SPOKANE - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and volunteers from the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council (INWC) are teaming up again this year to teach non-fishing adults how to fish on the one weekend of the year when fishing licenses are not required in Washington.
Free Fishing Weekend, always the first weekend in June after the first Monday of the month, is June 9-10 this year. On those two days, fishing licenses are not required to fish any open Washington water, although all other rules apply.
Before casting a line that weekend, newcomers to the sport will learn the basics about fishing equipment and methods at a class, Thursday, June 7, 6 - 9 p.m., at INWC's office, 6116 N. Market St. in Spokane. On Saturday, June 9, 8 a.m. to 12-noon, the students will use their new fishing skills and equipment at Bunkers Resort on Williams Lake in southwest Spokane County.
This year registration includes a $10 fee to cover some of the cost of fishing rods and reels and other equipment given to all participants.
Registration for "Fishing 101" is being taken now through June 6, or until 30 class spaces are filled, at WDFW's Eastern Regional Office. Interested adults (at least 16 years of age) can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 509-892-1001, or stop by or write 2315 N. Discovery Place,
Spokane Valley, WA 99216. Registration is confirmed upon receipt of the $10 fee.
With both classroom and on-the-water time, WDFW staff and INWC volunteers will teach basic fishing equipment, methods, where and when to go fishing for what kinds of fish, even how to clean and cook a catch.
"We tried this last year on Free Fishing Weekend and the idea was so well-received that we're doing it again with a little more time spent teaching basics before newcomers hit the water," said John Whalen WDFW Eastern Region Fish Program Manager.
Whalen noted that fishing usually isn't tried without a mentor, so Free Fishing Weekend has been mostly used by unlicensed persons who are able to go fishing with an experienced angler. The class is a way for those without mentors to try fishing.