Sunday June 9, marks the last day of the WVDNR's free fishing weekend for the year. If you haven't had a chance to participate, there are a few hours left. The WVDNR sets aside one weekend a year where anyone can go fishing and you don't even need a license.
They also do their best to make sure that there are plenty of fishing opportunities around the state by stocking many smaller impoundments with catfish and giving anglers ample opportunity to have a successful trip. I will warn you though, be careful, it is just a clever trap!
The entire premise behind the free fishing weekend is a ploy to introduce new would be anglers to the sport of fishing. Consider it a test drive if you will. By not having to worry about purchasing a fishing license up front, it is the perfect opportunity to spend some time with the sport before making the commitment and jumping in with both feet.
You must admit that whoever came up with the idea of a test drive fishing weekend is a genius! West Virginia isn't the only state that offers the chance to test drive their waters for fishing. Actually, most states have at least one day a year where you can fish, and a license is not required. The website www.takemefishing.org has a complete list as well as a whole host of other helpful information if you are interested.
Granted the weather hasn't been exactly picture perfect for fishing in recent weeks, but I have said many times that the fish still gotta eat. Even if the waters are crystal clear and calm, you can still have a great day fishing. Let's face it, even the worst day fishing is better than a day at work, or even spent doing chores or working on the Honey-do list. No offense "Honey"!
It seems like we have had nothing but rain for weeks and I am not sure if it was a repeat weather forecast from last summer, but they are continually talking about record amounts of rainfall for the state already this year. Didn't we just go through that? Maybe muddy water is the new norm. If it is, we better get used to it and not let it stop us.
In some cases, a little color to the water can make the fishing better. Species like catfish and carp aren't known as sight feeders so they don't mind if the water is a little muddy. They tend to feed on smell as much as anything and the stinkier the bait, the better they like it.
Now, don't think they are the only fish you can catch when the water is less than ideal. They are simply an example. I have had great success in fishing transition zones where two bodies of water meet when the conditions aren't perfect.
This is especially true if one stream is noticeably clearer than the other. Fish recognize the higher flows and know that those high flows will be carrying plenty of things for them to eat.
Play your cards right and you just might fool those hungry fish right into your hands. Much like the many would-be anglers have done by taking the bait and giving fishing a try on those free fishing days and getting themselves hooked on fishing. Hmm, I am seeing a pattern here. Anglers are a tricky bunch.
Whether it is this weekend to take advantage of the free fishing or any weekend, take the opportunity to take someone fishing. Let's face it, even if you have to pay the small price for a fishing license, where else can you have hours and hours of fun for around $20? As a bonus, kids less than 15 years old don't need a license at all. So, what other excuse do you have to not take a kid fishing?
Roger Wolfe is an avid outdoorsman and has spent most of his life hunting and fishing and writes a weekly outdoors column for HD Media. He is a resident of Chapmanville and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.