Fun Family Events Highlight Free Fishing Day June 7
AUSTIN, Texas — A “Free Sportfishing Day” will highlight National Fishing and Boating Week, allowing anglers to fish any public waters in Texas without a fishing license on Saturday, June 7.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said the special day in this state, authorized by the Texas Legislature, is intended to promote fishing and encourage people to enjoy the state’s fishing resources. Both resident and nonresident recreational anglers will be allowed to fish without a license and will not be required to have special stamps such as the saltwater or freshwater fishing stamps.
The eighth annual National Fishing and Boating Week is June 1-8 with thousands of local events in communities across the country. Events will provide hands-on opportunities for families and friends to share fun, quality time together while learning about two of our nation’s favorite pastimes — boating and fishing.
Numerous youth fishing activities are scheduled around the state during National Fishing and Boating Week, including special fishing events in state parks and fish stockings in community lakes. Park entry and facility use fees will still apply for those who wish to fish in state parks. Camping reservations are recommended.
National Fishing and Boating Week is a key component of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s national awareness campaign, Take Me Fishing. Funded by the federal government’s Sport Fish Restoration Program, the non-profit Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation was created to increase participation in fishing and boating and focus attention on the need to protect the nation’s aquatic resources.
Similarly, TPWD fisheries and state park officials began the Free Fishing in State Parks program a few years ago to encourage folks to fish and visit state parks. This year marks the fifth year of the Free Fishing in State Parks program that waives fishing license and stamp requirements within more than 50 Texas state parks.
To capitalize on the program, which has been extended through Aug. 31, 2008, a dozen state parks are hosting “Free Fishing in State Parks” events where participants learn fishing skills, angling rules and regulations, have a chance to hook a fish and perhaps win door prizes such as rods and reels.
Texas also offers a wide variety of neighborhood fishing opportunities. Looking for a place to fish (or try fishing) on Free Fishing Day, there’s probably no better place than at a neighborhood fishing lake. In some cases, local parks and recreation departments will be holding special Free Fishing Day events in cooperation with TPWD. Check out any of the following neighborhood fishing lakes:
- Amarillo — Medical Center South
- College Station — Central Park Pond #1
- Duncanville — Lakeside Park
- Hurst — Chisholm Park
- Katy — Mary Jo Peckham Park
- San Angelo — Oakes Street Park
- San Antonio — Miller’s Pond
- Waco — Buena Vista Park
- Wichita Falls — Plum Lake
- Austin — Bullfrog Pond, Travis County East Metro Park
In addition to these lakes, there are numerous community fishing lakes available in urban areas with easy bank fishing access. Information, including locations, about these lakes is available on the TPWD web site.
Shore fishing sites can be found along the bays and the Gulf of Mexico. Some sites have public piers and handicap access, and are set up to accommodate large groups, such as at state parks, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson.
Following is a calendar of major special events coordinated by TPWD during Free Fishing Day on June 7:
- Eisenhower State Park — 4-H Kids Fishing Derby — Come and fish beautiful Lake Texoma with the experts for fun, awards and prizes. This is a great way for families to take kids fishing for free with everything provided, including lots of help from expert anglers. Tackle available or bring your own. Accessible for the mobility impaired. Fishing 8 a.m.-noon, prizes and activities noon-2 p.m. (903) 465-1956.
- Lake Arrowhead State Park — 16th Annual Kids Fish — Kids ages 3-16 years old are welcome to enter contest for prizes. Fishing poles and bait provided as long as supplies last. Prizes, donated by a local business, will be awarded in different age categories. Sign up at Group Dining Hall. 2-4 p.m. (940) 528-2211.
- Lake Arrowhead State Park — Annual Adult Rough Fish Contest — Prizes that have been donated by a local business will be awarded in different categories. Sign up at Group Dining Hall. For ages 17 years and older. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; sign up fee $2 per person (940) 528-2211.
- Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historical Site — Annual Fishing Day — This year’s events are dedicated to Lyndon B. Johnson “Celebrating the Life of a Man & the Land that He Loved” in the 100th year of his birth. Bring the children for a morning filled with fun, fishing and a fantastic fishing clinic held on the banks of the Pedernales River. Fishing equipment and worms provided or bring your own equipment and favorite bait. We hope you get lucky and catch a “BIG ONE” or get drawn for door prizes. This event is co-sponsored with Fredericksburg Wal-Mart and is held in conjunction with the National Free Fishing Day. 10 a.m.-noon (830) 644-2252.
- Purtis Creek State Park — Adam Reilly’s Take a Kid Fishing Day — Fishing is only half the fun! The day will also include a free hot dog lunch, door prizes, fishing clinics, kid fishing tournament, archery and paddle boats. 8 a.m.-noon (903) 425-2332.
- Sea Center Texas — Youth Fishing — Pack your sunscreen, hat, lawn chair and fishing gear for a couple of hours of catch and release fishing at our marine fish hatchery and visitor education center. This event is open to guests 16 years old and younger accompanied by an adult. Anglers must bring their own gear and bait with barb-less hooks-no artificial bait or treble hooks. Volunteers and staff will be on hand to assist first-time anglers. Accessible for the mobility impaired. 8-10 a.m. (979) 292-0100.
- Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center — Free Fishing Day — Celebrate the start of National Fishing Week with a day of free fishing. Fishing contests, door prizes, free hot dogs and drinks. Accessible for the mobility, visually and hearing impaired. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free admission for children 12 and under (903) 676-BASS.