LITTLE ROCK – From noon Friday, June 8, through midnight Sunday night, June 10, no angler will need a fishing license or trout permit to fish anywhere in Arkansas. 

An annual tradition sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and approved by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Free Fishing Days furnishes many people the opportunity to enjoy the amazing angling The Natural State has to offer.

“Recruiting the next generation of anglers is always at the front of our list,” said AGFC Director Pat Fitts. “Free Fishing Weekend is a great way for every Arkansan to help us in this effort by bringing along a friend of family member to give fishing a try.” 

Fitts says an annual fishing license is only $10.50, but the additional act of needing the license can be a barrier to trying out angling for the first time or for people who only want to go once or twice a year. 

“Sometimes just making the extra stop to a sporting goods store or purchasing a license (at may intimidate people from giving this great thing we call the outdoors a chance,” Fitts said. “Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to get everyone out and enjoy all the work we do for them throughout the state.”

Fitts says the weekend also is great for parents with kids who want to learn how to fish.

“People under 16 don’t need a license any time, but parents don’t want to pay the extra money for a license to find out if their kids will enjoy fishing,” Fitts said. “Make it a fun family outing and you may just find out that it will be the best $10.50 you’ve ever spent to increase family time.”

If you’re looking to get the kids on a near sure-thing fishing experience, Batten also suggests visiting one of the AGFC’s five fish hatcheries from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 9.

“Each hatchery puts on a fishing derby the Saturday during Free Fishing Weekend,” Fitts said. “What better place to try and catch some fish than where we grow them?”

This year, all hatchery derbies will be held for anglers 15 and under. Each child must be supervised by an adult. Kids may catch and keep up to three catfish (or three trout at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery). In addition to fishing fun, participants also will be able to compete in casting contests and win prizes for fish caught.

Contact the hatchery nearest you for details on its derby:

  • Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery, Hot Springs, 877-525-8606
  • Charlie Craig State Fish Hatchery, Centerton, 877-795-2470
  • William Donham State Fish Hatchery, Corning, 877-857-3876
  • Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery, Lonoke, 877-676-6963
  • Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery, Mammoth Spring, 877-625-7521.

Visit for information on other fishing derbies around the state