No license required to fish West Virginia this weekend

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — This Saturday and Sunday is free fishing weekend in West Virginia. Anyone can fish in any public water in the state without a license for Saturday, June 8 and Sunday June 9. All other regulations apply, but the idea is to give people an opportunity to give fishing a try for the first time or to go fishing again if they haven’t been for a long time.

“My earliest memory is fishing with my dad,” said Mark Scott, Assistant Chief for Fisheries at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “Anymore, we should have more time to do stuff, with all of the so-called conveniences we have but we seem to have less time.”

With busy lives, many adults who may have fished as a child gave up fishing. The DNR hopes without having to buy a license many will decide to give it another try this weekend and rediscover how much they enjoyed that tug on a line.

“You get hooked. You get out and enjoy the outdoors and it’s not about the pressure of catching a fish. I always try to catch fish, and some fishing trips are better than others, but even if I didn’t catch any fish it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good trip,” Scott explained.

The DNR hosts a couple of major kids fishing events as part of the weekend. Fishing derbies are planned at Little Beaver State Park in Raleigh County and at the Bowden Fish Hatchery in Randolph County. Both events have been held for close to 30 years. The idea is to give children a chance to catch fish for the first time and find the enjoyment of fishing. They also are good for parents who would like to introduce their children to fishing, but really don’t know how to fish themselves.

Getting started isn’t expensive. A few dollars at your local sporting goods retailer will put a rod and reel combo in your hands, or those of your children. A few dollars more and you’ll have bait and tackle to get you in position to catch something.

In West Virginia, that could be a variety of things.

“We are blessed in West Virginia. We have anything from a small native brook trout stream, excellent smallmouth streams, navigable rivers where you can catch trophy blue catfish, hybrid striped bass, sauger, and walleye and we have lakes that have pretty decent bass fishing for the size water they are,” he explained.

There are also a variety of regulations from catch and release waters, to those with slot limits, kid’s fishing areas, handicapped only areas, delayed harvest areas, or fly fishing only areas.

“There are lots of habitats and lots of opportunities. You should be able to find something you enjoy,” said Scott.


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