Free fishing this weekend in West Virginia

SOUTH CHARELSTON, W.Va. — This weekend, the fishing in West Virginia will be free. The state’s annual free fishing weekend returns after the pandemic created an unusual situation for 2020.

Typically the agency provides a Saturday and Sunday in which folks can fish without a license, but that wasn’t the case last year. During the pandemic, Governor Jim Justice actually give two free fishing months. His decision turned out to plant a seed nobody saw coming and the state saw a big jump in license sales once the free period ended.

That’s the idea of offering the free days is to whet the appetite.

“People are stretched so many was they’ve gotten away from the outdoors. This is an opportunity for folks to get out as a family and try fishing,” said Mark Scott, Assistant Chief for Fisheries in West Virginia.


Fishing doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s an activity you can participate in if you’re age 4 or 94.

“You don’t need expensive gear. You can buy a cheap rod and reel, bobber, and worms and catch bluegill all day long. If you’re new to it, you can see if you like it before you invest a bunch of money,” Scott said.

West Virginia offers a variety of places to enjoy fishing. There are float trips on man of the state’s rivers, there are loads of bank fishing opportunities on streams or ponds, and larger lakes and rivers for bigger boating and fishing experiences.

“We are blessed mostly with streams, but we do have a umber of impoundments. We have a lot of different waters and a lot of places to get out and enjoy fishing. We love to catch fish, but even if we don’t it’s always good just to get out,” Scott said.

The DNR typically offers a couple of fishing derbies for kids to help youngsters learn to fish. The annual event at Little Beaver State Park is one, but the annual fishing derby at the Bowden Fish Hatchery will not be held this year due to ongoing construction activity as the facility is remodeled.

Although no fishing license is required in West Virginia this weekend, all other fishing laws and creel limits still apply.

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