Grab your fishing pole and get your bait and tackle box ready because West Virginia's Free Fishing Days are this Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10. This annual program gives residents and nonresidents a chance to fish in West Virginia for free.
“West Virginia has miles and miles of pristine waters,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “We need to get everyone into the outdoors, young and old, to enjoy and experience the unmatched beauty of our state’s streams and lakes while participating in an activity, fishing, that’s just plain out fun.”
"Free Fishing Days is a great opportunity for us to remind people why it’s so much fun to fish in West Virginia, especially with family and friends,” said West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel. “And this event isn’t just for new anglers. If you already have a license, bring a couple friends or your entire family and introduce them to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment."
DNR participates in several kid-friendly activities during Free Fishing Weekend, including the Bowden Fishing Derby on Saturday, June 9 at the Bowden Hatchery, just east of Elkins in Randolph County. At this event, the DNR provides bait and loans fishing poles so new anglers can experience the thrill of getting their first catch without having to buy equipment. Another long-running event also takes place the same day at Little Beaver State Park. These events are free, but participants need to register once they arrive.
The week before Free Fishing Weekend, DNR stocks catchable-size channel catfish in lakes at Babcock, Berwind, Blackwater, Cacapon, Cedar Creek, Chief Logan, Little Beaver, Moncove, Pipestem, Tomlinson Run and Watoga state parks.
“For many years, West Virginia has been proud to sponsor Free Fishing Weekend to encourage people, especially children, to learn about fishing and the outdoors,” said Mark Scott, assistant chief of the DNR Wildlife Resources Section. “Fishing is a fun outdoor activity they can enjoy the rest of their lives. It’s a good way to reconnect with family and nature and to relieve stress from life’s challenges.”
Free Fishing Weekend is part of National Fishing and Boating Week, observed June 2-10. For more information about fishing in West Virginia, visit www.wvdnr.gov, or check out the 2018 Fishing Regulations brochure available at license agents and online at www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Fishing_regs.shtm.
National Fishing and Boating Week
National Fishing and Boating Week began as a promotional activity sponsored by the sport fishing industry, encouraging fishing around Father's Day. The recreational boating industry partnered with its sport fishing counterparts to develop a fishing and boating educational campaign.
From those beginnings, National Fishing and Boating Week has evolved into a very effective private/public partnership. The sport fishing and boating industries, fishing organizations and local, state, and federal agencies work together to promote the message that fishing is great fun and that healthy aquatic ecosystems are important. More information is available at www.takemefishing.org.