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Scheduling error favors unlicensed anglers, get 2 free fishing days
Take a friend and give fishing a try; see list of free fishing events at www.azgfd.gov/fishing
Unlicensed anglers in Arizona are getting an unexpected late spring windfall – you can fish state waters without a valid fishing license on both June 7 and June 14 this year, said Arizona Game and Fish Department officials.
“Since there has been some confusion on the ‘real’ free fishing day – June 7 or June 14 – we decided that the only fair decision is to allow anglers to fish state waters on either of those Saturdays without a valid Arizona fishing license,” said Fisheries Chief Kirk Young.
Here’s the story.
In 2000, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) took the seven-day National Fishing Week in early June and expanded it to National Fishing and Boating Week, which is typically a 10-day event that includes two Saturdays. Each year, Arizona set the second Saturday in June as free fishing day.
That is why the current fishing regulations for Arizona, which cover a two-year period, says free fishing day for 2008 is June 14.
However, RBFF scheduled the 2008 National Fishing and Boating Week for June 1-8, which is only eight days and includes one Saturday – June 7.
The scheduled dates created some confusion, even within the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Some free fishing day events had been set for June 7, while others were scheduled for June 14 as stated in the regulations. For a list of the fishing clinics, visit www.azgfd.gov/fishing and click on the link for free fishing day events.
“On the bright side, this is the perfect year to have two free fishing days,” Young said.
He explained that thanks to exceptional snow pack and runoff this year, most Arizona lakes are full of water. “This is an exceptional fishing year. Free fishing day gives you the chance to get out and sample it, twice if you like, then maybe you’ll consider joining our growing cadre of licensed anglers,” Young said.
Arizona’s free fishing day covers all state waters, including Urban Program Lakes, and along the Arizona shoreline of the Colorado River. The state free fishing day does not extend to tribal waters.
In 2009, the National Fishing and Boating Week will revert to 10 days and include two Saturdays again. The dates will be June 6-14, 2009.