Free Fishing Day in Idaho is Saturday, which means anyone can fish without a license on any of Idaho’s waters open to fishing. Jennifer Jackson, regional conservation educator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s southeast region, said that the purpose of the Free Fishing Day is get families outdoors and let people try their hand at fishing in the most convenient and inexpensive way possible.
“Free Fishing Day is dedicated to getting families, and especially young people, into the outdoors,” she said. “We’re hoping those who never fished before will try it, and that those who haven’t fished for a long time will get reconnected with a very fun pastime.”
To that end, three special events are also scheduled in the southeast Idaho region to help celebrate Free Fishing Day.
The events offer helpful hands to assist the uninitiated with fishing basics, from baiting a hook to reeling in a catch. Poles, bait and other gear will be available for use at the events while supplies last. Each event runs from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Kelly Park Pond
Kelly Park Pond (upper pond), Soda Springs. This event is being hosted jointly by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the City of Soda Springs. Various prizes will be given away, and a hot dog lunch will be provided. The event is open to anglers aged 13 and younger, and an adult must accompany all kids under the age of eight. There is also a 3-fish limit. Access to the pond is via a -mile hiking trail beginning at the Kelly Park parking lot.
Grace Fish Hatchery
Grace. This event is hosted by Fish and Game. Anglers aged 14 and younger are welcome to participate. An adult must accompany all kids under the age of eight. Young anglers can keep up to two fish each.
Hawkins Reservoir, west of Marsh Valley. The Bureau of Land Management, Pocatello Field Office, will host this event. Anglers of all ages are welcome to fish at this event. Various prizes will be given away. Contact the BLM in Pocatello at 236-7500.
McTucker Ponds. Due to the potential for flooding at McTucker Ponds, the annual Free Fishing Day event set at that location has been canceled for this year.
The Idaho Fish and Game Department also encourages the public to take advantage of their Fishing Trailer program. The Fishing trailer is “Like a bookmobile for fishing,” said Jackson. “The trailer offers a mini free-fishing experience to any one who wants to take advantage of it.”
The trailer will park at various fishing locations throughout the summer, offering anyone who registers at the trailer to check out fishing equipment free-of-charge, and fishing instruction is offered to those who need help getting started. As long as the Fishing Trailer is parked at a given fishing site, those who have registered at the trailer are not required to purchase a fishing license.
Jackson gave the following update on the building of the Community Fishing Pond, located in the Edson Fichter Nature Area, near Indian Hills Elementary School.
“We are ready start construction as soon as the weather cooperates,” she said. “Right now, we can’t even access the site to start digging because the water levels are so high.” Idaho Fish and Game hoped to have the fishing pond open by late fall, but that schedule may be delayed due to the wet spring weather.
Jennifer Jackson said that Idaho Fish and Game is doing everything it can to have the right programs in place to best benefit the public.
“We encourage people to get out and enjoy a day on us,” she said.