The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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Outdoors

June 7, 2014

Free fishing ends today

Today is the final day of free fishing days in West Virginia this year, where anyone can fish without a license. The fish are biting well right now, so it’s perfect timing to get someone hooked on fishing. We are blessed with plenty of water and a variety of fish species in the mountain state.             

We also have several state parks throughout West Virginia that offer fishing opportunities with ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. Bluegill, bass, catfish, trout and other species swim in these waters. In a recent press release West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) personnel said they stocked tagged channel catfish into eight state park lakes in May as part of the Catfish in the Parks Program. These state parks were: Cacapon, Cedar Creek, Chief Logan, Little Beaver, North Bend, Pipestem, Tomlinson Run, and Watoga.    

As part of the program, anglers who report a tagged catfish caught in a state park will receive a certificate good for one free night of camping at several state park campgrounds. Anglers who catch a tagged fish are asked to return the tag or the tag number, along with information on the date of capture, if the fish was kept or released, and the name and address of the angler, to WVDNR, 2311 Ohio Ave. Parkersburg, WV 26101.      

Anglers also can call 304-420-4550 or provide the information by sending an email report to dnrfishtags@wv.gov. Additional information about the tagging programs can be found at www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Fish_Tagging.shtm.               

Nearby, Little Beaver State Park will hold its 23rd annual fishing derby on June 14. “Bait and a free lunch will be provided and prizes and T-shirts will be given out after the derby, while supplies last. The event is sponsored by the Wildlife Resources Section of the Division of Natural Resources in cooperation with Little Beaver State Park. The derby is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact Mark Scott, WVDNR Wildlife, at 304-256-6945 for more information.”          

This weekend would be the perfect time to take a kid fishing. I’ve really been enjoying fishing with my daughter this year, and it makes me happy when she asks to “go fishing.” Bluegills were made for kids, because they will eat almost anything you throw at them. Old farm ponds are usually full of them, and I have fond memories of growing up fishing them.                  

The WVDNR has a First Fish Certificate that can be completed online and then printed.  

The document is on the WVDNR webpage at www.wvdnr.gov in the fishing section under First Fish Certificate. This is a great way to remember that first fish along with a photo of a big smile and happy face.                    

 Fishing is a relaxing pastime that can be enjoyed by everyone.  The younger you start, the more you’ll learn.  Get out there and wet a line before the weekend is over!

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