Free Fishing Days this Weekend


Hard-core fisherman, weekend anglers, or even those who may have fished a time or two as a child are all invited to wet a line somewhere in West Virginia this weekend.    Saturday and Sunday culminate National Fishing and Boating Week in the United States and again the state of West Virginia will waive the requirement for a fishing license for those two days.

"It’s an opportunity for folks to invite family and friends back to the state," said Brett Preston, Chief of Warmwater Fisheries for the West Virginia DNR.  "I think we have a legacy of great fishing opportunities in the state and this reacquaints people with that legacy."

National Fishing and Boating Week was established as a national event several decades ago by the marine and tackle manufacturing companies.  The idea is to create a buzz and celebrate America‘s passion for fishing.

The aim of the free fishing days is to give an opportunity to everyone to experience fishing again.   Another main goal is to get more children involved in fishing.

"It is a lifelong recreational activity, whether you’re nine or 90, the opportunity will be there for you to fish," said Preston. "It’s a great thing in this day and age of going 100-miles an hour on-line or just getting kids from one place to another for their activities.  Free fishing weekend is a chance to slow down and knock that pace back a notch or two and enjoy the outdoors."

"I do think if you introduce a kid to fishing at an early age, you still have a chance," Preston explained. "Even if they do leave it later in life, it may still come back to them.  That legacy is still there."

The cost of getting children involved in fishing doesn’t take much.  Basic fishing tackle is very affordable at retail outlets.   All that’s needed afterward is a can of worms and some patience.  

There are numerous public waters across the state to get started.   Pick a spot that has easy access and a high probability of catching fish if someone is fishing for the first time, particularly for a child.     Also, remember if you’re in the Elkins area, the DNR has a kids’ fishing derby this Saturday at the Bowden Fish Hatchery in Randolph County.

The free fishing weekend is open on any public water in West Virginia and is open to both state residents and non-residents.  All other fishing laws still apply.


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