Saturday, June 11 is Free Fishing Day in Idaho. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) invites novice anglers of all ages (residents and nonresidents alike) to celebrate the day by fishing any public waters in Idaho without a license. Although fishing license requirements are suspended for this special day, all other rules remain in effect. These include such rules as bag and length limits or special fishing equipment regulations. Regulations brochures are available free at local sporting goods stores.
Free fishing day provides a great opportunity for novices to give fishing a try and perhaps develop a life-long pursuit. Parents are encouraged to bring their children out for a day of fun and excitement at this annual celebration of Idaho's fishing heritage..
To help beginning anglers, the IDFG is sponsoring a number of fishing events throughout the state, including the Panhandle. Fish and Game personnel will be on hand to answer questions and help beginning anglers learn about terminal tackle, casting and fishing techniques, and fish identification. Some fishing tackle and bait will be available for persons who don't have their own gear.
Ten events have been scheduled in the Idaho Panhandle, convenient to most people in the region. While they are oriented toward beginning anglers, all anglers are welcomed to attend.
One early bird opportunity is scheduled in Coeur d'Alene at Ponderosa Springs Golf Course from 7-11 a.m. The owners have generously agreed to close the course for that period for sixteen straight years, so youngsters will have a chance to catch their first fish.
Other events have been scheduled for 9am until noon at the Lucky Friday Pond at Mullan, Round Lake State Park south of Sandpoint (near Sagle), the Clark Fork Lodge Pond, the Steamboat Pond on the Coeur d'Alene River near Enaville, the Upper Meadow Calder Pond at Calder, Rathdrum City Park near Rathdrum (water levels permitting), Snow Creek Pond near Bonners Ferry, Post Falls Park Pond in Post Falls, and the Priest Lake Golf Course.
As we would like to see everyone catch fish, rainbow trout are being stocked in each location for the clinics and should provide for good fishing. Limited equipment will be available for use; however, anyone with tackle of their own is encouraged to bring it along. In past years some folks have had to wait for others to finish fishing so they could use the limited equipment.
You are invited to come anytime during the clinics. Fish and Game staff, Reservists and volunteers along with personnel from other agencies and sportsman groups will be on hand to provide instruction and assistance as needed or requested. Black Sheep Sporting Goods has again donated some equipment for new anglers attending the clinics.
Nationwide, the number of anglers is increasing. However, the percentage of the population that fishes is decreasing. This is attributed to a number of factors including a decrease of
leisure time, parents with little time to fish or limited knowledge of fishing, urbanization, complicated regulations, and loss of "fishing holes" to development.
When a lack of money for licenses or equipment; lack of knowledge, experience or a place to go are part of the reason for not fishing, Free Fishing Day is the ticket to a day of outdoor fun. The Fish and Game sponsored events will help new anglers learn fishing skills& with all of the necessary tackle provided. Each year hundreds of Idahoans and visitors attend the festivities and thousands turn out statewide to fish without a license...legally!
It is important to note that all regulations other than license requirements still apply on June 11. Everyone fishing in the state must stay within regular limits on number and size of fish and may only fish in waters open on June 11.
Some neighboring states have free fishing for two consecutive days, however, Idaho's Free Fishing Day is just one day.
Give fishing a try on this special day. All it will cost is the gas or pedal power to get to an Idaho lake or stream. You may find you become "hooked for life" on Idaho fishing!