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The Lake News Online
  • Day trippin': Fishing for free

  • If you like the words “free” and “fishing,” you’re going to enjoy this weekend.

    It’s time, once again, for Free Fishing Days — Missouri’s annual fishing event that seems too good to be true.
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  • If you like the words “free” and “fishing,” you’re going to enjoy this weekend.
    It’s time, once again, for Free Fishing Days — Missouri’s annual fishing event that seems too good to be true. This year, the Free Fishing Days event is Saturday and Sunday. On these days, Missouri fishing permits (including trout permits) will not be required statewide at any public fishing area on those days. In addition, daily trout tags will be provided free of charge at the state’s four trout parks. These daily fee waivers apply only to facilities managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation - not areas operated as private commercial fee lakes or county or city government facilities. All other fishing regulations (length limits, possession limits, etc.) still apply.
    One of the purposes of Free Fishing Days is to encourage non-anglers to give the sport of fishing a try. Fishing is a great pastime for a variety of reasons: It’s an activity that gets you outdoors, it’s an activity you can do with your family and it’s something you can enjoy for the rest of your life. And, on top of these good things, a successful fishing trip can also give you some tasty variety for the dinner table.
    Although novice anglers often receive the bulk of the encouragement to get out and participate in the state’s angling opportunities during Free Fishing Days, first-timers aren’t the sole focus of this event. Free Fishing Days could rekindle the fishing interests of anglers who haven’t picked up a rod and reel for awhile, too.
    But Free Fishing Days isn’t just for people who have been away from the water for a while; die-hard angling enthusiasts have a role in this event, too. It’s their opportunity to take relatives or friends with limited angling experience on a fishing trip and show them why it’s such a great pastime.
    Think about it in these terms: Just because a family has two days of permit-free fishing doesn’t mean they’re going to buy a large bass boat and head for the lake. Their Free Fishing Days experience, while enjoyable, will have limits. However, a neighborly invitation from an experienced angler to a friend or relative can turn a fishing trip into an outing they’ll remember all year. Experienced anglers can provide helpful advice on lure selection, casting techniques and other tips that will add to the experience. It’s a good opportunity for anglers to promote their favorite activity and, at the same time, cement friendships and family ties.
    Your nearest Department of Conservation office or contact person can provide information about Free Fishing Days and places to fish that are near you. Free Fishing Days is an example of the way the Missouri Department of Conservation helps people discover nature. More information about the event can also be found on the Department’s website, www.missouriconservation.org
    Page 2 of 2 - If nobody in the group you plan to fish with this weekend has much angling experience, get information about how to identify fish, how to clean them and how to release them. A good booklet for novice anglers to read is the Department of Conservation’s “An Introduction to Fishing.” This free booklet, which has a variety of fishing information for the beginning angler, is available at the Department of Conservation’s Southwest Regional Office in Springfield.

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