Following a year with record participation in fishing, there’s a movement underway to get even more people casting bait and lures underwater. National Fishing and Boating Week takes place the first full week of June—beginning on June 4 and ending on June 12—bringing together anglers of all walks; and Free Fishing Days begin on a state-by-state basis nationwide, encouraging newcomers to try their hand at one of the country’s largest and fastest growing recreational pastimes. Both are designed to raise awareness about sustainable fishing and preserving the nation’s recreational waters.
Founded by former President George W. Bush in 2002 and organized by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), National Fishing and Boating Week is designed to help professional anglers connect with beginners to grow the sport through various recreational activities. In doing so, it also raises funds used to protect national waterways and support local fisheries. Additionally, the week helps promote a series of Free Fishing Days throughout the country, during which participants can fish without licenses. Both bring communities and people of all ages and backgrounds together to promote fishing as a healthy lifestyle activity and raise funds for marine conservation.
Public Lands Concierge Bob Johnson can’t speak highly enough of the outstanding opportunity presented by the Free Fishing Days. “They’re invaluable as a recreational and educational tool, as well as a means for anglers of all ages to find peace and beauty on the water—and they can lead to a life of carefree angling days,” says Johnson, who teaches an Introduction to Fly Fishing clinic out of Public Lands’ Polaris, Ohio store. “They also have programs, assisted by local fishermen and clubs, where newbies to the sport can receive some pretty darned good lessons for free.”
Ways To Celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week
- Participate in local fishing events: During this week, local fish hatcheries organize special events for families such as fishing derbies. Participate in groups or go solo for the betterment of local waterways and fisheries.
- Go boating: Whether you want to catch fish or simply rack up some float time, head out on a boat of any sort to take a break and enjoy your local waterway. (Don’t forget to wear your life jacket.)
- Catch and cook: Where regulations allow, go ahead and fry up your catch. There's no better feeling than cooking a freshly caught fish (hint: discard the innards and scrape off the scales if applicable), baking it in an oven, frying it up in a pan, or throwing it on the grill.
- Keep on casting: Busy June 4-12? Mark June 18 on the calendar. It’s observed as National Go Fishing Day. The fish-day festival is a great time to find a stream, lake or pond and cast your line.