Gone Fishin’: Free Fishing Day celebrated Saturday | SierraSun.com

Gone Fishin’: Free Fishing Day celebrated Saturday

Fishing is a huge sport in this country. This is certainly no exception in our local area. Just ask any store that carries fishing supplies.

This coming Saturday, June 9, is the first Free Fishing Day of the Year in both California and our neighboring Nevada.

The California Department of Fish and Game started this program a number of years ago to try and stimulate people into trying the sport for the first time. License sales were down and they were the main source of funding for the Department. It is an archaic way to fund a Department and the result has been a struggling organization.

So what does fishing free mean? During the Free Fishing Day, the state waives the normal requirement for anyone 16 years and older to possess a license. All other restrictions such as method of take, bag limits and special regulations all apply. They will still cite you for not complying with any of these other laws. Only a license itself is not necessary on Saturday.

While there are none planned locally, many free fishing day activities are planned in the rest of the state by the DFG and many sporting and angling associations. The Department conducts events from separate regional headquarters that operate independent activities. Call (916) 358-1644 for more information about the Sacramento area events; (415) 892-0460 for the San Francisco Bay Area; and (562) 342-7151 for Los Angeles.

For those that already have licenses it is a great time for you to take friends or family on a fishing outing. Fishing with friends is always a very rewarding experience.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to fish with one of my best “fishing buddies.” We had a terrific day on the water. The weather was great, the fishing was good, and the company terrific. We fished out of float tubes in a lake and had to brace against a light to moderate wind in the afternoon. Though there were a fair number of blood midges and mayflies on the water, the fish were not eating them in any regular pattern. For that reason we fished subsurface imitations and did quite well.

It is always fun when I am out on the water with friends. Why not try that this Saturday with some of your non-angling friends? I am sure that getting a friend started in fishing will pay huge dividends down the road. You may be creating a fishing partner for life!

I began fishing with the friend I was with this past weekend in 1984 when he was breaking into fly fishing. The rest is, as they say, “history.” We have forged a great friendship around the sport of fishing. I have a number that I consider friends in this category.

For any time other than the Free Fishing Days, anglers must possess a valid 2001 sport fishing license, priced this year for California residents at $29.40. A non-resident annual license is $79.00. Short-term licenses are also available for residents and non-residents. If you are an angler who has taken up fishing as a serious pursuit, or know one, you may even purchase a lifetime license. The prices for these vary according to your age. Consult your Sports Fishing Regulation Book if you are interested in pursuing this as an option.

A fishing license is a great investment when you consider the cost of a day of skiing or round of golf. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for its popularity. This year take someone fishing and begin grooming another “fishing buddy.” You will be glad you did!

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