Free Fishing Weekend Great Time to “Take A Kid Fishing”

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"Take A Kid Fishing"MADISON – It’s the perfect break from spring yard work and better yet, it’s free.

“Fishing is free in Wisconsin on June 7 and 8 and there’s no better time nor place to take yourself, your kids, your friends or just yourself out on the water to cast a few,” says Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matthew Frank.

Residents and non-residents of all ages can fish without a fishing license or trout or salmon stamps during that weekend. All the waters of the state are open, including state waters of the Great Lakes and rivers bordering Wisconsin. All other regulations such as length and bag limits do apply.

People can enjoy one of the many fishing clinics scheduled during Free Fishing Weekend to get started in the sport. Many of those events provide people with fishing equipment to use; the DNR’s tackle loaner program also lets people borrow fishing gear to use from more than 50 different locations around the state.

For those who have their own gear to share with a novice angler, DNR Aquatic Educator Theresa Stabo provides her top ten list for maximizing the fun. While originally developed with kids in mind, these 10 tips work well with first-timers of all ages.
Simple gear and tackleLocation, location, location
Check out our list of good places to take first-timers fishing. Many of them offer opportunities to fish from shore, they feature restrooms and other facilities, and the waters boast lots of hungry fish for faster fishing action.

Simple gear
Cane poles and closed-face reels are good choices. Barbless hooks make it easier to release fish and avoid injuries to fish and angler alike.

A small box can hold a few small hooks, a couple of bobbers and a few sinkers. That’s all they need to get started.

Worms are good to use. Encourage, but don’t force them, to bait their own hooks. Let them practice with plastic worms; eventually, they’ll get used to the idea of doing it themselves.

Keep the focus here, especially with children. If the fish aren’t biting, don’t keep them chained to their fishing poles or held hostage in a boat. On shore, let them set the poles down and take a break. If you’re fishing from a boat and it’s hot, reel in, and go for a swim, assuring that kids’ life preservers are on securely.

Keep the outing short, accept that they may not keep quiet and they probably will get a few tangles.

Check for swift or deep water, dams and uneven footing along banks and avoid them. If you’re on a boat, make sure kids are wearing a life jacket and that adults have it on or within easy reach.

Pack a cooler with sandwiches, some cookies, and water.

The two Cs:
camera and cell phone. The camera is to record those memorable moments, the cell phone for safety.

Role model
Use good bait and fish handling behavior that will help protect our resources from disease. Remember to drain all water from your boat and equipment, don’t move live fish between waters and report sick fish to the DNR.

More information and tips on how to take someone fishing – and assure a successful trip so they’ll want to go out a second and third time — can be found online.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Theresa Stabo (608) 266-2272; Rachel Piacenza (608) 261-6431