If you’re a fan of fishing, then you’re in luck – it’s almost time for free fishing in West Virginia! The state’s 2021 free fishing weekends are just around the corner, so mark your calendars and get ready to cast your line.
During these weekends, residents and non-residents alike can fish for free in designated areas without having to purchase a fishing license. But before you head out, there are a few rules and regulations you need to know to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about West Virginia’s free fishing weekends, including the dates and locations where you can fish for free, the types of fish you can expect to catch, and the rules and regulations you need to follow. So, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, keep reading to make the most of your free fishing experience!
Mark Your Calendars: Free Fishing Weekends
If you’re an avid angler or just someone who enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, then you won’t want to miss out on West Virginia’s annual Free Fishing Weekends. This is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, learn new fishing techniques, and reel in some of the biggest catches of the year.
During Free Fishing Weekends, residents and non-residents alike can fish in West Virginia’s public streams, rivers, and lakes without a fishing license. This is a great opportunity for those who have always wanted to try fishing but haven’t had the chance to do so.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) designates two weekends each year as Free Fishing Weekends. For 2021, the first Free Fishing Weekend will be held on June 12-13 and the second weekend will be held on June 19-20. Note that these weekends apply only to sport fishing, which means fishing with rod and reel or pole and line, and not to commercial fishing.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, Free Fishing Weekends in West Virginia is an experience you won’t want to miss. So grab your fishing gear, pack a cooler, and head out to the water to enjoy a fun-filled weekend with family and friends.
When is Free Fishing in West Virginia 2021?
June 12-13: The first of two free fishing weekends is coming up soon, so mark your calendars for June 12-1This weekend allows anyone to fish in West Virginia without a license.
September 25: The second free fishing day is on September 25, and it’s another chance to fish without a license. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore new fishing spots and catch some fish.
Fishing License: During the free fishing weekends, you don’t need a license to fish in West Virginia. However, make sure to follow all other fishing regulations and rules.
Stocked Waters: Many of West Virginia’s waters will be stocked with fish before the free fishing weekends. Check out the Division of Natural Resources’ website to see which waters will be stocked.
Family Fun: Free fishing weekends are a great opportunity for families to spend time together and enjoy the outdoors. Take your kids or grandkids fishing and create some unforgettable memories.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the upcoming free fishing weekends in West Virginia. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just getting started, these weekends provide a great opportunity to get out and fish without a license. Make sure to follow all rules and regulations, and have a safe and enjoyable time on the water.
Where You Can Fish for Free in West Virginia
If you are planning to fish for free in West Virginia, it’s important to know where you can do it. Fortunately, there are plenty of places throughout the state where you can cast a line without needing a fishing license. Here are five great locations to consider:
Monongahela National Forest: The Monongahela National Forest is an angler’s paradise, with numerous streams and rivers teeming with trout, bass, and other species.
Stonewall Jackson Lake: Stonewall Jackson Lake is a beautiful man-made lake located in Lewis County. It offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, with a variety of species available.
Coopers Rock State Forest: Coopers Rock State Forest is another great option for free fishing in West Virginia. The Cheat River, which runs through the forest, is a popular spot for trout fishing.
Kanawha State Forest: Kanawha State Forest is a 9,300-acre park located just south of Charleston. It has over 25 miles of streams and offers excellent trout fishing opportunities.
North Bend State Park: North Bend State Park is located in Ritchie County and offers a beautiful setting for fishing. The park has two lakes and several streams, and is home to a variety of fish species including bass, catfish, and bluegill.
Explore the Best Fishing Spots in West Virginia
- Seneca Lake: A 3,550-acre lake located in the heart of Seneca State Forest, home to a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and panfish.
- New River: Known for its exceptional smallmouth bass fishing, New River is also home to musky, walleye, and a variety of other fish.
- North Bend State Park: Located on the North Fork of the Hughes River, the park offers year-round fishing for trout, bass, and catfish.
- Elk River: Known for its scenic beauty and exceptional fishing opportunities, the Elk River is home to trophy-sized trout, as well as bass and other fish.
- East Lynn Lake: Covering over 1,000 acres, East Lynn Lake is home to a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and crappie.
If you’re looking for a great place to cast your line, West Virginia has plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax or a challenging location to test your skills, you’re sure to find it in the Mountain State.
What Fish You Can Catch During Free Fishing Weekends
Bass: West Virginia offers excellent opportunities to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass. These popular game fish can be found in rivers, lakes, and streams throughout the state.
Trout: Anglers can target several species of trout, including rainbow, brook, and brown trout. Many of West Virginia’s streams and rivers are stocked with trout for catch-and-release fishing during Free Fishing Weekends.
Catfish: Channel catfish are abundant in West Virginia’s larger rivers, while flathead catfish are more common in the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers. Anglers can also catch blue catfish in the Ohio River.
Carp: Carp are a non-native species that have become common in many of West Virginia’s lakes and rivers. They can be a challenging fish to catch and are often targeted by anglers using fly-fishing techniques.
Walleye: Walleye are a popular game fish in West Virginia, and many of the state’s lakes and rivers offer good opportunities to catch them. They are often found in deeper waters and can be caught using a variety of techniques, including trolling and jigging.
Discover the Abundance of Fish Species in West Virginia
If you’re wondering what kind of fish you can catch during free fishing weekends in West Virginia, the answer is: plenty! West Virginia is home to a wide variety of fish species, including bass, trout, walleye, catfish, and panfish.
Bass fishing is especially popular in West Virginia, with several species available, including largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. Trout is another favorite among anglers, with stocked trout available in many streams and lakes.
Those looking for a challenge might want to try catching walleye, a game fish known for its elusive nature. For those who prefer bottom-fishing, catfish can be found in abundance in West Virginia’s rivers and lakes. Finally, panfish, such as bluegill and crappie, can be caught in large numbers, making them a great choice for beginners or those looking for a fun day out with the family.
Rules and Regulations You Need to Follow
License requirements: All anglers who are 15 years or older must have a valid West Virginia fishing license to fish in public waters.
Bag limits and size restrictions: It is important to be aware of the bag limits and size restrictions for each fish species, which vary depending on the location and time of year. Violating these restrictions can result in fines and penalties.
Catch and release practices: West Virginia encourages catch and release fishing to preserve fish populations. If you do catch a fish that you intend to release, handle it carefully and return it to the water as quickly as possible.
Environmental responsibility: When fishing, it is important to be mindful of the environment and leave the area in the same or better condition than you found it. This includes properly disposing of trash and fishing line.
Observe Bag Limits and Size Restrictions
When fishing during free fishing weekends in West Virginia, it’s important to be aware of bag limits and size restrictions. Bag limits are the maximum number of fish you are allowed to keep in a single day, while size restrictions are the minimum or maximum size of fish that you can legally keep.
For example, the bag limit for trout during free fishing weekends is six fish per day. Additionally, the minimum size limit for trout is seven inches, and the maximum size limit is 14 inches. If you catch a trout that is below or above these limits, you must release it immediately.
It’s important to follow these rules and regulations to help maintain the health and sustainability of fish populations in West Virginia’s lakes and rivers. Failure to comply with bag limits and size restrictions can result in fines and penalties.
Get Familiar with Fishing License Requirements
If you’re planning to fish outside of free fishing weekends, you’ll need a fishing license. In West Virginia, anyone over the age of 15 is required to have a valid fishing license. You can purchase a license online through the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources or at various sporting goods stores throughout the state.
It’s important to note that fishing licenses are not transferable, and you cannot use someone else’s license to fish. Additionally, if you’re fishing on private land, you’ll need permission from the landowner to fish, even if you have a valid fishing license.
There are different types of licenses available, including annual licenses and short-term licenses for visitors to the state. Make sure you choose the appropriate license for your needs.
Remember that fishing without a license is illegal and can result in fines and legal penalties. So, be sure to obtain a fishing license before you head out to the water.
Why Free Fishing in West Virginia is an Experience You Shouldn’t Miss
Nature: Fishing in West Virginia’s beautiful and serene natural surroundings is an unforgettable experience.
Community: Free fishing weekends are a great opportunity to meet other fishing enthusiasts and make new friends.
Family Fun: Fishing is a great activity for families to enjoy together and create lasting memories.
West Virginia’s waters are not only abundant with fish but also offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Experience the serenity of fishing in a tranquil lake, or enjoy the rush of catching a trout in a fast-moving stream. Whatever your preference, West Virginia has a fishing spot that will satisfy your needs.
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of West Virginia’s waters and take in the stunning views of the mountains, forests, and wildlife. The state’s diverse topography provides a wide range of fishing experiences that cater to all skill levels and preferences.
While you’re out fishing, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the state’s natural resources. From the colorful fall foliage to the vibrant spring flowers, there’s always something awe-inspiring to see while you’re out on the water.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia?
Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia is a two-day event where residents and non-residents can fish for free without purchasing a fishing license. This event is open to everyone, regardless of age or fishing experience.
When does Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia take place?
Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia usually takes place on the second weekend of June. In 2021, it will be on June 12-1During this time, you can fish in all public waters without a fishing license or trout stamp.
Who is eligible to participate in Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia?
Everyone is eligible to participate in Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia. Whether you are a resident or non-resident, young or old, experienced or inexperienced, you can fish for free during this event.
What are the benefits of participating in Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia?
Participating in Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia allows you to enjoy the state’s beautiful waterways without the need for a fishing license or trout stamp. It’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, and to experience the joy of catching fish.
What fishing rules and regulations apply during Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia?
During Free Fishing Weekend in West Virginia, all fishing rules and regulations still apply, including bag limits and size restrictions. Anglers must also follow all fishing gear restrictions and honor private property rights. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations before heading out to fish.