An annual tradition, Free Fishing Days furnishes many citizens and visitors with an opportunity to enjoy the popular outdoor activity. Free Fishing Days are part of the National Fishing Week celebration. Mark Oliver, chief of fisheries for the AGFC, said the annual event is a lot of fun for employees as well as the public. "We want to encourage Arkansas people as well as visitors who come to our state, who may not be fishermen, to give it a try. We especially encourage parents to go fishing with their kids. Young people under 16 don't need a fishing license anyway, and if their moms and dads will go along, it can make a family outing that they'll all enjoy," Oliver explained.
How do you get into fishing? Oliver suggested that beginners make a stop at a sporting goods outlet, a boat dock or one of the AGFC regional offices for pointers on the basics of fishing in Arkansas. Open houses and fishing derbies for youngsters are planned at five state fish hatcheries in Arkansas June 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information on the derbies, phone the AGFC Fisheries Division office at 501-223-6371. For other fishing derbies around the state, click on Fishing Derbies.
Youngsters 12 and under will be allowed to fish with the supervision of an adult. Children may catch and keep up to three catfish (or three trout at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery). The derbies will feature casting contests and prizes.
Derbies will be at:
*Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery, Hot Springs, 877-525-8606.
*Charlie Craig State Fish Hatchery, Centerton, 877-795-2470.
*William Donham State Fish Hatchery, Corning, 877-857-3876.
*Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery, Lonoke, 877-676-6963.