Not only will the fishing in Arkansas be free on the weekend of June 10-12, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will provide plenty of free opportunities around the state for kids and adults to fish on Saturday, June 11smack dab in the middle of Free Fishing Weekend.    Four of the AGFC’s five state fish hatcheries – Andrew H. Hulsey Hatchery in Hot Springs, Joe Hogan Hatchery in Lonoke, C.B. “Charlie” Craig Hatchery in Centerton and William H. Donham Hatchery in Corning – again will be open to the public for the traditional fishing derbies on the Saturday of Free Fishing Weekend. Each hatchery will have a pond stocked with catfish, and all ages are welcome from 8 a.m. until noon.
   “We’re doing family derbies now at the hatcheries,” J.J. Gladden, Assistant Chief of Education, said. “We want good family fun, everybody going out and having a good time together.”
   Some bait will be provided at the sites, but all participants will need to bring their own fishing equipment (rod and reels, hooks, bobbers and so forth). The Jim Hinkle Spring River Hatchery at Mammoth Spring will not be part of the June 11 event because of ongoing renovations there.
  And if you’re unable to make one of the hatchery fishing derbies, there still are 30 fishing derbies scheduled around the state with the AGFC’s Fishing Education program. A list of fishing derby locations can be found at
   New this year will be a Fishing 101 class at the four participating hatcheries, to be held from 4:30-6 p.m. on Friday, June 10. “We’ll have people at each one of those hatcheries to teach people who might need some help so they can be ready for the derby the next day. For the Saturday derbies, we’re scaling those back to be more hands-on, basically teaching participants who need a few tips such as the way to tie a knot, bait a hook, and teaching them the proper techniques,” Gladden said.
   All anyone has to do is register. Click the link below to get a head start on everyone else and register now, either for the Fishing 101 class (capped to the first 50 registered at each site), the derbies (no cap on attendance), or both. 
    And don’t forget, Free Fishing Weekend allows anyone of any age to fish in Arkansas for free from noon Friday, June 10, to midnight Sunday, June 12, as proclaimed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. No fishing license or trout permit is required. Other laws regarding the body of water being fished must be followed.
Register for Fishing 101 and June 11 Fishing Derbies