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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Hatchery derbies highlight Free Fishing Weekend June 7-9


Families looking for a great weekend getaway next weekend may want to take a look at one of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s four warmwater fish hatcheries on June 8 to enjoy a free fishing derby in one of each hatchery’s ponds.

“This is the one time of year the public can come out to our hatcheries and fish for catfish right where we’re growing them,” Tommy Laird, AGFC chief of fisheries, said. “It’s open for the whole family, so everyone is encouraged to sign up and visit us for a morning of fun fish-catches.”

The AGFC’s four state warmwater fish hatcheries – Andrew H. Hulsey Hatchery in Hot Springs, Joe Hogan Hatchery in Lonoke, C.B. “Charlie” Craig Hatchery in Centerton and William H. Donham Hatchery in Corning – will be open to the public from 8 a.m. until noon. Some bait will be provided at the sites, but all participants will need to bring their own fishing equipment (rod and reels, hooks, bobbers, etc.). It’s also a good idea to bring a cooler or stringer to carry your catch home as well as some refreshments and a few comfortable chairs to enjoy the day by the water.

Space around the ponds can get tight, so visit www.agfc.com/education/2024-free-fishing-weekend to register for a derby now before they’re all full.

Free Fishing Weekend, sponsored by the AGFC, is an annual event each June that lets anyone in the state, resident or nonresident, fish without the need for a license or trout stamp. All daily limits and fishing regulations are still enforced, but the license requirement will be waived from noon, June 7-11:59 p.m. June 9.

Even if you can’t make it to a fishing derby, Arkansas has more than 600,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs and more than 90,000 miles of rivers, streams and creeks to ply with rod-and-reel to enjoy. Many anglers who specialize in bass, crappie or catfish often use Free Fishing Weekend to try a change of pace, chasing rainbow trout or brown trout on the Little Red, Norfork or White rivers. The waiver of the extra trout permit often is enough to tempt a few “Southern-fried” bass and crappie anglers to give coldwater angling a shot.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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