Free Fishing in West Virginia This Weekend


Nothing says family fun like a bobber, worm, and a pond full of bluegills

This weekend will culminate National Fishing and Boating Week in the United States and to celebrate, don’t worry about your fishing license in West Virginia.   Saturday and Sunday, June 7th and 8th are designated as free fishing days in West Virginia.

Many people were taken fishing when they were children, but for whatever reason, life became complicated.   A cluttered schedule in many cases pushed fishing off the agenda.   The free fishing days were designed as a way to free up an occasion to regenerate enthusiasm in the pastime.

"We’re trying to encourage families and folks to fish and boat in this country.   It’s a great opportunity for those who have not fished in a while and don’t have a license to get reacquainted with the sport,” said Brett Preston, Chief of the West Virginia DNR’s warm water fisheries programs.

The offer for free fishing is open to resident and non-resident anglers alike in all West Virginia waters.  All other game and fish laws still apply.

Organizers are hoping the event will encourage not only adults to go

Lifetime enjoyment ensues when adults pass a love of fishing on to another generation

fishing, but also to take along their children for a family activity that’s wholesome and provides a lifetime of enjoyment.

"A lot of work has been done to show that if kids get a chance to fish before they’re 12, they tend to continue participating in fishing and outdoor activities,” Preston said. "It’s really critical that if a family wants to fish, get those younger kids out there.  Folks will find that they’re hooked on fishing for a lifetime."

Going fishing doesn’t have to be a costly venture.  It takes only a few dollars to outfit yourself and your children with adequate fishing tackle at a local store’s sporting goods counter.  There are quality rod and reel combos available for less than $20.   You’ll also invest another two to three dollars in hooks, sinkers, and bobbers.  

As for bait, take the kids into yard and turn over rocks for worms.  Armed with a can of redworms and a pond or stream with a high bluegill population the chances for success are enormous. 

Children naturally have short attention spans, even when they’re catching fish.  Preston says that’s okay—just remember, keep it fun.

It’s never too early to start children toward a lifetime of fishing

"If they get tired of fishing after a little while, turn over some rocks and look at insects.   Find frogs and just explore the outdoors.   It’s all part of fishing, we shouldn’t ignore that,” Preston explained. "I think we all lose sight of the fact that fishing should be enjoyable first."

You can find that joy by locating any local fishing waters.  Farm ponds are a strong place to start.  Be certain to seek the landowners written permission before you fish there.  If you’re looking for water in your area, the DNR lists many of those in West Virginia HERE.    There are also two major events to encourage children fishing with “kid fishing derbies” at the Bowden Trout Hatchery in Randolph County and at Little Beaver State Park in Raleigh County. 


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