Texas invites public to enjoy Free Fishing Day

Fisherman Ricardo Galvan of Brownsville cast his fishing net at Jaime J. Zapata Memorial Boat Ramp and Kayak Launch Area Saturday wearing his face mask.

Anglers across Texas are gearing up for Free Fishing Day on Saturday, June 5.

The first Saturday in June each year allows Texans to fish on any public waterbody in the state without a fishing license.

“Free Fishing Day is a wonderful opportunity for anglers to share their knowledge, skills, equipment, and love for fishing with a new participant, yet it’s also more than that,” said Craig Bonds, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries Director. “We hope those trying fishing on this special day will also learn that purchasing a license is an act of conservation. A fishing license purchase is one of the simplest and most effective way people can support fisheries science and management.”

To help celebrate Free Fishing Day, TPWD offers multiple resources to provide fun, high quality fishing opportunities to anglers of all skill levels and all ages.

1. Fishing 101: Learn the basics of fishing with tips and a variety of videos. Resources for how to get started, safety, supplies and gear, casting and baiting, and cleaning and storing fish can be found on the TPWD Learn to Fish webpage.

2. Find a place to fish close to Home: Texas offers numerous lakes and rivers with access to fishing throughout the state. The Lake Finder page on the TPWD website can help anglers find lakes by region or alphabetically. Access to information and fishing tips on more than 150 lakes are available. Also, check out community fishing lakes which can be great options as well.

3. Saltwater fishing from a pier: There are numerous wheelchair accessible fishing piers available for public use up and down the coast. Piers are a great place for the entire family to try saltwater fishing without the need for a boat. Public access sites can be found in every bay system.

4. Go Fishing in the City: TPWD’s Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes provide urban angling access for the entire family across the state. In all, 18 Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes provide a great opportunity to catch channel catfish including five in Dallas-Fort Worth, four in the Houston area, two each in the Austin and San Antonio areas, and one each in Amarillo, College Station, San Angelo, Waco, and Wichita Falls. Information on lake locations and how-to fishing videos can be found on the Neighborhood Fishin’ website.

5. Outdoor adventures: TPWD, the City of Abilene, and various other organizations will provide outdoor education activities for kids and adults 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Abilene Outdoor Adventures 2021 event at Cal Young Park. Participants can enjoy fishing education and fishing (some loaner tackle and bait provided) for catfish at Cal Young Park pond. TPWD staff, along with other community groups, will have booths at the event in addition to offering families the opportunity to participate in activities such as archery and fishing. Wildlife education and plant identification activities are also on the schedule, as well as backpacking, camping, and kayak demonstrations.

6. Go kayak fishing on a Texas paddling trail: With more than 3,700 named streams, 15 major rivers and some 3,300 miles of tidal shoreline along the Gulf Coast, Texas offers unlimited possibilities for paddling adventures and angling opportunities of all types. Enjoy improved and maintained fishing and paddling access to rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, bayous, and bays on any of the 78 official Texas Paddling Trails available throughout the state.

7. Fish in a state park: Three state parks will offer special events on June 5. Fort Boggy State Park will host the “Summer Bash Kids Fish”, Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center will offer the “Catfish Corral”, and Bonham State Park will host a “Family Fishing” event. Although June 5 is designated as Free Fishing Day in Texas, fishing is free year-round at every Texas State Park.

8. Help the conservation effort with your license purchase: Did you know that 100 percent of your fishing license fees go to TPWD for on-the-ground conservation efforts such as fish stocking, that help make Texas one of the best places in the country to fish?

A great value is the Year-from-Purchase All-Water Fishing Package for Texas residents, which allows anglers to fish in fresh and salt water. It’s valid from the date of purchase through the end of the purchase month of the next license year. (Example: License purchased on March 13, 2021 expires March 31, 2022) The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is also offering free admission on June 5.

Learn more about Free Fishing Day at TakeMeFishing.org.

If you plan on fishing in federal waters, keep in mind that a license is needed for the private recreational angler red snapper season opening June 1.