You can fish Arizona waters for free the next two Saturdays, making this an ideal time to take the family out for some fun and relaxing outdoor recreation.

Arizona’s Free Fishing Days will be celebrated on June 1 and June 8 this year as part of National Fishing and Boating Week. On these Saturdays, no fishing licenses are required for persons fishing any public waters in Arizona.

“Whether you’re an experienced angler who wants to introduce a newcomer to the sport, or someone who’s always been interested but never took that next step, this is an ideal time to gather up some friends and family members and head out to your nearest urban lake, or head up to the cooler country to fish a lake or stream,” said Nick Walter, editor of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Weekly Fishing Report.

Remember that bag limits and other fishing regulations are in full effect and must be observed on Free Fishing Days. Kids under the age of 14 can fish for free all year long in Arizona, so this special fishing license exemption day means that the older kids and parents get a free pass for the day. Try fishing, you’ll like it!

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will sponsor a number of Free Fishing Day clinics/events to give people the opportunity to try out this fun, family-oriented pastime. Loaner fishing rods, bait and instruction are provided for free at most of these venues. Times and locations are:

  • Saturday, June 1, Lake Pleasant Regional Park (northwest of Phoenix), 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. At this “Fishing with a Ranger” program, staff from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Lake Pleasant Regional Park will have loaner rods and reels and a limited supply of bait available to anyone wanting to learn more about Lake Pleasant, the fish that are in it, and how and where to catch them. To get to Lake Pleasant, take Highway 74 to Castle Hot Springs Road. Participants will need to pay $6 per vehicle entry fee at the main park entrance, and then follow the signs that say “Free Fishing Day Event.” For more information, please contact Terry Gerber, Interpretive Ranger, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, (602) 372-7460 x 202.
  • Saturday, June 1, Yuma West Wetlands Pond (282 N. 12th Ave.), 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Family Fish Fiesta is a fun fishing competition for the entire family. Plaques will be awarded in both the youth and adult “biggest” and “littlest” fish categories (by weight). Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing pole and bait, but the Arizona Game and Fish Department will be on hand to provide a limited number of fishing poles to borrow and bait to use. Game and Fish staff and volunteers will also provide tips on casting, baiting hooks, and other useful information.
  • Saturday, June 1, Dead Horse Ranch State Park (near Cottonwood), 8 a.m. to noon. Come on out to this beautiful area for “Verde Valley Fishing Fun Day,” a cooperative effort between the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona State Parks, and the Prescott National Forest. The lagoon will be stocked with catfish prior to the event. There will be loaner fishing rods and bait, but you are encouraged to bring your own if you have it. The entrance fee into the park will be waived for the participants (must check in at park office). For more information, contact Dead Horse Ranch State Park at (928) 634-5283.
  • Saturday, June 1, Kaibab Lake (near Williams), 10 a.m. to noon. This free fishing event will have a limited supply of loaner fishing gear and bait, an information booth near the boat launch, and knowledgeable personnel to answer questions about fishing in this part of northern Arizona. For more information, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Flagstaff regional office at (928) 774-5045.
  • Saturday, June 1, Garrett Tank (near Seligman), 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be demonstrations throughout the day on casting, baiting, cleaning, and cooking catfish. The weather can be variable, so dress in layers. Sunscreen is recommended. Loaner poles and bait will be available for use. For further information, please contact the Kingman Game and Fish regional office at (928) 692-7700.
  • Saturday, June 8, Mormon Lake Lodge Pond (about 20 miles southeast of Flagstaff), 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free fishing will be offered at the trout pond as part of the Mormon Lake Lodge Outdoor Festival. Fishing will be conducted the Arizona Game and Fish Department Flagstaff region, and Northern Arizona Flycasters. There will be fly casting and fly tying, along with tips from knowledgeable anglers. The festival will have more than 50 exhibitors representing sportsmen’s and conservation groups, government agencies, and outdoor recreation organizations. For more information, contact Game and Fish Sportfishing Education Coordinator Doug Thornburg at (623) 236-7240 or Mormon Lake Lodge at (928) 354-2227.
  • Saturday, June 8, Goldwater Lake (Prescott), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman region and the City of Prescott are planning a day of free fishing for the whole family. Staff will be on hand to assist anglers. Bait will be provided and loaner rods will be available. For more information, please call the Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman office at (928) 692-7700.
  • Saturday, June 11, Parker Canyon Lake (near Elgin), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free fishing event will be part of the National Get Outdoors Day event held at Parker Canyon Lake by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the USDA Forest Service, and other agencies and conservation groups. The elevation of Parker Canyon Lake is 5,400 feet, so the weather will be several degrees cooler than Tucson. Camping and boat rentals are available for a fee at Parker Canyon Lake; call the store for more information at (520) 455-5847. For more information, contact Rebecca Hodgeson, Fire Prevention Specialist, USDA Forest Service, Sierra Vista Ranger District, at (520) 378-0311.
  • Saturday, June 8, Lake Pleasant Regional Park (northwest of Phoenix), 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free fishing will be part of the “Lake Pleasant Adventure Day,” where attendees will also be offered various hands-on learning opportunities for scuba diving, boating, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and other forms of recreation. Staff from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Lake Pleasant Regional Park will have loaner rods and reels and a limited supply of bait available. To get to Lake Pleasant, take Highway 74 to Castle Hot Springs Road. Participants will need to pay $6 per vehicle entry fee at the main park entrance, and then follow the signs that say “Adventure Day” to the 10-Lane Boat Ramp. For more information, please contact Terry Gerber, Interpretive Ranger, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, (602) 372-7460 x 202.
  • Saturday, June 8, D’Ambro Ponds (near Kingman), 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free fishing at this great family event conducted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, and D’Ambro Pond. Free hot dogs and drinks will be provided. The event is free for children between the ages of 5 and 16; donations to D’Ambro Pond are appreciated. Pre-registration is requested; to register, please stop by the Arizona Game and Fish Kingman regional office (5325 N. Stockton Hill Road) between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. For more information, contact the Game and Fish Kingman regional office at (928) 692-7700.
  • Saturday, June 8, Dunton Ranch (near Kingman), 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Free fishing at this great family event conducted by the Kingman Elk’s lodge, Mohave sportsman’s club, and Arizona Game and Fish Department. Free hot dogs and drinks will be provided. The event is free for children between the ages of 5 and 16. Pre-registration is requested; to register, please stop by Kingman Regional Medical Center’s kids day on June 1st, or the Arizona Game and Fish Departments Kingman regional office (5325 N. Stockton Hill Road) during normal business hours before June 1st. For more information, contact the Game and Fish Kingman regional office at (928) 692-7700.

Image courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department

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