Those who don’t possess a West Virginia fishing license will be unable to use that as an excuse to NOT go fishing this weekend. Saturday and Sunday are the annual "free fishing days" in West Virginia. Anyone, resident or non-resident, can fish any water of the Mountain State license free
"They can get reacquainted with the sport or take someone fishing who’s never been before," said DNR Assistant Chief of Warmwater Fisheries Brett Preston.
The days are annual events and come at the end of National Fishing and Boating Week.
The idea of the entire celebration is to hopefully rejuvenate interest in fishing. Many times people enjoy fishing when they are young, but as they grow older life begins to get in the way and they find themselves making fewer and fewer trips to the lake or river.
"That’s not uncommon at all." said Preston. "The important thing is getting people reintroduced to fishing and hopefully they eventually will buy a license, but more importantly they’ll understand the great times you can have with family and friends when you’re fishing."
The idea is also to introduce children to the sport. Studies have show that children who begin fishing at an early age are likely to stick with the activity as a pastime for life. The DNR stages two large children’s fishing events to accommodate youngsters.
The kids fishing derbies are Saturday at Little Beaver State Park in Raleigh County from 9am to noon and at the Bowden Trout Hatchery in Randolph County from 8am to noon. All children are welcome and don’t need to bring their own tackle, unless they want to. There will be plenty of volunteers on hand to show them the ropes and teach them how to fish.
"When you’re on the water, there aren’t a whole lot of other things going on," explained Preston. "Cell phones may not be ringing; traffic may not be going by. There are a lot of things that interfere with some of our recreational activities. It’s a time to connect and I think a lot of people realize that when they’re out fishing with family, friends, and children."