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Want to try your hand at fishing, but don’t have a license? We have good news! For National Fishing and Boating Week — which is June 2 to 10 this year — most states offer free fishing days. On those days, you’re allowed to fish in public bodies of water without a fishing license.
It’s the perfect opportunity for anyone who wants to try fishing for the first time — or even for experienced anglers who simply don’t have a license. It’s also a great chance for anyone with a license to bring a friend or family member along to show them how to enjoy this classic, relaxing pastime.
The nation’s free fishing days don’t all line up with National Fishing and Boating Week this year, but most are in June. Others are spread out throughout the year, giving everyone a chance to get out on the water for a good time. It also means that if you’re traveling somewhere, you could still fish outside of your home state on a free fishing day without having to get a local license.
To find out where you can go on the free fishing days, check out TakeMeFishing.org, the website of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, to search for locations and to find information about what type of fish you might catch. If you find out fishing is for you after taking advantage of the free days, the website also has a place to purchase a license in your state.
The RBFF recommends contacting your state fish and wildlife agency for specific regulations, as certain restrictions may apply when it comes to free fishing days. Listed below is when you can fish for free in almost every state in 2018. Unfortunately, if you live in Alaska, you’re out of luck — but all other states have at least one free day.
- May 12 (also June 12 and Aug. 11 if you get a free one-day license)
District Of Columbia
- April 7-8 (Freshwater)
- June 2-3 (Saltwater)
- June 9-10 (Freshwater)
- Sept. 1 (Saltwater)
- Nov. 24 (Saltwater)
- 365 days a year (marine)
- May 12-13: Minnesota residents who are moms can fish for free
- June 8-10: Minnesota residents 16 and older can fish for free with children younger than 16
- Fishing in state parks is always free for Minnesota residents when:
- the body of water does not require a trout stamp
- fishing from shore or wading in water within the state park
- fishing through the ice, from a boat or a float on a designated lake that is completely encompassed within a Minnesota state park