If you'd like to introduce someone to fishing — or you'd like to give fishing a try, but you don't have a fishing license — this Saturday is your chance.
June 9 is Free Fishing Day in Utah. You don't need a fishing license to fish in the state that day.
Randy Oplinger says Free Fishing Day is a great day not only for beginning anglers but for experienced anglers, too.
"Because you don't need a license to fish that day," says Oplinger, sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "It's the perfect time to take someone fishing with you and introduce them to the sport. And, if you don't have a license, it's the perfect time to pick up a fishing pole and give fishing a try."
Another great thing is Free Fishing Day is held at the start of June. "Early June is one of the best times to fish in Utah," Oplinger says. "All of the fish in the state, both warm water fish and cold water fish, are active and willing to bite this time of the year."
If you don't have any fishing equipment — or you do, but you'd like some help fishing — special events are the place to be.
"At most of the events, equipment will be available for you to use," Oplinger says. “And volunteers will be on hand, to help you and your kids fish. Also, many of these waters will be stocked with fish before the event, so there should be plenty of fish to catch."
Two fun fishing events will be held in Logan and Bountiful:
• Bear River Celebration and Free Fishing Day at Willow West Park, 500 W. 700 S. in Logan. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The park includes Skylar's Pond.
Kids can catch fish at Skylar's Pond using rods and reels that will be available that day. This free community event is full of hands-on educational activities for youth and their families. Each year, hundreds of youth participate and learn more about water quality, wildlife, plants, recreation and fishing in the Bear River watershed. Visit https://bit.ly/2LtEJvD for more information.
• Cops and Kids Fishing Day at Bountiful Pond. The pond is just west of Legacy Highway in Bountiful. The event runs from 9-11 a.m.
DWR conservation officers and officers from local police departments will be available to help beginning anglers catch fish. If you have your own fishing rod and reel, please bring it. If you don't have one, no problem — rods and reels will be available to use.
Free fishing events will be held at three locations in north-central Utah:
• The fishing pond at Wasatch Mountain State Park. The park is in Midway. Fishing rods will be available to rent, and worms will be available for purchase. Volunteers will also be on hand, to help you fish. Fishing runs from dawn to dusk.
• Pole Canyon fishing pond, 9 a.m. to noon. The pond is near Santaquin. If you're 16 years of age or younger, you can participate in a Youth Fishing Derby that day. The first boy and the first girl who catch a fish will win a prize. Prizes will also be awarded for the biggest fish caught in each age division. A raffle for prizes will also be held, and hotdogs will be served for lunch. The Santaquin City Recreation Department is sponsoring the event.
• Community Lake (also called Lake Hill Pond) in Ephraim Canyon, about 5 miles east of Ephraim. The free event includes a fishing contest. Registration for the contest begins at 9 a.m. The contest starts at 10 a.m. Food and prizes will be available. You must bring your own fishing equipment and bait. Before the event, the DWR will stock the pond with trout. The U.S. Forest Service is sponsoring the free event. For more information, call the Sanpete Ranger District office at 435-283-4151.
Free fishing events will be held at three locations. At one of the locations — Steinaker Reservoir — prizes will be awarded for catching the most bluegill and the largest bluegill. If you have your own fishing rod, please bring it to the events. If you don't have your own rod and reel, no problem: A limited number will be available to use. Personnel from the sponsoring agencies will also be available to help you fish and answer your questions about local fishing hot spots:
• Moose Pond, 9 a.m. to noon. The lake is in Daggett County.
• Lower Stillwater Ponds, 9 a.m. to noon. The ponds are in Duchesne County.
• Steinaker Reservoir, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The reservoir is in Uintah County.
• Wildlife & Wardens event at the Carbon County Community Fishing Pond, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The pond is in Price at 450 S. Fairgrounds Road. Division of Wildlife Resources' conservation officers and Carbon County Sheriff's deputies will be available to help young anglers catch fish. Youngsters can also shoot bows and arrows and learn about wildlife at several learning stations. Lunch will be provided.
Free food, prizes and fun are waiting for you at two events in southwestern Utah. Fishing equipment will be available to check out and use. DWR personnel and volunteers will be available to help young anglers fish and to help them keep their hooks baited:
• Little Reservoir, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The reservoir is east of Beaver.
• Bristlecone Pond, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The pond is at the Brian Head Ski Resort east of Parowan.
• In addition to food and prizes, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife will host a free fishing workshop at Bristlecone Pond.
If you're going to pick up a rod and reel and fish on your own on June 9, hop on the internet before June 9 and check out the many instructional websites and videos that teach the basics of fishing. A good place to start is TakeMeFishing.org.
COMMUNITY FISHING PONDS
You'll likely have company on June 9, but waters in communities across Utah — called community fishing ponds — are great places for beginning anglers to fish. The ponds are close to home, most have restrooms and other facilities, and many of them will be stocked with channel catfish — averaging 14 inches long — before June 9.
You can learn more about the ponds online.
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OTHER GOOD WATERS
In addition to the community fishing ponds, several additional waters should also be good places to fish on June 9. Oplinger divides the best fisheries to visit on Free Fishing Day into two categories: 'best family fishing waters' and 'places to fish and get away from it all.'
"Waters in the second category will offer good fishing on June 9 without the crowds," he says.
BEST FAMILY FISHING WATERS
• Mantua and Willard Bay reservoirs (Northern Utah)
• Lakes on the Manti Mountains (North-central Utah)
• Brown's Draw, Cottonwood, Currant Creek, East Park and Steinaker reservoirs (Northeastern Utah)
PLACES TO FISH AND GET AWAY FROM IT ALL
• Lost Creek Reservoir and lakes on the Uinta Mountains (Northern Utah)
• Long Park Reservoir, Flaming Gorge Reservoir and Spirit Lake (Northeastern Utah)
• Navajo Lake and lakes on the Boulder Mountains (Southwestern Utah)
You can stay updated on fishing at these waters, and other waters in Utah, by reading the DWR's fishing reports online.
LEARN THE RULES
You don't need a license to fish on June 9, but the remaining fishing rules in Utah will be in effect. The rules are available in the 2018 Utah Fishing Guidebook.
"If you have questions about a rule or about fishing in Utah," Oplinger says, "please give our offices a call. We'd be happy to help you."
A list of DWR offices is available online.