SALT LAKE CITY — If you’d like to catch a fish in Utah’s beautiful outdoors but you don’t have a fishing license, Free Fishing Day is the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
Free Fishing Day will be held on Saturday, June 12, and allows anyone to fish at any public waterbody in Utah without a license. It makes for a great family activity and is the perfect time to introduce your kids to fishing (or your neighbors and friends!) and get them outdoors. It’s a great day not only for beginning anglers to give fishing a try, but is also a fun time for experienced anglers too.
“Because you don’t need a license to fish that day, it’s the perfect time to take someone with you and introduce them to the sport,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Aquatics Section Assistant Chief Craig Walker said. “Early June is one of the best times to fish in Utah. All of the fish in the state, both warm-water and cold-water species, are active and willing to bite this time of the year. And with this year’s drought, it will be better to go fishing earlier in the summer as well. While some waterbodies may be impacted by low water levels this year, the majority of the fishing in Utah will be great.”
If you are taking someone fishing for their first time, you can commemorate their first catch with a fun DWR certificate. You can print out the certificate at home and fill in the details to document the occasion.
Anglers should note that while Free Fishing Day waives the requirement for having a fishing license, entrance fees to state parks and other areas will still apply.
Local community ponds are also a great option if you need a quick, close-to-home option for fishing. There are 57 located around Utah, and more information about each one can be found on the DWR website. Many of the community ponds will be stocked with channel catfish a few days before Free Fishing Day, as well. Anglers can also visit the Fish Utah map on the DWR website to find their nearest fishing area.
Here are some additional Utah lakes and reservoirs where you should see some good fishing and not too much crowding:
Highland Glen Park Pond (community pond in Utah County): Offers channel catfish, green sunfish and rainbow trout.
Willow Pond (community pond in Salt Lake County): Offers bluegill, channel catfish, green sunfish and rainbow trout.
Salem Pond (community pond in Utah County): Offers bluegill, channel catfish and rainbow trout.
Burraston Ponds (community pond in Juab County): Offers brown trout, carp and rainbow trout.
Utah Lake State Park (Utah County): Offers northern pike (which anglers should keep unless it has a tag), black bullhead catfish, black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, common carp, walleye, white bass, brown trout, Bonneville cutthroat trout, green sunfish, largemouth bass, yellow perch and June sucker (although anglers should immediately release these since they are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act). The white bass fishing is hot right now, and other species, like catfish, should provide good fishing action by June.
Learn the rules
You don’t need a license to fish on June 12, but the other fishing rules in Utah will still be in effect. Make sure you know the catch limits and rules for the waterbody you are fishing. The rules are available in the 2021 Utah Fishing Guidebook. And wherever you go fishing on Free Fishing Day, remember to recreate responsibly by packing out what you pack in and keeping the area free of trash.
Buy a license
Although you don’t need a fishing license on Free Fishing Day, a fishing license is required to fish any other day of the year. Fishing licenses are valid for 365 days and can be purchased online or from a DWR license agent.