FRANKFORT, Ky. - Each year, the celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week includes Free Fishing Weekend. Anglers may fish in Kentucky June 5-6 without a fishing license or a trout permit. All fishing regulations such as minimum size limits and daily creel limits remain in effect during Free Fishing Weekend.
This year, National Fishing and Boating Week runs June 5-13. The celebrations aim to bring new people into fishing, boating and other water-related recreation.
"We also want to stress that getting outside and enjoying fishing is a healthy activity for kids," said Marc Johnson, aquatic education coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "It gets them off the couch."
Kids ages 15 and under may fish without a license or permit year-round. The Free Fishing Weekend allows their parents or family visiting from out of state to join them for free.
The week starts early as the department hosts its annual Fishing Derby for youth ages 15 and under on Friday, June 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. The derby continues at 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday, June 5, at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Headquarters off U.S. 60 in Frankfort. The Upper and Lower Sportsman's Lakes will be closed to adult anglers during the fishing derby.
"They will stock 1,200 catfish and 1,000 sunfish up to 1/2 pound in the lake," Johnson said. "After the kids are done June 5, the public is welcome to fish the lakes after 10 a.m."
Prizes will be awarded by random drawing throughout the event. "We try and make sure everyone walks away with something," Johnson said.
The event is free, but participants must register at the lake to be eligible for prizes. Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing equipment and preferred baits or lures. A limited amount of fishing equipment and bait will be provided for those who need it. Participants do not have to re-register on Saturday if they want to fish both days.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife stocks 29 lakes with good-sized fish as part of its Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program. These lakes are all located near cities.
"All FINs lakes have recently been stocked or will be stocked prior to the Free Fishing Weekend," said Dane Balsman, urban fisheries biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
For those who live in the Louisville area and in northern Kentucky, six lakes will be stocked this week to provide good fishing for Free Fishing Weekend. Tom Wallace Lake in the Jefferson Memorial Forest and Waverly Park Lake will each receive 1,000 catfish and 1,000 sunfish. Miles Park Lake #4 will receive 600 catfish and 600 sunfish.
Middleton-Mills Lake in Covington will receive 200 catfish and 200 sunfish while Stein Community Lake in Alexandria will receive 1,200 catfish and 1,200 sunfish.
Daily limits for most FINs lakes include five rainbow trout, four catfish, one largemouth bass and 15 bluegill. Anglers cannot exceed these limits during Free Fishing Weekend.
For more information about the FINs program, including directions to lakes, go online to fw.ky.gov/urbanfishing.asp.
Finally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host its 24th Annual Catch a Rainbow Fishing Derby on June 5 at the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, located just below Wolf Creek Dam on Lake Cumberland. The free event is for kids 15 years old and younger. Registration for the free fishing derby begins at 9 a.m. Central time. Participants must bring their own fishing tackle.
For more information about this event, go online to www.catcharainbow.org.
"There are many fishing events during Free Fishing Weekend, sponsored by the parks and recreation departments of towns all over Kentucky," Johnson said. "Check with your local parks department to see where fishing events are held."
Complete fishing regulations can be found in the 2010-11 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide, available online at fw.ky.gov and wherever fishing licenses are sold.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. For more information on the department, visit our web site at fw.ky.gov.