DNR Celebrates New Anglers’ First Catch Through My First Fish Certificates

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Maryland Offers Free Fishing Days on June 14 & July 4

My First Fish!ANNAPOLIS, MD —  The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages first time anglers and children to commemorate their first catch through DNR’s My First Fish certificate program.

“Every child should have the opportunity to explore Maryland’s natural resources through fishing. Some of my earliest childhood memories are fishing with my dad and grandfather, “said Tom O’Connell, Maryland Fisheries Service Director. “I’ll never forget the look on my son and daughters faces when they caught their first fish. We hope that parents and mentors will commemorate their children’s first catch by taking advantage of our My First Fish program.”

First-time anglers of all ages may receive a free My First Fish certificate noting their name, species caught, length, catch date and fishing buddy upon completing an online form or visiting an official Maryland Sport Fishing Citation Center. If a digital photograph is taken and included with the entry form, the photo will be included on the certificate.

To encourage new people to try out the sport, Maryland designated June 14 and July 4 as free fishing days, where anglers may fish in public waters without the normally required annual fishing license.

Both first-time and experienced anglers may also join the hunt for Diamond Jim through the 2008 Maryland Fishing Challenge this summer. Any angler who catches a citation award qualifying fish will be eligible to win one of the several grand prizes including, including a 2008 Toyota Tundra 4×4 pickup truck from Central Atlantic Toyota, a boat and trailer from Bass Pro Shops and $5,000 in fishing gear from Bill’s Outdoor Center. More than 60 species of fish are eligible for the grand prizes in the summer-long contest that runs through September 1.

To help ensure that all Maryland children have an opportunity to experience and connect with nature, Governor O’Malley recently signed an Executive Order establishing the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature. This coalition of state, local, private and non-profit partners is charged with promoting the well-being of youth by accelerating environmental learning, connecting communities to parks and public lands and expanding opportunities for structured and unstructured outdoor time in nature for both play and learning.

To access the online My First Fish form and a list of local citation centers visit www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/recreational/tournament/firstfish.html.

For more information about Maryland’s free fishing days, visit www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/freefishing.html.

For more information on the 2008 Maryland Fishing Challenge, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/fishingchallenge.