West Virginia officials are gearing up for the state's annual Free Fishing Weekend, June 10-11, during which residents and non-residents may fish in West Virginia for free.
The annual event provides anglers the chance to fish without a license, attracting anglers to the Mountain State and encouraging the sport among in-state residents, says Bret Preston, assistant chief of the Wildlife Resources Section for the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources.
"The weekend attracts anglers from outside the state but also helps encourage but it also makes it easier for folks who don't fish regularly to be reintroduced to the sport.
"Let's say you want to introduce your children fishing but you don't have a license. This makes it much easier on parents who aren't already licensed."
West Virginia’s Free Fishing Weekend is part of National Fishing and Boating Week, which is June 3-11, during which the division participates in several related events, including fishing derbies at Bowden Fish Hatchery and Little Beaver State Park on June 10.
Both give children an opportunity to receive basic fishing instruction and to enjoy time fishing with friends and family. The events are free to attend, but registration is required.
This week the division stocked catchable-size channel catfish in lakes at Babcock, Blackwater, Cacapon, Cedar Creek, Chief Logan, Little Beaver, Moncove, Pipestem, Tomlinson Run and Watoga state parks, and at Berwind and Pettigrew lakes.
“For many years, West Virginia has been proud to sponsor Free Fishing Weekend to encourage people, especially children, to learn a fun outdoor activity that they can enjoy the rest of their lives,” said Bret Preston, assistant chief of the Wildlife Resources Section. “It’s a good way to reconnect with family and nature and to de-stress from life’s challenges.”