I want to suggest that no matter your upbringing, no matter your spiritual condition or no matter the direction of your moral compass that there is one four letter word we all love, and that is the word FREE. You’ll be pleased to know that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism(KDWPT) has catered to our love of FREE by designating Saturday and Sunday June 1st and 2nd as free fishing days throughout Kansas. That’s right, free fishing days throughout the state, meaning that no matter your age, all Kansas residents can fish anywhere in our state on those two days with NO fishing license!
And speaking of fishing licenses, just a reminder that Kansas seniors age 65 – 74 are no longer exempt from needing a fishing license (so much for the FREE concept.) As you’ll recall, it was decided that the state was missing out on too many FREE federal matching funds by providing free fishing licenses to that age group, so in an attempt to bolster an ever-decreasing KDWPT budget, Kansas seniors in that age bracket are now required to purchase an annual fishing license, but at a much-reduced rate, still making it a pretty darn good deal.
To coincide with the Kansas free fishing weekend, Glen Elder State park staff is hosting their 9th Annual Youth Fishing Tournament at Glen Elder (Waconda) Lake. The event is June 1st from 8 am to 3 pm. Check- in begins at 7:30 am and boats leave the dock at 8. Fishing ends at 1 followed by a free lunch and an awards ceremony. There will be prizes for the biggest fish of a given species and for the youth catching the most fish overall. The event is open to youth ages 7 – 14 and there is no fee (FREE again). All participants will receive a free fishing pole, fishing tackle, a t-shirt and a free lunch.
For a few years there have been some confusing rules and regulations concerning how and where baitfish can be caught and where they can be used. The need for these rules and regulations in the first place stems from the ever- increasing problem Kansas has with Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS), such as zebra mussels, Asian carp and white perch. These nuisance species are sometimes introduced into bodies of water accidentally and Kansas is trying its best to keep that from happening any further. To sum up the live bait regulations, “Wild-caught baitfish shall only be used on the body of water where they are taken (caught), except that bluegill and green sunfish may be taken from a non-Aquatic Nuisance Species designated lake and used for bait. If taken on a flowing stream or river, wild-caught baitfish shall not be transported upstream across any dam or natural barrier. Anglers who purchase bait from a commercial dealer are required to carry the receipt for the live baitfish purchase while fishing. Fish may not be transported alive from these ANS-designated waters and livewells and bilges must be drained before taking boats from these lakes.”
Page 2 of 2 - This summer, Kansas anglers will be fishing for money and prizes as Cabela’s is once again sponsoring its Fish for Millions program where tagged fish are eligible to win some amazing prizes. The Grand Prize Fish is worth 1 million or 2 million dollars depending on whether the lucky angler downloads the Cabela’s Mobile App on their smartphone prior to catching the fish (just my luck again- I don’t own a smartphone.) Other prizes include cash, Ranger boats, a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Cabela’s shopping sprees. To be eligible, anglers must first register online at www.cabelasfishformillions.com. Up to 1500 prizes may be awarded and dozens of tagged fish have been released in the following Kansas lakes: Milford, Clinton, El Dorado, Cedar Bluff, Hillsdale, Perry, Elk City, Big Hill and Toronto. The whole thing ends July 7, so check out Cabela’s Fish for Millions webpage for more details and to get signed up.
So there you have it. I feel like the KDWPT has done its part to get you out on the water at least once this summer, and I feel like I’ve done my part by passing all this info on to you. Now it’s up to you. So the first weekend of June, grab the grandkids, the neighbor kids, your wife, your girlfriend, you dad…well you get the picture – take someone fishin’. If FREE doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will!
Steve can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.