No fishing license required; time to explore a great sport
PRATT -- 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. Finding the ideal fishing location is as simple as visiting the KDWP website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us, and typing “Where to Fish” in the search box.

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.