FISH BUSTER'S: License-free freshwater weekend is April 5-6

Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 at 08:00 AM.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) scheduled the first of four license-free recreational fishing days on the first full weekend in April each year (April 5-6, this year), because it coincides with a productive freshwater fishing period, when the weather is usually pleasant. Many of Florida’s recreational sport fishes, including black bass, bluegill and redear sunfish, move into shallow waters to spawn during spring, making them more available for anglers to catch.

License-free freshwater fishing weekends are a great time to introduce other family members, friends and neighbors to fishing and see if they and you would like to take up the sport. Besides enjoying the fun of reeling in a fish, many people find recreational fishing to be a good motivator to enjoy the great outdoors and living a more active, healthy and natural lifestyle.

During license-free freshwater fishing weekends (the first weekend in April and the second weekend in June), no recreational fishing license is required. However, all other bag limit and season, gear and size restrictions apply.

To further encourage recreational fishing, the FWC will conduct a special contest during April to collect photos of anglers. All you have to do is post a photo of your family fishing in Florida’s fresh waters on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #FLfish (or  use #FWC-FamilyFishing). In return, the FWC will enter you into a drawing for one of six surprise packages, each including a $50 gift card from Bass Pro Shops, thanks to TrophyCatch; a Glen Lau video library on DVD; and assorted fishing lures, hooks, line and goodies to make your next trip even more productive.

Submitted photos must be your own. Editing software must not be used, and the photo cannot include inappropriate content. Photos should be taken during April while freshwater fishing in Florida and include multiple anglers enjoying their day together on the water. The FWC may subsequently use the photos for educational or outreach purposes.

So where will you go (FWC link) for your next freshwater fishing trip? Plenty of resources are available online to help you choose. Start by visiting and under “Freshwater Fishing” pick “Sites/Forecasts.” There you can find the top destinations for pursuing bass, bream, catfish and other species in 2014, as well as regional forecasts and tips for local waters; information on all 80 FWC fish management areas; and links to our boat ramp finder and freshwater fish attractor locations. Another good resource is the Take Me Fishing website.

Freshwater anglers have enjoyed wonderful fishing so far in 2014 across Florida, and this spring should see a continuation of that trend.

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