Free fishing days established for June 5-7
Published 1:45 pm Thursday, June 4, 2015
If you’ve always wanted to try fishing, now is your chance!
“It’s a good opportunity for folks who don’t fish year round, or who don’t hold a license to go and try it out on the river,” said Riverkeeper Jeff Turner. “It’s a good time of the year to go, too — everything is biting. It’s a great time to catch fish.”
This weekend, June 5-7, is the free fishing weekend in Virginia, and you may fish without spending money on a license and enjoy the great outdoors with your family at any of Virginia’s state fisheries.
No fishing license of any kind will be required for recreational rod and reel fishing during free fishing days, except in designated stocked trout waters. All fishing regulations including size, season, catch limits and gear restrictions, will remain in effect. If you’re fishing in designated stocked trout waters, both a freshwater and trout license will be required.
“We have some of the best rivers, lakes and streams for fishing in the country and we would love it if the non-fishing public would give it a try. It’s fun and rewarding,’’ said Bob Duncan, executive director of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), which manages freshwater fishing. “Early June is a prime time to get out and fish, and a great way to spend some quality family time together.”
Locally, Turner said that if you don’t have a boat, a good place to start is the boardwalk on the Blackwater River in downtown Franklin at Barrett’s Landing Park.
Out in the county, the boat ramp off of Route 258 can also serve as a spot to fish, and at Joyners Bridge, there’s a good fishing hole on the shore.
“Especially Joyners Bridge, that’s a nice place to fish,” he said. “But people can and do fish from the shore off of the 258 boat ramp.”
Turner also wants anyone taking advantage of the river this weekend to be mindful of the environment with any trash you might have.
“If you bring it with you, you can take it with you,” he said. “It is lighter when you leave!”
The freshwater catch regulations can be found at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website, www.HuntFishVA.com. Regulations can also be viewed on a cell phone or other mobile device by downloading the Department’s free Hunting and Fishing App: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/app/. In addition, the Marine Resources Commission’s website, http://mrc.virginia.gov, has extensive information on Virginia’s recreational fishing size, season and creel limits.
VDGIF also has a way to recognize a trophy freshwater catch, called The Virginia Angler Recognition Program. On average, anglers measure up over 6,000 trophy size fish annually. Since 1963, when the program began, over a quarter-million trophy fish awards have been issued.