first fish

Idaho’s Free Fishing Day this Saturday is a good opportunity to teach children how to fish.

This Saturday is Free Fishing Day in Idaho.

What that means is you don’t have to have a license to fish, but all other rules apply, such as limits, methods and species restrictions.

In the past, Idaho Fish and Game would be out in force with “Take Me Fishing” trailers, loaner gear and people to lend a hand for Free Fishing Day, but not this year. The Take Me Fishing trailers will still be employed this summer and whenever they are at a specific venue, no license is required.

“If you’re new to fishing, or new to fishing in Idaho, the state has thousands of places to fish, and you can catch a variety of species ranging from palm-sized bluegill to 9-foot sturgeon,” said Roger Phillips, of Fish and Game in a news release.

Statewide, Fish and Game stocks millions of fish, especially catchable-size trout, for anglers to catch.

“This past month, 48,950 fish were stocked Upper Snake Region,” said James Brower, of Fish and Game’s Upper Snake Region. “We're hoping people get out there and enjoy the opportunities out and about.”

Many of the stocked fish go into family-friendly ponds, such as the two ponds at Ryder Park south of Idaho Falls, Trail Creek Pond near Victor, or the Jim Moore Pond near Roberts. Other recommended fisheries include Ashton Reservoir, Birch Creek, Mackay Reservoir, Rexburg City Ponds, Lower Gem Lake Dam and East Harriman Fish Pond.

“In the month leading up to Free Fishing Day, Fish and Game hatcheries stocked about 400,000 catchable rainbow trout in waters throughout the state,” Fish and Game hatchery manager Bryan Grant said.

Catchable-size trout range in size between 10 and 13 inches.

Fish and Game offers an online tutorial for beginning anglers at idfg.idaho.gov/fish/learn-to.

A fish identification chart can be found at idfg.idaho.gov/fish-identification.

Another helpful online site is Fish and Game’s Fishing Planner: idfg.idaho.gov/ifwis/fishingplanner. This resource identifies different places to fish, stocking records and schedules, maps and seasons and rules.

“Fishing is a fun family activity, and easy for kids to learn. Remember when taking young kids out to make sure they wear lifejackets and bring lots of snacks, a hat and sunscreen,” Phillips said. “Be patient with kids and enjoy your time outdoors with them, even if the kids decide they’d rather explore nature or do something other than fishing.”

If you’d like to take advantage of the Take Me Fishing trailer, the Upper Snake Region plans to post it at these times and locations this summer:

• Ashton Reservoir boat ramp, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 17

• Trail Creek Pond in Victor, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 1

• Lower Gem Dam, Shelley, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 9

• Stoddard Mill Pond, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 20