CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice is once again calling all West Virginians to get their fishing gear ready, because West Virginia’s Free Fishing Weekend is back this Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12, 2022.
During these two days, residents and nonresidents are able to fish in West Virginia for free. The annual event gives novice and returning anglers the opportunity to fish without a license.
“Some of my favorite memories growing up were when I was in the water in West Virginia with a fishing pole in my hand, trying to catch a great trophy fish,” Gov. Justice said. “Our Free Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity for more people from all over to give fishing a try and to enjoy all of the natural wonder West Virginia has to offer. We have so many great rivers and streams with plenty of trout and other fish ready for you to catch.
“I hope you’ll use this weekend to see just how much fun it is to get outside and cast a line in our pristine waters,” Gov. Justice continued. “If you try it once, I know you will enjoy it, and you’ll realize you need to get your own fishing license to keep enjoying our world-class fishing opportunities all summer long.”
A lifelong angler himself, Gov. Justice has shepherded a golden age of fishing in West Virginia during his time in office.
Under the Governor’s direction, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) implemented an improved method for stocking fish – increasing the number of fish and locations being stocked while simultaneously spreading out the fish over larger areas – providing more opportunities for anglers to land a great catch, no matter where they cast their line.
Additionally, the state’s lakes and streams continue to produce both trophy-sized game fish and record catches. Since 2020, West Virginia has seen over 10 new state record fish caught, including three in the past two months alone.
“We’ve had so many fish caught this spring that have broken all-time state records, it’s truly unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said. “It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we see another record catch during our Free Fishing Weekend. Who knows? It could be you!”
Thanks to annual fishing initiatives managed by the WVDNR and the West Virginia Department of Tourism – such as Free Fishing Days, plus the Governor’s Lifetime Hunting & Fishing License Giveaway and Gold Rush – last year’s hunting and fishing license revenue was the highest it’s been in more than 20 years.
“If you haven’t fished in a while or are interested in getting started, now is a good time to give fishing a try for free,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion. “Free Fishing Days is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends and a perfect opportunity for anglers to take their kids or grandkids to their favorite fishing spot.”
Anglers who enjoy Free Fishing Days and want to continue fishing after this weekend can purchase a new fishing license or to renew an existing one at WVfish.com.
For more information about fishing opportunities in West Virginia, go to WVdnr.gov/fishing.