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Fishing for Free without a License
Unless you’re exempted from fishing with a license (mostly based on age, below 16 and above 65, disability or military service), you are required to have a license to fish in all states except Hawaii. Without a license, you can get in serious trouble with the authorities and may have to pay hefty fines or even in some instances, spend time in jail!
Fortunately, you can take advantage of free fishing days to enjoy angling without necessarily having a license and will never get in trouble with the authorities as long as you observe other fishing regulations such as bag and size limits. In alignment with the National Fishing and Boating Week, most of these free fishing days are typically in June but can be in other months depending on the state.
Free Fishing Days 2020 By State
Alabama: Second Saturday in June. June 13
Arizona: First Saturday in June. June 6
Arkansas: Second Full Weekend in June. June 12-14
California: First Saturday in July. July 4th, September 5th
Colorado: First weekend of June. June 6-7
Connecticut: Free Fishing Day May 9th, Free 1 day license, June 21st and August 8th
Delaware: First weekend of June. June 6-7
Florida: First weekend in April (freshwater fishing days) April 4-5. Second Saturday and Sunday in June (freshwater) June 13-14. First Saturday and Sunday in June (saltwater) June 6-7. First Saturday in September (saltwater) Sept 5th. Saturday following Thanksgiving (saltwater) Nov 28th.
Georgia: September 26th
Hawaii: 365 Days a year (marine)
Idaho: Second Saturday every June. June 13th
Illinois: Father’s Day weekend in June. June 19-22
Indiana: First Sunday in May May 3rd. First weekend in June. June 6-7. Sept 26th
Iowa: First Friday, Saturday and Sunday that land in June. June 5-7
Kansas: First weekend in June. June 6-7
Kentucky: First full weekend in June. June 6-7
Louisiana: Second Saturday and Sunday in June. June 13-14
Maine: Presidents Day Weekend, Feb 15-16, May 30-31
Maryland: First two Saturdays in June. June 6th and 13th. 4th of July.
Massachusetts: First Saturday & Sunday in June (Freshwater). June 6-7. Fathers Day weekend June (Saltwater) June 20-21.
Michigan: Feb 15 & 16 and June 13 & 14.
Minnesota: MN Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend (MN residents 16 and older fish free with children younger than 16) Jan. 18 – 20, 2020. Take a Mom Fishing Weekend (Minnesota resident moms fish free) May 9-10, 2020. Take a Kid Fishing Weekend (Minnesota residents 16 and older fish free with children younger than 16) June 5-7, 2020.
Mississippi: June 6-7 “Mississippi residents can fish without a fishing license (State Fishing Lake and State Park Permits are required to fish in State Fishing Lakes and State Park Lakes on July 4.)” July 4th
Missouri: It is the Saturday and Sunday following the first Monday in June. June 6-7.
Montana: Father’s Day weekend June 20-21
Nebraska: Free Fishing/Free Park Entry day. May 16
Nevada: Second Saturday in June. June 13th
New Hampshire: Third Saturday in January. Jan 18. First Saturday in June. June 6.
New Jersey: June 6 and October 17th.
New Mexico: First Saturday in June, June 6 last Saturday in September, Sept 26th
New York: June 27-28, 2020, September 26, 2020, November 11, February 15-16
North Carolina: Independence Day July 4th
North Dakota: First weekend in June; June 6-7, and last weekend in Dec Dec 26-27.
Ohio: Father’s Day Weekend June 20-21
Oklahoma: First weekend in June. June 6-7
Oregon: President’s Day Weekend Feb 15-16, first Weekend in June, June 6-7, August 15-16, Thanksgiving Weekend, Nov 27-28
Pennsylvania: Sunday before Memorial Day May 24th, Independence Day July 4th
Rhode Island: First Weekend in May. (Freshwater Fishing only) May 2-3
South Carolina: Memorial Day, May 25th, Independence Day, July 4th
South Dakota: Third weekend in May, May 15-17
Tennessee: June 6-12
Texas: First Saturday in June. June 6
Utah: June 6th
Vermont: Fourth Saturday in January, Jan 25th, Second Saturday in June, June 13
Virginia: First full weekend in June. June 5-7
Washington: First weekend after the first Monday in June. June 6-7
West Virginia: Second Saturday and Sunday in June. June 13-14
Wisconsin: Winter Free Fishing weekend – Third weekend in January, Jan 18-19. Summer Free Fishing weekend – First Saturday and Sunday in June, June 6-7
Wyoming: First Saturday in June. June 6
For this list, you may be wondering why Alaska isn’t included. Sorry Alaskans, the state doesn’t offer free fishing days.
The Importance of Participating in Free Fishing Days
Whether you are a novice or an experienced angler with the necessary fishing license, taking advantage of the free fishing days is paramount and here’s why.
You Don’t Need a License
As we noted earlier, fishing without a license can have serious repercussions in most states. Doing so would mean that you’re violating the rules and regulations put in place by the authorities and you may have to pay hefty fines or even in some cases, spend time in jail. Fortunately, free fishing days mean that you don’t have to worry about the licenses.
All you have to do is mark your calendar, set out to any water body in that particular state and catch some good fish. You should, however, keep in mind that free fishing days are not a pass for flouting other fishing regulations such as bag and size limits. In other words, you still have to observe the set fishing rules and regulations even in free fishing days.
Speaking of fishing licenses, it’s practically impossible to have the fishing licenses of all stats. Although the fishing licenses typically cost between $20 and $60 per year depending on the state and whether you’re a resident or a visitor, you can’t have the fishing licenses of each state. So what do you do if you’ve been longing to fish in a given state but do not want to acquire the fishing license of that particular state? It’s very simple; all you have to do is take advantage of the free fishing days of that state. In essence, free fishing days are a great and fabulous way to enjoy fishing in any given state without necessarily acquiring a fishing license of that state but as long as you do it in those specific free fishing days.
Introduce Someone to Fishing
Have you been planning to introduce a friend or a family member to this great sport of fishing? Free fishing days are the best time to do it. Whether it’s your kid, your special somebody or a neighbor that you’re trying to create a rapport with, introducing someone to fishing is probably one of the best things you can do in your life. Well, fishing is meant to be exciting and nothing is more fun than seeing somebody that you’ve just introduced to this thrilling activity hitting a big trophy catch. The sense of satisfaction is immeasurable, to say the least.
As such, free fishing days are the perfect time to introduce someone to angling. This is because you don’t have to persuade them to acquire the licenses. All they have to do is get some fishing gear, hit the waters and probably they will never look back.
Free Fishing Days are great for Reconnecting with Family and Friends
It’s a known fact that hitting the waters together and watching the fish smash the lures is a great way to spend time together with your friends and loved ones. We live at a time when most of us are disconnected from the people we love thanks to the pressures of life, work, and, of course, our busy schedules.
Fortunately, free fishing days offer the perfect opportunity to put everything else on one side and spend some valuable time with friends and family. Whether it’s a long lost friend or a family member living in another state, you can plan and enjoy some quality time together while catching some fish during the free fishing days. Better still, fishing is perfect for people of all ages so why not involve the kiddos too.
Free Fishing Days are a Perfect Way to De-Stress
As we’ve just noted, the pressures and stress of life and work can be overwhelming to most of us. But because boat fishing is ranked among the top three stress-relieving activities in the world, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of free fishing days in bettering your life and helping you deal with the stresses of your normal life.
Being out there on the water will help you forget about all the worries and catching fish will offer you some sort of unparalleled adrenaline and excitement that will make you feel much better. After all, they always say that a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work.
Learn Some New Fishing or Boating Skills
In today’s information and technological world, we can learn virtually anything from the internet. Whether it’s through mobile phones, laptops, tablets or whatever gadget that you use, it’s very easy to learn new boating and fishing skills within the comfort of your home or office. However, this is just the theoretical part of it. To practically implement these newly-acquired skills and information, you can choose to target free fishing days.
You do not have to pay for the licenses, so these days give you a perfect opportunity to go out there on the water and practically implement what you’ve learned. In short, free fishing days offer you a perfect opportunity to absorb additional fishing education. For instance, you’ll physically learn how to tie the knots, how to set a hook when fishing, how to drift fish, and even how to kayak fish.
Find a New Place to Fish
Fishing on the same spot or water body can be monotonous and boring. It’s also in human nature to explore new things and there’s no better way of doing this than taking advantage of free fishing days. You should, therefore, take advantage of free fishing days and explore other areas. For instance, you can try fishing in the neighboring state during the free fishing days. You never know; you could end up finding the best fishing spot ever!
You can Share the Free Fishing Days on Social Media
For the greater good of all anglers and anybody else who would love to try this thrilling adventure, it wouldn’t cost you a thing to share an upcoming free fishing day on your social media account. This can be a great and perfect way to inspire and mentor others to try fishing.
If you weren’t aware, the National Fishing and Boating Week will be happening in a few months. Most states do offer free fishing days during this week but they may also appear in other months depending on the state. So why not take advantage of the free fishing days and enjoy fishing without a license. This is, in fact, the best time to introduce a friend or a loved one to fishing. Better still, you can reconnect with your friends and family while catching some fish!