CHARLESTON, W.Va. — This weekend you won’t need a fishing license to fish anywhere in West Virginia. June 11th and 12th are “Free Fishing Days.” The weekend is an annual event aimed at getting people interested in giving fishing a try.
“It’s just an opportunity to allow people who don’t have the chance to go out and fish through the year to go out without buying a license. You can get a rod and reel fairly cheap and go out and see if you like it,” said Mark Scott who is the Assistant Chief of Fisheries for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
According to Scott many adults fished when they were younger, but as they matured the demands on their time limited the opportunity take fishing trips. Consequently, fishing became a forgotten activity. The idea of free fishing weekend is to rekindle what are typically enjoyable memories.
“It’s an opportunity for people to get reacquainted with it and rekindle that enjoyment they used to have,” he said.
State fish and game officials hope people will bring their children along. Fishing is an activity which doesn’t cost much and there are no real age limits on the fun. Around the state a lot of organizations put together events to give children and parents an opportunity to give fishing a try.
In Charleston, MetroNews flagship station WCHS-AM is offering a free fishing event at Kanawha County’s Coonskin Park Pond on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. The DNR and other sponsors have put on a kid’s fishing event at the Little Beaver State Park Pond for more than 30 years, they’ll be hosting it again on Saturday. Scott said it’s not uncommon to see children return year after year and since it’s been going on for so long a lot of adults who attended the event as a child are now bringing their own children.
“If you don’t know where to go or what kind of bait to use, do no hesitate to call one of our district offices, email us, whatever. We’ll be more than happy to help you figure out a place to go fish,” said Scott.
The Division of Natural Resources in the past week stocked channel catfish in nearly 20 lakes and ponds around the state to enhance the fishing experience for anglers. You can see the list here.
Scott and the DNR hope folks will rediscover a love of fishing this weekend and will consider buying a license and returning in the weeks and months to come.
“Our program is totally funded by license sales and federal funds. We don’t get any tax funds from the state of West Virginia in the fish program. It’s an opportunity to get folks buying licenses and to create increased revenue as well.” Scott said.