As the days get warmer, fishing seems to only get better. Why not wet a line and make some great memories on or near the water? Here are some ways to experience the joys of fishing.
Free Fishing Days, Close to Home Fishing Locations
There is no better time than Free Fishing Days to introduce your friends or family members to the great American pastime of fishing.
Anyone can fish for free June 1-2, 2019, in Oklahoma. On that weekend, a state fishing license will not be required for any resident or nonresident angler to fish.
The Sooner State has some excellent fishing in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, but also in urban waters designated by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation as "Close to Home Fishing" locations. Follow the link for a list of more than 35 Close to Home Fishing lakes across the state that are periodically stocked with fish to help make some magnificent memories!
Although state fishing licenses and the Oklahoma City fishing permit (where applicable) are not required during Free Fishing Days, anglers should note that certain city permits may still apply in other urban fishing areas. Additionally, anglers fishing Lake Texoma should be aware that Free Fishing Days applies for all of the lake on June 1 but only on Oklahoma portions of the lake on June 2.
Oklahoma was the first state in the nation to offer free fishing days about 35 years ago and has since been followed by dozens of other states that have established similar days.
Free Family Fishing Clinics
The Wildlife Department will hold Free Family Fishing Clinics again this summer for anyone wanting to try the sport or get back into it.
Classes will cover fishing basics for beginning anglers including skills such as fish identification, knot tying, equipment and more. A fishing license is not required of participants while the clinics are being conducted.
"Some of my best memories as a kid growing up were going fishing. Our free fishing clinics provide a great opportunity for families to come learn the basics so they can go out and create memories together as a family," said Daniel Griffith, Aquatic Resources Education Program coordinator for the Wildlife Department. "All the gear and bait will be provided during the class so participants really don't need to bring anything but themselves."
Clinics will be held in June and July at the Wild Horse Park Pond in Mustang and also at the Zebco Casting Pond (south side of the Oklahoma Aquarium) in Jenks. Scheduled during the evening, these clinics are open to everyone in the family, as long as an adult is present.
Pre-registration is required, and early registration is encouraged as the class sizes are limited. A list of all clinic dates and registration links can be found on the departments event calendar at GoOutdoorsOklahoma.com. You can also access the calendar of events and register by downloading the Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app on your Apple or Android devices.
“Hooked on Fishing” OKC Youth Fishing Clinics
"Hooked on Fishing" classes for kids are conducted by the City of Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department and several supporting organizations. These classes are scheduled through July at various sites across Oklahoma City. They are held Saturday mornings for youths ages 5-15, who must be accompanied by an adult.
Oklahoma City fisheries staff members and Wildlife Department volunteers teach these classes at sites that are in the Wildlife Department's "Close to Home Fishing" program. A fishing license is not required of participants while the clinics are being conducted.
Pre-registration is required, and early registration is encouraged as the class sizes are limited. For a schedule, go to the GoOutdoorsOklahoma.com events calendar or download the Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app. To reserve a spot, call (405) 297-1426.
Weekly Fishing Reports, News Releases, Social Media
The Wildlife Department’s many communication outlets including free news releases, Weekly Fishing Reports, Facebook and Twitter pages, and the Outdoor Oklahoma YouTube channel are useful sources for fishing information.
The Weekly Fishing Report lists many popular lakes and the current status of angling success at those locations. The Department updates its Facebook page often with current reports from its own personnel as well as its fans on a range of current outdoor activities.
"If you connect with us, you'll know what's going on, because we're constantly sharing photos and reports from our employees and friends who have been having current success," said Micah Holmes, Information Section Supervisor with the Wildlife Department.
The Department's Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/wildlifedepartment. On Twitter, search for the handle @OKWildlifeDept. The Department also shares on Instagram at www.instagram.com/outdoorok/.
To start receiving the Weekly Fishing Report in your inbox, sign up for “Email Updates” on the left side of the Department’s website at www.wildlifedepartment.com, then select “Weekly Fishing Report” along with any other topics that interest you.
Fishing Regulations, Go Outdoors Oklahoma, Mobile App
Updated annually, the Oklahoma Fishing Regulations Guide is your definitive source for information related to fishing in the state. Of course, anglers need to know and follow the rules, which are outlined in the free guide that is found on the Department website or in print at license vendors across the state. The guide also provides a “Where to Fish” map, an FAQ page, a list of state-record catches, and guidance on how to help stop invasive species.
The Regulations Guide is also available on the new Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app. The app makes it easier to not only purchase your license but also access regulations and upcoming events. You can download the Go Outdoors Oklahoma app on your Apple or Android devices.