Gov. Justice announces Free Fishing Days weekend to take place June 8–9

WVDNR announces details about kids fishing derbies at Bowden Hatchery and Little Beaver State Park

CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia’s Free Fishing Days will return June 8–9 and encouraged anglers and their families to take advantage of this annual opportunity to fish for free in public lakes, streams and rivers around the state.

“With school letting out for the summer and vacation season upon us, West Virginia’s Free Fishing Days weekend is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy all the beauty and goodness of our great state,” Gov. Justice said. “This opportunity only comes once a year, so I want to encourage everyone to take advantage of it and see why West Virginia is surely and truly the best place in the world for families to enjoy a fishing adventure.”

West Virginia’s Free Fishing Days are part of a nationwide effort to make fishing more accessible to the public. During these two days, residents and nonresidents can fish for free without having to buy a fishing license.

“One of the best things about West Virginia’s Free Fishing Days is that it can be enjoyed by new and experienced anglers and is designed to help current license holders introduce their friends and family to fishing,” West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Brett McMillion said. “We hope this opportunity will encourage folks to try fishing for the first time or rekindle their love for the sport.” 

Anglers who enjoy Free Fishing Days and want to continue fishing after this weekend can purchase or renew their fishing license at

Free Fishing Days Derbies
As part of Free Fishing Days, the WVDNR will host fishing derbies at the Bowden Fish Hatchery and Little Beaver State Park on June 8. The events are free to attend and intended for youth anglers ages 3–14. Kids must be registered by an adult in order to participate and win prizes.

The Little Beaver State Park derby is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon. Registration will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and kids should bring their own fishing gear. A limited amount of bait will be provided. 

The Bowden Fish Hatchery derby is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on June 8. Registration will start at 7:30 a.m., followed by hour-long fishing sessions for kids based on grade level.

  • Preschool and Kindergarten: 8-9 a.m.
  • First and Second Grade: 9-10 a.m.
  • Third–Fifth Grade: 10:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Sixth–Eighth Grade: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

For more information about West Virginia’s Free Fishing Days, visit