Each year on the first Saturday in June, anglers across the state pack their tackle boxes and get their fishing poles ready for the Texas tradition of Free Fishing Day. This year, Free Fishing Day lands on June 3 and Texans can fish on any public waterbody in the state without a fishing license.
“Free Fishing Day is a wonderful opportunity for anglers to share their knowledge, skills, equipment, and love for fishing with a new participant, yet it’s also more than that,” said Craig Bonds, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries Director. “We hope those trying fishing on this special day will also learn that purchasing a license is an act of conservation. A fishing license purchase is one of the simplest and most effective way people can support fisheries science and management.”
Anglers help the conservation effort with their license purchase with 100 percent of fishing license fees going to TPWD. The fees fund on-the-ground conservation efforts such as fish stocking that help make Texas one of the best places in the country to fish. For more information on licensing, visit the TPWD license page.
To help celebrate Free Fishing Day, TPWD offers multiple resources to provide fun, high-quality fishing opportunities to anglers of all skill levels and all ages.
- Fishing 101 – Learn the basics of fishing with tips and a variety of videos. Find resources for how to get started, safety, supplies and gear, casting and baiting, cleaning and storing fish on the TPWD Learn to Fish webpage.
- Visit Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center – Grab your family for a day of free fishing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is offering free admission for everyone, and visitors will have a chance to catch a tagged catfish and win a prize during “Fish Tag Friendzy”. In addition, the Texas Fish Art Contest finalist and honorable mentions will be displayed from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Visitor Center. Hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks are on sale beginning at 11 a.m. and available while supplies last. Visitors can watch the dive show at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., followed by hatchery tram tours immediately after each show. Visitors may bring their own fishing tackle or borrow gear from the TFFC.
- Visit Sea Center Texas – Grab your fishing poles, bait and lawn chairs for a free fishing event for youth ages 2-17. It takes place from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. June 3 at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson. Visitors can also explore aquaria and exhibits of Texas marine life, the largest redfish hatchery in the world, 36 one-acre fish culture ponds, an outdoor wetland exhibit and a 20-foot touch pool that allows visitors to gently touch marine animals such as blue crabs, hermit crabs, stone crabs, snails and even anemones.
- Find a Place to Fish close to Home – Texas offers numerous lakes and rivers with access to fishing throughout the state. The Lake Finder page on the TPWD website can help anglers find lakes by region or alphabetically. Access to information and fishing tips on more than 150 lakes are available. Check out the River Fishing page to find out where to get access to Texas’ flowing waters.
- Saltwater Fishing from a Pier – There are numerous wheelchair accessible fishing piers available for public use up and down the coast. Piers are a great place for the entire family to try saltwater fishing without the need for a boat. Public access sites can be found in every bay system.
- Go Fishing in the City – TPWD’s Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes provide urban angling access for the entire family across the state. In all, 18 Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes provide a great opportunity to catch channel catfish including five in Dallas-Fort Worth, four in the Houston area, two each in the Austin and San Antonio areas, and one each in Amarillo, College Station, San Angelo, Waco and Wichita Falls. Information on lake locations and how-to fishing videos can be found on the Neighborhood Fishin’ website.
- Community Fishing Lakes – Live Oak City (CFL), Waterloo Park Pond (CFL) and William Blair Jr. Park Pond East (CFL) are all hosting special events for Free Fishing Day. TPWD Inland Fisheries Dallas-Fort Worth District staff will be on hand at William Blair Jr. Park Pond for Representative Crockett’s Fish N’ Kids event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. TPWD staff will provide casting education, supply loaner tackle and help the families fish. A display of local fish species that occur in local waters will be on site for attendees to view and learn about fish morphology and biology. Check out all the community fishing lakes in Texas which can be great options for Free Fishing Day and year-round.
- Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge – From 10 a.m. to noon, the Friends of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is hosting a special “Refuge Rocks” fishing event for children ages 4-16.
- Go Kayak Fishing on a Texas Paddling Trail: With more than 3,700 named streams, 15 major rivers and some 3,300 miles of tidal shoreline along the Gulf Coast, Texas offers unlimited possibilities for paddling adventures and angling opportunities of all types. Enjoy improved and maintained fishing and paddling access to rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, bayous and bays on any of the 78 official Texas Paddling Trails available throughout the state.
- Fish in a State Park: Lake Livingston, Lake Arrowhead, Galveston Island, Sea Rim, LBJ, Bonham, Eisenhower, Martin Creek and Ray Roberts are offering a variety of Free Fishing Day events. Check out the state parks event calendar for more information. Although June 3 is designated as Free Fishing Day in Texas, fishing is free year-round at every Texas State Park.
- Buy a License: The Year-from-Purchase All-Water Fishing Package for Texas residents offers a great value, allowing anglers to fish in fresh and salt water. It’s valid from the date of purchase through the end of the purchase month of the next license year. (Example: License purchased on March 13, 2023 expires March 31, 2024)
Learn more about Free Fishing Day at TakeMeFishing.org.