The price of a fishing license in some U.S. states is approaching $50. Fishing can net you some free food and makes an enjoyable family outing, but by the time you buy the gear and get a license, that free fish can get rather expensive. Luckily, all U.S. states offer a least one free fishing day each year, a day where you can fish your state’s lakes and waterways without having to buy that costly license. Fishing is as American as baseball and apple pie. Find out when your state is hosting free fishing days; take the day off work; pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day out on the lake, river or stream without paying a dime. You might even hook yourself a tasty perch, bass or trout dinner.
Where and When You Can Fish for Free
Every U.S. state offers free fishing days, according to TakeMeFishing.org. Most of these days are over one weekend in May or June, but some states, such as California and Florida offer both spring and fall free fishing days. Hawaii is especially generous and allows marine fishing without a license 365 days a year.
Free fishing days mean you can fish for Lake Erie perch and walleye in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania; angle for striped bass in North and South Carolina; and test your skills with rainbow trout in the mountain streams of Colorado. You might even snag a 17-pound Frankenfish (also known as a snakehead), like two lucky Virginia fishermen did recently in the Potomac River. (2) In fact, the weekend of June 7-9 was that time for fishermen in the Old Dominion to get a Virginia boaters license and head out to that state’s rivers and lakes for free.
Although most of the free fishing days have past for 2013, you can still fish for striped bass, catfish and perch for free in North Carolina on July 4th and try your luck July 6 and September 7 catching black bass and sturgeon on one of California’s 200 inland fishing lakes.
Fishing in the United States
More than 50 million Americans are fishing enthusiasts, according to Outdoor Adventure Network. (3) That’s one out of every six Americans age 16 and older. Most American fishermen prefer freshwater venues and spend an average of 18 days with a fishing pole in their hands each year. Although fishing is popular in all 50 states, residents of South Carolina, Idaho and North Dakota are particularly avid fishing fans. And don’t forget, one-third of all fishing enthusiasts are women.
Fish Stories Around the 50 states
If you thought the Frankenfish story from Virginia this spring was a fluke, think again. YouTube and Flickr are filled with videos and images of fish that require more than one person to hold. For example, already this season (during a free fishing time) a Texas man snagged a record-breaking 12.54-pound bass and a Castro Valley, California fisherman landed a 45-pound, 59-inch-long sturgeon.