SOUTH CHARLESTON — West Virginia celebrates National Fishing and Boating Week with Free Fishing Weekend June 8 and 9. No license is required these two days, so if you are a lapsed angler or interested in learning, now is a good time to give it a try for free. Here is where anglers can renew their license: www.wvfish.com.

“This is the perfect time to take your son, daughter or grandchild to your favorite fishing spot and get them hooked on fishing,” said Mark Scott, assistant chief in charge of fisheries for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR). “Free fishing weekends and our fishing derbies are a great way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.”

In addition, the DNR and conservation organizations are conducting fishing derbies for kids at locations around the state Saturday, June 8.

Bowden Fish Hatchery (Randolph County, 9 miles east of Elkins)

The largest derby will be held at DNR’s Bowden Fish Hatchery from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. Youngsters will be allowed to fish in three hatchery ponds stocked with trout. DNR will provide the bait and poles if needed, so all you need to do is show up and have fun.

Each angler will be permitted to take home two trout. A catch-and-release pond also will be available, and certificates will be handed out to kids who make a catch. Fishing times are scheduled based on school grades.

8 – 9:15 a.m. Pre-school and kindergarten
9:15 – 10:30 a.m. 1st and 2nd grade
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 3rd, 4th and 5th grade
12:15 – 1:30 p.m. 6th, 7th and 8th grade
8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Catch and Release Pond fishing times

To download a registration form or to learn more about the fishing derby, visit www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Fishing_Derby_2019.shtm.

Little Beaver State Park (Raleigh County)

The second derby will be held at Little Beaver State Park, where children will get the opportunity to fish in Little Beaver Lake from 9 a.m. to noon. The theme is “Get Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs.” Parents are encouraged to attend this event with their children and make it a family outing. Children should bring their basic fishing gear. A limited amount of bait will be provided.

Registration will take place the morning of the event from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Children must be registered to be eligible for prizes; no late registrations will be accepted. Other events for children include archery and hay rides. Children may fish any time after registering. Prizes will be given out after the derby while supplies last. For more information, call Bob Knight at 304-256-6947.

Cabela’s (South Charleston, Southridge Centre off U.S. Highway 119)

The third fishing derby, sponsored by the Beyond the Backyard organization for young people, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cabela’s store in South Charleston, where they’ll fish in a stocked artificial pond for catch and release fun.

Cabela’s staff also will conduct free seminars in the afternoon on various fishing topics of interest to both experienced and beginning anglers.

For more information about licensing after Free Fishing Weekend and about fishing opportunities in West Virginia, including at state parks and wildlife management areas, visit www.wvfish.com.