ST. PAUL-Owning a fishing license won't be a barrier for Minnesota families looking to fish in parks this weekend.
The Department of Natural Resources is hoping to "reel" families into the outdoors through their Take-A-Kid Fishing Weekend. Friday, June 6, through Sunday, June 8, Minnesotans can fish without a license if they take their children 15 years or younger with them. On days outside of this event, residents 16 older are required to have a license to fish, with the exception of fishing in state parks. Those hoping to hook some trout will still need a trout stamp
The event is for the entire family to get involved and foster a commitment to fishing, said James Burnham, DNR recruitment, retention and reactivation coordinator.
"If we can get interested at a young age, we hope they can continue that activity for the rest of their lives," he said.
Fort Snelling State Park is a great a fishing spot for beginners, Burnham said. Like many other state parks, Fort Snelling loans fishing gear free.
Outside of Take-A-Kid Fishing Weekend, the DNR has other opportunities for fishing novices.
MinnAqua helps teachers and community organizations start or improve fishing programs, said Michelle Kelly, metro area MinnAqua educational specialist.
"We take kids close to home, right where they live, with a youth program, a school group, or recreational group," she said. Program specialists can also help individuals and families get connected with a local MinnAqua-supported organization. For more information, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/minnaqua/index.html.
For those hoping to get immediate and local hands-on experience, the DNR program Fishing in the Neighborhood stocks and maintains kid-friendly fish populations in lakes and ponds.
The program works with local communities to make fishing accessible to kids, Kelly said. A list of Fishing in the Neighborhood locations can be found on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/fin/index.html.
The most important piece of advice for beginners? Learn how tie a good fishing knot, Kelly said.