from a boat, maybe you’ll be casting from the shoreline, allowing your dog to keep their paws on solid ground. If so, make sure the area they’ll be in is free from hooks and garbage. Really, it’s better to leave any spot cleaner than when you found it, so tidying up a place for the dog should work out well for everyone. While maintaining a clean area for the dog, it’s important to think of your fishing tackle and how the dog may be interested in it (which is obviously very dangerous). You might have some flies made of bird feathers or elk hair or other smelly and enticing materials, so keep your tackle buckled up tight, always.

Realistically, your focus will be on fishing, rather than the dog, so they need to be safely tethered to a place with dense shade where you know they can be safe. Heat exhaustion is extremely dangerous for any animal, so know the signs and symptoms and be proactive against them:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive panting
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Bright red gums
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • A body temperature higher than 104° F
  • Collapse, seizure, or a coma

While tied to a tree or another sturdy object, keep some fresh water in a clean bowl for them. Yes, many dogs will drink from rivers and lakes and their digestive systems are ok to handle that; however you’ll want to provide them with enough water so they don’t go searching for something dirty that may harbor some bacteria.

Pro Tip: Watch the news for blue green algae blooms and never let your dog near it. Be able to identify the algae yourself and always keep an eye out.

Keeping your dog tethered to a safe place is also handy because it can keep them away from other anglers and their tackle, their casting zones and anything they might have with them for your dog to be curious about.

Another thing to keep in mind when taking your dog fishing is what sort of foods they could snack on while they’re relaxing. Make sure your dog is well fed ahead of time and that you have more than enough food safely stored in a dog food container, just in case. Plenty of dogs will snack on various things even if they’re well fed but definitely keep them away from salmon that might be rotting on the shoreline. Salmon poisoning is an extremely serious problem for dogs. While many animals can eat raw fish, dogs can get sick if the fish is carrying a parasite that is infected with a microorganism called Neorickettsia helmthoeca. The end result is called salmon poisoning. It’s quite simple to be treated, if caught in time; however, if left alone and untreated, dogs can die from the disease.

Fish safely alongside your dog

Fishing with your dog can be another great way to get outside and enjoy spending time with your dog. There’s certainly some obedience training and safety preparation involved ahead of your fishing trip, but it’s worth the effort.