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Free Fishing Weekend: What to Know Before You Head Out

  • 6/2/2015 11:11:00 AM
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Free fishing weekend - the first full weekend in June in Iowa. What to know before you go! | Iowa DNRFree Fishing Weekend (June 5, 6 and 7, 2015) is the perfect time to take kids fishing or introduce someone to fishing. DNR staff will be at popular fishing spots across the state to assist with setting up fishing poles and distribute free fishing packets to kids that include tips for fishing, bobbers and right-sized hooks for best catching success.

Follow these simple tips to help your family have a fun and safe free fishing weekend.

Attend a fun, hands-on fishing clinic to learn the basics of fishing. A list of fishing clinics, derbies, and other fun events co-sponsored by the DNR is available on the special events page.

A small hook (size 6 or 8), bobber (size of a nickel and no larger than a quarter) and a worm will get you started. Bring something to get the hook out of any fish that you catch - needle-nose pliers work well.

Learn how to tie at least one basic fishing knot. The uni, palomar, blood and improved clinch knots are strong, reliable and easy to tie. For step-by step instructions and illustrations, check out our Knots Every Anglers Should Know.

Fish in the morning and evening; fish are more active during these times.

Fish like structure so they can hide. Fish in or around trees and stumps in the water. If you can see the fish, they can see or hear you, so try not to let your shadow scare the fish.

Some species of fish have length and bag limits so make sure you know the fishing regulations.

Keep a bottle of sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses, and a hat with a brim in your tackle box to help protect you from the sun. Children fishing around deep or fast-moving water should wear a life jacket. Make sure the life jacket fits your child snugly and won’t ride up around their face.

If you are going to release the fish, handle it as little as possible and with damp hands. For more catch and release tips, see our 6 Tips for Catch and Release Fishing.

Commemorate your child’s First Fish with a frameable certificate. Submit your entry online at

Find more tips at or our Iowa Fishing board on Pinterest.