Everyone may fish without a license; scout hotspots online

PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) will offer 2011 Free Fishing Days on June 4-5, in coordination with National Fishing Week. On these days, anglers of all ages may fish without a fishing license. Ordinarily, nonresidents 16 or older and residents age 16 through 64 must have a fishing license to fish in Kansas, but on June 4-5, everyone gets to fish for free, making this the ideal time to introduce a curious would-be angler of any age to this healthy, challenging pastime that offers a lifetime of pleasure. Kansas has hundreds of lakes and streams, including numerous conveniently-located community lakes. Finding the ideal fishing location is simple: go to the KDWP website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us, click "Fishing" at the top of the page, then “Where to Fish” in the left-hand column.

Public fishing waters also are listed in the 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.

Visitors to Milford, Glen Elder, Cheney, Cedar Bluff, Hillsdale, Clinton, Kanopolis, and El Dorado reservoirs will have a chance to participate in the “Wanna Go Fishing for Millions?” contest, which began May 14 and runs to July 14. Registered anglers who catch a tagged fish in one of these lakes will be directed to the contest website where they will find instructions on redeeming tags for prizes ranging from new fishing gear to as much as $2.2 million. But you have to register. Registration is free online at www.cabelas.com/browse.cmd?categoryId=107520480&WT.ac=RRfishformillions .

For information on fishing prospects, lake ratings for all sportfish may be found on the KDWP’s online Fishing Forecast. In addition, the most currently-recorded biologists' fishing reports may be found on the Fishing Reports page, and anglers can report their own experiences and read those of others on the department's Public Fishing Reports page. In the Public Fishing Reports blog is a section called "Dock Squawk." In this section, blogs have been created for anglers to discuss fishing-related issues in each region of the state. In addition, KDWP Blogs offers “The Kansas Fisherman,” written by Clay Dixon, a professional angler who has been fishing Kansas waters for more than 30 years. Dixon tells stories of his experiences, includes videos of recent trips, and gives tips and lessons that will help everyone become a better angler.

Late May and early June are some of the best times to take advantage of Kansas angling opportunities. If you haven't already bought a license or are curious about fishing, take advantage of this opportunity on June 4-5.