Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Free Fishing Day offers fun for the whole family

by CONNOR LIESS Contributing Writer
| June 7, 2022 1:00 AM

On June 11, anyone can get out and enjoy a day of fishing without a fishing license, but all other rules still apply.

Free Fishing Day is an Idaho tradition that includes Fish and Game employees and volunteers bringing fishing gear to various fishing spots and loaning rods, reels and tackle and helping people learn to fish. The day offers novice anglers a great opportunity to experience some of the wonderful fishing opportunities Idaho has to offer and learn a fun and inexpensive sport that all ages can enjoy.

And just a reminder, kids 13-years old and younger do not need a fishing license in Idaho, so fishing is an inexpensive summer activity. Catchable-sized trout ranging from about 10 to 13 inches are regularly stocked statewide and in many easily accessible fishing spots, including community ponds, local reservoirs and nearby lakes.

“In the month leading up to Free Fishing Day, Fish and Game hatcheries stocked about 450,000 catchable rainbow trout throughout the state,” Fish and Game Hatchery Manager Bryan Grant said.

Every region in the state plans to host a few Free Fishing Day events on June 11.

In the Panhandle, Free Fishing Day sites include:

Post Falls Park Pond

WaterLife Discovery Center in Sagle

Ponderosa Springs Golf Course Pond

• Rathdrum Park Pond

Make your own adventures for Free Fishing Day and beyond

If you’re new to fishing, or just new to fishing in Idaho, the state has hundreds of places to fish, and you can catch a variety of species ranging from bluegill to sturgeon. Check out Fish and Game’s Fishing Planner webpage to search for nearby fishing spots, the types of fish in those bodies of water and a list of when those places were last stocked.

Speaking of fishing stocking, Fish and Game stocks about 30 million fish annually for anglers, which includes millions of trout that are immediately available to catch.

Gearin’ up for June 11

If you don’t have fishing gear, it’s fairly inexpensive to get started. A simple rod and reel combo goes for about $25. All you need to for tackle is a few hooks, weights, bobbers and bait. It’s tough to beat live worms for bait – nearly all fish will eat them – but if you don’t want to deal with squirming live worms, there are many other options, including marshmallows, Powerbait, dough bait, imitation fish eggs and a plethora of other things.

If you’re unsure how to rig a rod for fishing, Fish and Game provides simple instructions on its Learn to Fish webpage.

For information about bag limits and other rules, see the 2022 Idaho Fishing Seasons and Rules booklet, which is available in a printed booklet at Fish and Game offices and many license vendors and sporting goods stores.

Fishing can be a fun time for the whole family, too, and easy for kids to learn. Remember when taking young kids out to make sure they wear lifejackets and bring lots of snacks, a hat and sunscreen. Be patient with kids and enjoy your time outdoors with them, even if the kids decide they’d rather explore nature or do something other than fishing. For more information (and helpful tips) when fishing with kids, check out this list of the Top 10 tips when to take kids fishing.

  1. Catching is key
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Fun times ahead
  5. Be patient
  6. Snack breaks
  7. Remember the essentials
  8. Never waste teaching moments
  9. Keep a few
  10. Leave it better than you found it

Connor Liess is a public information specialist for Idaho Department of Fish & Game.


(Illustration courtesy IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH & GAME)

A map shows the four Free Fishing Day locations in the Panhandle region of the Idaho Department of Fish & Game — the Post Falls Park Pond, the WaterLife Discovery Center in Sagle, the Ponderosa Springs Golf Course Pond, and Rathdrum Park Pond.