National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Fishing and Boating Week Events

two white pelecans

At a fishing demonstration on the National Mall, a budding fisherman gets a hand unhooking his catch from a National Wildlife Refuge System staffer. Youth fishing derbies will take place at many wildlife refuges during National Fishing and Boating Week, June 2-10.

Credit: USFWS

What better time to teach a child to fish than National Fishing and Boating Week, celebrated this year June 2-10. Many national wildlife refuges will host youth fishing derbies and learn-to-fish or learn-to-paddle events to mark the week, sponsored by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Equipment and instructions are supplied free at many events. Here are a few examples:

  • National Fishing and Boating Week

Saturday, June 2, 7:30 a.m. to noon — Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, NY
Enjoy a morning of free fishing fun.  Register: On site at 7:30 a.m. at Ringneck Marsh Overlook. Open to kids up to 17 years of age.

  • Family Fishing Activity

Saturday, June 2, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Come out to the Hog Range Pond and learn how to fish. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to loan rods and reels, bait hooks, and help young folks fish. Kids get a free T-shirt, goodie bag, and voucher for a hot dog and drink. This is a non-competitive, catch-and-release event. Register: 410-228-2677.

  • Free Family Fishing Day

Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT
Enjoy free family fun, crafts and games on the day when all of Utah can fish without a license on public waters. Stop at the visitor center for fishing practice and guidance. Then head out to try your luck elsewhere along the river.

  • Free Family Fishing Day

Saturday, June 2, 9 to 11 a.m. — Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Head to Champion Lake and enjoy the day when all of Texas can fish or crab without a license on public waters. Fishing poles and bait are provided. Experienced fishermen can help children bait hooks and learn casting techniques.

  • Free Fishing Day

Saturday, June 2, 8 a.m. to 1 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.

  • Kids Fishing Derby

Saturday, June 9, 8 a.m. to noon — Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, IL
Round up the family and spend the day fishing together on the refuge. The fishing derby is for kids 12 and younger. Free lunch will be provided to participants and their families.

  • Kid’s Fishing Day and Free Fishing Day (Ages 15 and under)

Saturday, June 9, 8:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
Learn how to cast a rod, identify types of fish and enjoy the experience of fishing. All equipment will be provided. Pre-registration is required: 301-497-5887. Youth and adults may fish with their own equipment at the North Tract section of the refuge. No Maryland license required.

  • 5th Annual Fishing Frenzy

Saturday, June 9, 8 a.m. to noon — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Come out and fish. The event is free for ages 3-15. Fishing Derby A is from 9 to 10 a.m. and Fishing Derby B is from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Register: 303-289-3760.

  • Free Fishing Event

Saturday, June 9, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ─ Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, MO
Fish free at the refuge’s two-acre fishing pond near the auto-tour entrance. Fishing equipment and bait will be provided for those without. No license is needed, but rules on the number and size of fish kept still apply. Fishing lessons are available for kids.

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