People across the state will be able to fish in any public water body without a fishing license during the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's 30th annual Free Fishing Day on Saturday.
“Offering a free fishing day gives Texans an opportunity to try fishing for the first time,” said Aubry Buzek, a spokesperson for the department.
She said TPWD hopes the day promotes fishing and encourages people to enjoy the state’s fishing resources.
There are more than a dozen "easy-access" fishing spots in the Austin metro area to try. Across the state there are family-friendly fishing events, including a catfishing tournament and fishing rodeo, but Buzek recommends the Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes and ponds for first-timers or anyone wanting to increase their chances of catching something.
TPWD stocks specific neighborhood lakes and ponds with fish every two weeks throughout the year. Kingfisher Pond and Bullfrog Pond in East Metro Park off Blake Manor Road are a couple of local options. They will be stocked with channel catfish just ahead of Free Fishing Day, Buzek said.
“They’re the second most popular game fish in Texas,” she said. “And they can be captured on a variety of natural baits – liver, worms, grasshoppers, corn. Some people even use hotdogs and cheese.”
The department offered these tips for first-timers:
- be careful when handling sharp hooks
- don’t cast your fishing line near other people
- wear a life jacket if you’re going to be wading in the water or on a boat
- carry out whatever you brought with you, including fishing lines, which can be dangerous to birds and other wildlife.
You can always fish for free in Texas state parks. When it's not Free Fishing Day, Texans need a permit to fish in other public water bodies. Those permits range in price from $11 to $47, with the money going toward the management and conservation of fish and their habitats in Texas.