Families and friends enjoying the outdoors on Memorial Day now have the opportunity to add free fishing to their plans.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is offering a “fish-for-free” day on Monday during which individuals can fish in state waters without a license.
Typically, a one-day license would cost $11.70 for a PA resident and $26.70 for a visitor. However, on Memorial Day, residents and non-residents alike can enjoy the sport free of charge.
PA Fish and Boat Commission Southwest Regional Outreach Coordinator Dennis Tubbs said fish-for-free days are meant to encourage new anglers.
“We’ve had a lot of people who wanted to try fishing, but they didn’t want to commit to buying a license and equipment,” said Tubbs.
For those who do not own fishing gear, loaner stands will be set up at state parks, county parks, and even some libraries and tackle shops.
“It’s kind of like a library. You just go in, you fill out a form. You have to have some kind of ID,” explained Tubbs. “They’ll give you the rod and some tackle. You’ll have to buy some bait, then you can use the rod as much as you want and then bring it back.”
According to Tubbs, first time fishers still need to be aware of catch limitations and other regulations, as well as safety precautions.
“Try to find a friend to go with, because it boosts your learning curve very quickly,” Tubbs said.
For new fishers who want to go out on their own, Tubbs recommends picking up a few tips at an outdoors store or tackle shop, where the employees are often experienced fishers.
According to Tubbs, there are many beautiful fishing spots in Southwest PA. Deer Lakes Park, North Park, and Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park are a few popular local fishing sites.
“North Park Lake is a great place to take your family,” said Tubbs. “If you have small kids, they have the playgrounds and restrooms at every one of the groves.”
Tubbs says the waters are well stocked and the weather should be nice for fishing.
“Just get out and enjoy the waters! Our waters here in Southwestern Pennsylvania are cleaner than they have been in a long time,” encouraged Tubbs.