Fun and FREE Fishing Events Near You!

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Ready to get out and do something fun? The Fish and Aquatic Conservation program has a ton of fishing and fishing related events that we’re so excited to share with you.BUT it’s hard to list them all so we’re giving you a sample of just a few of our amazing events from around the country.

We host or help with events held at ponds, creeks, rivers, and lakes. Events that take place at national fish hatcheries, wildlife refuges, or city parks. Events that are veteran or senior focused, fly-fishing workshops, kids fishing derbies, summer camps, and if you love winter, there are also some ice fishing and cross-country skiing events later in the year, brrrr. Here is a list of just a few of the fun fishing events or activities we’re offering this year. Remember to check our event site often for more events and updates.

2023 National Fishing and Boating Week Events

Youth fishing derby hosted by the White Mountain Apache Tribe Game and Fish.

June 3 - 35th Annual Catch a Rainbow Kids Fishing Derby

The Catch A Rainbow kids fishing derby is a FREE event at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery for kids up to age 15.

Kids fish Hatchery Creek during time slots for their age group and are awarded prizes for largest fish as well as door prizes. June 3Everyone enjoys free hotdogs, snow cones, and drinks. There are other activities available while waiting to fish, such as: archery, face painting, visiting with our trout mascot, and casting competitions. 

June 3 - White Mountain Apache Tribe Bog Tank Kids Fishing Derby

This youth fishing derby is hosted by the White Mountain Apache Tribe Game and Fish Department. The derby hosted over 550 kids last year who had the opportunity to fish for rainbow trout and win prizes! Trout are provided by the Alchesay-Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery Complex.

June 3 - Kids Fishing Rodeo

Have fun at the
Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery Kids Fishing Rodeo! Open to youth 16 and under. Event will take place rain or shine. Must bring own fishing gear and bait. Prizes given away. Georgia sport fishing regulations apply.

  • Location: Suches, Georgia
  • When: June 3
  • More Information: Call the hatchery at 706-838-4723 or contact us on our Facebook page.

June 3 - Northeast Fishery Center's Annual Catch and Release Fishing Event

The Northeast Fishery Center is hosting their annual Catch and Release fishing event on June 3 at 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM. All experience levels are welcome and fishing instruction will be provided. We will also offer a hands-on craft activity for the kids, and an informative demonstration of techniques professional fish biologists use to survey for fish. Bait and tackle will be provided.Artificial lures and minnows are prohibited. Fishing rods are available if needed

Usually held on the second Saturday in June, the free kids fishing day event at Winthrop National Fish Hatchery is a popular and exciting experience for children under age 14.

June 3 - Pathways to Fishing

If you happen to be in the area of Leadville, Colorado, check out the Leadville National Fish Hatchery and all it has to offer. During their Pathways to Fishing event, they will be teaching casting, knots, aquatic macro invertebrates, water safety, Leave no Trace, and MORE!

June 9 - National Fishing and Boating Week Fishing Event

Uvalde National Fish Hatcheryhas many upcoming events starting June 9. There’s a Kid Fish Event in July and a Labor Day Weekend Fishing Event in September. Plenty of opportunities to cast a line and have some fun.

June 10 - Winthrop Kids Fishing Day – the Methow Valley National Fishing and Boating Week Celebration

This popular event takes place on the second Saturday in June from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at
Winthrop National Fish Hatchery. Everyone is welcome! Activity booths will be scattered around the site. Check out live macroinvertebrates (what are they??), have a look at how humans imitate beavers, practice your water conservation skills, play with a stream model, and more! Collect stamps for each activity in your own "passport." Once you've collected enough stamps, children under age 14 can use one of our fishing rods (or bring your own!) to angle for trout. Volunteers and staff are ready to assist. We'll clean your catch for you, too

Free Fishing Events in July

July 15 - Youth Outdoor Fest 2023

The Midwest Fisheries Center and numerous partners will host the 13th Annual Youth Outdoor Fest. The event is free, equipment will be provided, and children will receive many hands-on experiences for the whole family. Kids have the opportunity to go fishing, shoot a bow/BB gun, paddle a canoe/kayak or paddleboard, cast a fly rod, learn how to identify furs, fish and birds, play games and much more, all in one day. Exhibitors and experts will be on hand.

  • Location: La Crosse, Wisconsin  
  • When: July 15
  • More Information

July 31 - Aug 4th - Fish Camp Week

For two fun-filled hours a day, Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery’s Fish Camp will be providing informative lessons about fish and monarch butterflies and other partners will be there too. Groups like Knife River Indian Village and North Country Trail will also be providing great information and activities.

  • Location: Riverdale, North Dakota
  • When: July 31-Aug 4th, Monday – Friday
  • More Information

Free Fishing Events in October

Return of the Salmon Festival

A one-day event featuring exhibits and booths with information and activities for all ages! A special treat while having a fun day at Coleman National Fish Hatchery, you can see the full spawning and egg collecting process.

A happy veteran shows off his catch while wearing his derby t-shirt at our annual Veteran's fishing derby event in May of 2022.

Free Fishing Events in 2024*

Kids Fishing Day at Tunnel Pond

This event is for youth anglers 13 and under and family members. Kids 13 and under can fish without a permit but all anglers are welcome to take advantage of a great day of fishing (A permit for the pond is almost free at $5 per adult for single day use.) This is a co-sponsored event between
Dworshak Fisheries Complex and the Nez Perce Tribe.

May - Veteran's Derby

Neosho National Fish Hatchery hosts an Annual Veterans and Active-Duty Fishing Day. Proof of service is required. Opening ceremonies are at 9:00 AM and fishing runs until noon. Fishing tackle and bait are provided. Please do not bring any of your own gear to help us prevent contamination.

No tag or license are required, there is a four trout limit, and no catch and release allowed. Volunteers will be on hand to clean and pack your fish on ice. Don’t forget to bring a cooler to take your catch home. To finish off the event, a hot dog lunch is provided. 

May - White Sulphur Springs Rotary Kids Fishing Derby

Want to take home your own rainbow home, as in rainbow trout? Visit the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery and have fun at their community-wide fishing event. The event is for kids aged 14 and under and no live bait please.

*For past events, check back early next year for updated information.

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