National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Fishing and Boating Week

Tom Reed, refuge specialist at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge in Montana, helps a proud youngster take a catfish off his line during a fishing event on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Many refuges will host youth fishing derbies for National Fishing and Boating Week in June.
A fisherman celebrates his catch at Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. Many refuges around the country will host free fishing derbies and teach-your-child-to-fish events in June.
Credit: Steve Hillebrand

Many refuges will host public events on or around the week of June 4 to mark this annual celebration of fishing and boating, sponsored by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Some examples:

  • Free Family Fishing Day 

Saturday, June 4, 9 to 11 a.m. — Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Fish free at the refuge’s Champion Lake Public Use Area. This is the only day that anyone can fish or crab without a license on public waters in Texas. Fishing poles and bait are available. Experienced fishermen will help children bait hooks. Learn about Trinity River Refuge.

  • Free Fishing Day

Saturday, June 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Have fun learning knot tying, casting and fishing rules and regulations before fishing the San Antonio Bay. Staff will be available to help. Equipment will be provided as available. Bait and food vendors will be on site. Learn about Aransas Refuge.

  • Free Fishing Days    

Saturday, June 4 and Saturday, June 11, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. — Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Fish free both days at Bogles Wharf and Ingleside at Eastern Neck Refuge and other locations in Maryland. No fishing license is required on either day. Learn about Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Youth Fishing Derby

Saturday, June 11, 9 a.m. to noon — Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Have fun learning to fish at Headquarters Pond. Ages 5 to 15. Loaner rods and reels will be available, along with bait and food. Staff will be on hand to help. Learn about Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Youth Fishing Derby and Casting Competition

Saturday, June 4, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge, GA
Show off your fishing skills! Have fun in a fishing derby for children ages 3 –15 and a Reel Kids casting contest. Attend a knot-tying demonstration and discover which knots are best for different test lines. Find out how folks “grunt worms” for bait. Bring a plain t-shirt and get free fish art to wear home. Free refreshments will be available. Learn about Banks Lake Refuge.

  • Youth Fishing Derby

Saturday, June 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Enjoy this annual freshwater fishing event for children 15 and under. Photos, prizes and fun will take place at Hog Range Pond. Learn about Blackwater Refuge.

A flashy red, the scarlet tanager likes to hide in the forest where its color is less conspicuous.

A youngster learns the joys of fishing on a national wildlife refuge.

Credit: Steve Hillebrand
  • Kids Fishing Derby

Saturday, June 4 — Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, VT
Pre-registration required. To register, call 802-868-4781. Learn about Missisquoi Refuge.

  • Youth Fishing Derby

Saturday, June 4, 7:30 a.m. to noon — Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, NY
The refuge’s 20th annual youth fishing derby, open to young anglers up to 17 years old, will take place at Ringneck Marsh. An awards ceremony and door prize drawing will follow. Learn about Iroquois Refuge.

  • Family Fishing Day

Saturday, June 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, WI
Take advantage of Wisconsin’s free fishing days June 4 and 5. Free demonstrations, equipment loans and give-aways. Peachy Road Fishing Access. Learn about Horicon Refuge.

  • Youth Fishing Day

Saturday, June 4 — Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI
Take a kid fishing and learn all about the sport. The free event at Harvey’s Pond includes educational programs, activities, games and derbies. Learn about Necedah Refuge.

  • Youth Fishing Derby           

Saturday, June 11— Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD
More details will be available soon. Learn about Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Fishing & Crabbing Rodeo

Saturday, June 11, 9 a.m. to noon — Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Enjoy the once-a-year opening of the refuge’s North Pond for fishing and crabbing. Learn about Pea Island Refuge.

  • Kids’ Free Fishing Day

Saturday, June 11, 8 to 10 a.m. — Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, MI
This fishing contest is for children ages 3 to 15. Bring your own fishing pole and gear to catch (and release) fish from around Ojibway Island, including the Saginaw River.  Prizes will be awarded. A limited amount of free bait (worms) will be available.
Learn about Shiawassee Refuge.

  • Free Fishing Derby

Saturday, June 11, 9:30 a.m. to noon — Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, MO
Fish in a stocked two-acre fishing pond near the auto tour entrance. No permits or licenses are needed. Regulations on the size and number of fish you can keep still apply. Enjoy a fly fishing demonstration, a teach-your-child-to-fish program and prizes. Equipment and bait are available as supplies allow. Learn about Squaw Creek Refuge.

  • Youth Fishing Derby

Saturday, June 11—Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, ME
Enjoy the refuge’s 11th fishing derby for people under the ages of 16.  Local businesses donate food, fishing poles, bait, prizes and fishing gear; the refuge buys brook trout from a local hatchery.  Learn about Aroostook Refuge.

  • Children’s Fishing Day

Saturday, June 18, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Seney National Wildlife Refuge, MI
Catch the excitement! Youngsters can fish and compete for prizes. Some fishing poles are available for loan. Shore fishing is allowed in designated pools. Lead sinkers are not allowed. Family games and activities begin at noon. A complimentary fish dinner will be served to all participants and their families at 3 p.m., followed by an awards ceremony. Learn about Seney Refuge.


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