Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Free Fishing Spots

Backroads Information:  Free Fishing Spots

There are lots of places and times where you can fish without a fishing license.  Now, fishing licenses are great for providing monies to protect and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.  So I am a proponent of buying a license, but understand sometimes that is not financially feasible.  If you can afford it buy a license, do so.  But if not here are some tips on finding places that do not require a state resident fishing license.

There are several types of free fishing places, as well as others with lower cost or places where a resident license is not required.

The first is private lakes and property.  Many states do not require a license IF the fishing is on private property.  I have stayed at several places where camping or lodging included the fishing.

The state of Texas took it one step further.  If you camp inside a Texas State Park you do not need a license to fish within park boundaries.  Here is the link on this wonderful program:  Texas Parks Fishing.  Sounds like more states need to expand this program!

California has public piers where a fishing license is not required.
The complete list can be found here:  California Free Fishing Public Piers

The second is National Parks that were established prior to the states.  Here is a list of National Parks for which a fishing license is not required:

Denali Wilderness (Alaska). This is the original park boundaries of Mt. McKinley NP.
Ft. Pulaski National Monument (Georgia)
Pu’uhonau O Honaunau National Historical Park (Hawaii)
Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)
Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland)
Isle Royale National Park (Michigan), excludes Lake Superior
Glacier National Park (Montana)
Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)
Big Bend National Park (Texas)
Virgin Islands National Park (Virgin Islands)
Olympic National Park (Washington)

Always check a park brochure or ask a Ranger for the fishing regulations.  It just might be free!

The third is free fishing days offered by almost all states.  To encourage fishing many states have started to offer free fishing days.  These are usually in the form of a free fishing weekend or two dates during the year when fishing is free for both residents and non-residents.

Here is the blog spot that lists all the free fishing dates:   US Free Fishing Days.

Oops, forgot about free fishing for specific fish species.  For example, in Washington you do not need a fishing license to fish for albacore, tuna, carp, or smelt.   Now fly-fishing for carp has gotten very popular, so it could be a smart idea to print out this page to give to the warden!!Washington State Fishing Questions.  Check with other states to see which species you can fish for without a license.

Now, moving on to the category of places where you do not need a resident fishing license.  The most obvious example of this is Yellowstone National Park.  If you are a fly-fisherman you will sooner or later fish Yellowstone.  The Park Service now requires a park fishing license.  It is priced much less than a resident license, but is still a cost.

Tribal lands often sell fishing licenses for much less than resident licenses.  Some offer good fishing.  Those that offer good fly-fishing generally charge "market prices".   Check to make sure you ONLY NEED the tribal license.  If you are traveling near an Indian Reservation this is worth checking out.

The last category is cheap, non-resident fishing licenses.  The state of Washington charges $48.00 for a non-resident freshwater fishing license.  This is cheaper than some states residents licenses!!  Plus you get the $14 free parking and camping pass.  So for $34 a fishing license!!  What a deal.  Buy now, I am not sure how long deals like this will exist given the current state revenue crises!

Check and ask around as you travel.  You might be surprised at how cheaply you can fish when away from home.  Of course, you can always take this guy with you.  He does not need a fishing license.


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