No fishing license required; time to explore a great sport

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has announced Free Fishing Days -- one of the best outdoor entertainment bargains in the state. On June 2 and 3, anglers of all ages may fish without a fishing license.

This is the ideal time to introduce youngsters to a healthy, challenging pastime that offers a lifetime of enjoyment. Kansas has hundreds of lakes and streams, including numerous conveniently-located community lakes. A comprehensive list of public fishing locations is available at the KDWP website.

Public fishing waters also are listed in the 2007 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary , available on the website or in printed form at KDWP offices and license vendors around the state. The summary also provides a fish identification guide, length and creel limits, and a variety of additional information for anglers.

Looking for the latest information on where the fish are biting? Check out the “Fishing Reports” section of the department’s website for up-to-date angling and lake condition information compiled by fisheries biologists and other anglers. Another useful source of information is the 2007 Fishing Forecast , a species-by-species guide that rates fishing prospects at lakes around the state.

Here are a few basic guidelines to make the most of any fishing experience that includes youngsters:

  • make it a kid’s adventure, allowing time for wading, skipping rocks, collecting wild flowers, finding insects, taking pictures, or otherwise enjoying the outdoors;
  • use simple tackle and techniques, such as worm-baited hooks fished 2 or 3 feet under a bobber to allow fish to find the bait, rather than the repeated casting required with lures;
  • fish for plentiful and easily-caught fish such as sunfish, crappie, or carp, rather than more specialized and finicky fare such as bass or walleye;
  • only keep fish that you plan to eat and introduce youngsters to the “catch-and-release” concept; and
  • bring food, snacks, and drinks to add to the pleasure of a family outing.

And don’t forget the sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, and sunglasses.
Any child 12 or younger must wear a personal flotation (PFD) device while fishing from a boat. Depending on age and swimming ability of their children, parents are encouraged to outfit youngsters with PFDs anytime they are near water.