AUSTIN – Texas offers a Free Fishing Day on the first Saturday in June every year to help kick off National Fishing and Boating Week. On this day anglers can fish on any public waterbody in the state without a fishing license.
To help celebrate Free Fishing Day, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and other organizations are hosting many free events around the state on Saturday, June 1, 2019, to provide fun, high quality fishing opportunities to anglers of all skill levels and all ages.
Here are 10 fun ways families can celebrate Free Fishing Day in Texas:
- Try Saltwater Fishing from a Pier – Wheelchair accessible fishing piers are available for public use up and down the coast. Fishing piers are a great place for the whole family to try saltwater fishing without the need for boat. Public access sites can be found in each bay system here.
- Kick Off Neighborhood Fishin’ in Northern Houston: The Timberlane Utility District and TPWD have partnered to bring a new Neighborhood Fishin’ program site to Spring-area residents. Anglers of all ages are invited to attend the official launch of Neighborhood Fishin’ at Herman Little Park 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. June 1 to fish for channel catfish and enjoy the outdoors.
- Compete in a catfishing tournament – The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens is celebrating Free Fishing Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 1 with free admission, free food and drinks and free entry into a kid’s catfish tournament with all tackle and bait provided. Anglers may fish as individuals or as teams with an adult assisting a child to win fun prizes. After fishing, visitors can explore a vast array of aquatic exhibits, watch a live fish-feeding dive show, and take a narrated tram tour through the outdoor hatchery facility.
- Visit Sea Center Texas – Grab your fishing poles, bait, and lawn chairs for a free youth fishing event 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. June 1 at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson. Visitors can also explore aquaria and exhibits of Texas marine life, the largest redfish hatchery in the world, 36 one-acre fish culture ponds, an outdoor wetland exhibit and a 20-foot touch pool that allows visitors to gently touch marine animals such as blue crabs, hermit crabs, stone crabs, snails and even anemones.
- Go Fishing in the City – TPWD’s Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes provide urban angling access for the entire family across the state. In all, 19 Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes provide a great opportunity to catch channel catfish in Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Bryan-College Station, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, San Angelo, Waco and Wichita Falls. Information on lake locations and how-to fishing videos can be found online at www.neighborhoodfishin.org.
- 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 75 official Texas Paddling Trails available throughout the state.
- Become an outdoorsman in the Big Country – Become an outdoorsman in the Big Country – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 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 2019 event at Grover Nelson Park. Participants can enjoy fishing education and fishing (some loaner tackle and bait provided) for catfish at the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program’s Grover Nelson Park pond. Other activities include archery, air rifles, wildlife education, plant identification activities, backpacking and camping demonstrations, live music, food and more.
- Explore a Texas State Park – Bonham State Park in Bonham is hosting a family fishing event 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. June 1. With paid admission to the park, visitors of all ages can enjoy fishing instruction, fish identification, fish printing and talking with a ranger. A limited number of fishing poles and bait will be available.
- Fish, Paddle and Camp at a TPWD Leased Access Site: The TPWD River Access and Conservation Area Program leases private land to provide access to the public on nine Texas rivers. Anglers and paddlers may use these leased areas for fishing and launching kayaks, canoes or other non-motorized boats. Some even allow camping for an enjoyable overnight outdoor getaway. Find more information and directions to the leased public access sites here.
- Attend a Fishing Rodeo – Lake Arrowhead State Park near Wichita Falls is celebrating Free Fishing Day by hosting the 25th Annual Mark Howell Memorial Fishing Rodeo 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 1. The event includes a Kid Fish and Adult Rough Fish contest. Fishing supplies such as poles and tackle will be available from the tackle loaner program while supplies last. Check the Texas State Park alerts page before you go to check for weather related closures.
Although June 1 is designated as Free Fishing Day in Texas, fishing is free year-round at every Texas State Park. Learn more about Free Fishing Day and National Fishing and Boating Week June 2-10 at www.TakeMeFishing.org.
Anglers should keep in mind that a fishing license is needed when fishing in federal waters for the private recreational angler red snapper season opening June 1.