TAYLOR COUNTY—As a child, many may recall loading up their tackle boxes and heading to the nearest river, lake, stream, creek or pond to drop their bobber in the water with friends and family, for a fun day of fishing.
As a way to encourage more people to take to the waterways in one of West Virginia’s favorite past times, the state has been celebrating National Fishing and Boating Week with a Free Fishing Weekend, for several years.
This annual program gives residents and nonresidents a chance to fish in West Virginia for free.
According to the Department of National Resources (DNR), although a license is not required to fish this weekend, all other fishing rules still need to be followed. These rules can be found in the DNR’s fishing regulations, either online or in their booklet.
“West Virginia has miles and miles of pristine waters,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “We need to get everyone into the outdoors, young and old, to enjoy and experience the unmatched beauty of our state’s streams and lakes, while participating in an activity, fishing, that’s just plain out fun.”
This year, the license free fishing weekend will be held on Saturday, June 13 through Sunday, June 14, across the state.
“This is the perfect time to take your son, daughter or grandchild to your favorite fishing spot and get them hooked on fishing,” commented Mark Scott, assistant chief in charge of fisheries for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
He went on to say that the free fishing days provide a perfect opportunity to get away from the TV, computer screen or handheld device and enjoy the outdoors.
“In today’s world, there are so many things going on,” Scott said. “Everybody is busy. There’s no better way to relax than to get out and do a little fishing.”
During the weekend, throughout Almost Heaven, folks will be headed to area lakes to take part in various fishing derbies.
Unfortunately, because of the Coronavirus outbreak, the annual Tygart Lake Fishing Derby, hosted by the Tygart Lake State Park Foundation, is not being held this year.
“Due to the limited amount of time since the COVID-19 restrictions began being lifted, we didn’t feel there was adequate time to plan the event,” said a representative of the Tygart Lake State Park Foundation.
According to organizers, the event takes a great deal of time to plan and organize, and with so many businesses and organizations not meeting because of the pandemic, holding the event this year was just not doable.
“The planning of the fishing derby usually takes a couple of months to complete,” said the representative. “We want to let the anglers know that, as of right now, anglers of all ages will be welcomed to the fishing derby next year.”
Although the foundation will not be holding their event, there are still plenty of other areas throughout the county that offer a great place to get your line wet. So, grab your poles and head to your favorite fishing holes for this year’s free fishing weekend!