CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s Free Fishing Weekend is back this Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12, 2022, Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday.
During the next two days, residents and nonresidents can fish in West Virginia for free. The annual event gives novice and returning anglers the opportunity to fish without a license.
“Some of my favorite memories growing up were when I was in the water in West Virginia with a fishing pole in my hand, trying to catch a great trophy fish,” Gov. Justice said. “Our Free Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity for more people from all over to give fishing a try and to enjoy all of the natural wonder West Virginia has to offer. We have so many great rivers and streams with plenty of trout and other fish ready for you to catch.
“I hope you’ll use this weekend to see just how much fun it is to get outside and cast a line in our pristine waters,” Gov. Justice continued. “If you try it once, I know you will enjoy it, and you’ll realize you need to get your own fishing license to keep enjoying our world-class fishing opportunities all summer long.”
Under Justice’s direction, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) implemented a new method for stocking fish, aimed at increasing the number of fish and locations being stocked while simultaneously spreading out the fish over larger areas, to provide more opportunities for anglers to land a great catch, no matter where they cast their line, according to a state news release.
The state’s lakes and streams continue to produce both trophy-sized game fish and record catches. Since 2020, West Virginia has seen over 10 new state record fish caught, including three in the past two months alone.
“We’ve had so many fish caught this spring that have broken all-time state records, it’s truly unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said. “It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we see another record catch during our Free Fishing Weekend. Who knows? It could be you!”
For 2021, hunting and fishing license revenue was the highest it’s been in more than 20 years, state officials said, attributing the increase to initiatives like Free Fishing Days, the Governor’s Lifetime Hunting & Fishing License Giveaway and Gold Rush.
“If you haven’t fished in a while or are interested in getting started, now is a good time to give fishing a try for free,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion. “Free Fishing Days is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends and a perfect opportunity for anglers to take their kids or grandkids to their favorite fishing spot.”
Here are some tips from the DNR for taking kids fishing.
Anglers who enjoy Free Fishing Days and want to continue fishing after this weekend can purchase a new fishing license or to renew an existing one online.
You can also find more general information about fishing opportunities in West Virginia here.