OUTDOORS: ‘Free Fishing Days’ next weekend

BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor 

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has announced that it again will offer Free Fishing Days in June, on June 12 and 13.

Next weekend, anyone may fish in Missouri without having to buy a fishing permit, trout permit, or trout park daily tag. This is an annual event now, taking place statewide during the Saturday and Sunday following the first Monday in June.

Although you won’t need a permit to fish on these two days, other fishing regulations, such as the size and number of fish you may keep, remain in effect. Special permits still may be required at some county, city or private fishing areas. Trespass laws remain in effect on private property, of course.

The MDC reminds anglers that fishing permits are required before and after June 12-13 unless an angler is exempt by age or other factors.

Any Missouri resident 65 years old or older or 15 years old or younger or who is fishing on land they own is exempt from needing a fishing permit. There are several other exemptions, and these are delineated in the MDC’s Summary of Fishing Regulations booklet, available at any license vendor.

Missouri is a great place to fish, with more than a million acres of surface water, most of it providing fishing opportunities. More than 200 different fish species are found in Missouri, with more than 20 of these being game fish.

North Missouri provides excellent fishing in several rivers (the Grand is one of the best), many lakes, and thousands of farm ponds. In addition to these great fishing waters, south Missouri also offers clearwater streams and rainbow and brown trout.

With squirrel season and fishing both well underway, there’s still one more outdoor season coming up soon, the annual bullfrog season that will open at sunset June 30 (the only season we have that opens at sunset).

Bullfrogs are somewhat unique in that they may be taken by hunting or fishing methods; however, you must possess the correct license for the method you are using.

A special warning is necessary for both fishing and frog hunting: Be sure to use tick repellent before going. Ticks are very plentiful this year and they seem to like to gather in the tall grass that often surrounds bodies of water.

Spray before you go and check yourself carefully when you’re back.

The MDC has announced the results of its chronic wasting disease (CWD) deer testing program last fall and winter.

It collected more than 15,300 samples, mostly from hunter-harvested deer, and confirmed 44 new cases of CWD. Two were found in Putnam County and one in Pulaski County, neither of which had any previously-known cases of CWD.

In local and area counties, Linn had six (6) infected deer and Macon five (5), but none were detected in Livingston County.

There will be some changes made to the department’s CWD management zones based on these latest findings. Those should be announced soon.

I’m hoping the latest round of rainfall and warmer weather has awakened local area bass, as I’m itching to take the ultralight rod and reel out with some surface lures and hang into a “big ’un.”

It’s fishing time!

(Bill Wehrle’s “Outdoors” column appears in the C-T every Saturday)