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Kentucky's license-free fishing days coming next weekend

By STEVE VANTREESE

If the cost of a license is enough to hold you back but you'd still like to try your hand at fishing, next weekend is your chance.

Kentucky's annual Free Fishing Days are June 7-8, days when license requirements are waived across the state for both residents and non-residents. Other fishing regulations like creel limits and minimum sizes are still in force, of course, but you won't need the normal licensing to participate.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources sponsors Free Fishing Days each year, designating the special opportunity days so people who are right on the verge of sampling fishing â “ but who are deterred by merely what a license costs â “ can have a go at it.

KDFWR managers want to promote fishing. They want more anglers in the ranks to help support the fish resources through license sales. They figure, likely correctly, that if more people had a chance to fish for free a time or two that they would recognize that it's something they'd like to continue â “ and the cost of a license would be well worth its returns.

A regular annual statewide Kentucky fishing license is $20 for most residents â “ in reality, often about the equivalent in gasoline to what it would take to drive to an inviting fishing hole and back. Someone who wants to get licensed to both fish and hunt can do it with $30 for an annual combination license.

Folks should remember, however, that Kentucky's senior/disabled license for all fishing and hunting for those 65 and older or those certified as disabled is just $5 a year. Too, kids younger than 16 can fishing in Kentucky with no license requirement.

Even just now-and-then anglers should recall that Free Fishing Days pertain only to licensing and not private waters privileges. Permission is still required to fish on or around privately owned ponds and lakes or from the private shorelines of rivers and streams.

In this region, however, public waters are plentiful.

The KDFWR has gone one better for people who lack boats and seek productive shoreline fishing opportunities. The Fishing in Neighborhoods program stocks small public waters statewide for just this sort of fishers. Nearby, FINs waters include Paducah's Noble Park Lake and Mike Miller Park Lake at Draffenville.

n Hikers and walkway benefactors of sorts are invited to turn out next Saturday for a National Trails Day observance in the Land Between the Lakes â “ a maintenance project on the Hillman Heritage National Recreation Trail.

Trail fixer-uppers, indeed, will meet at the Hillman Ferry Campground gatehouse at 9 a.m. June 7 for an orientation and safety briefing on the day's project. Volunteers should bring a lunch and water as well as wear appropriate clothing, with long pants and boots.

The LBL's U.S. Forest Service staffers will provide tools and gear, including gloves, safety glasses and tick repellent. Contact Emily Cleaver, 1-800-455-5897 or 270-924-2007, or e-mail lblinfo@fs.fed.us for details on the National Trails Day project or other volunteering opportunities.

Beyond the maintenance outing, staffers of the Woodlands Nature Station at 11 a.m. next Saturday will lead an easy walk along the Long Creek Trail. The trail is a .5-mile paved walkway accessible to disabled people. Walk guides will share information on the ecosystems along the trail and in the Woodlands Nature Watch Area. Check in at the Nature Station before starting time.

n Kentucky's statewide spring squirrel hunting season continues â ¦ and will as long as spring lasts. The way it works out this year, squirrel season runs through the final day of spring, June 20.

The spring season, nowadays five weeks, opened May 17. Combined with the regular long-running squirrel season that opens the third Saturday in August and stretches all the way through February, the opportunities to pursue squirrels are considerably more generous than those for any other game species.

Spring regulations are like those for the traditional season, including a daily bag limit of six squirrels. The bullfrog season also continues. Hunters, giggers and anglers of sorts can go frogging night and day all the way through Oct. 31.

Night hunting for coyotes with the use of artificial lights â “ a first-time season for Kentucky â “ comes to a close tonight. Coyotes can continue to be taken in year-round, non-seasonal hunting, but lights are out with the onset of June.

Steve Vantreese is a freelance outdoors writer. E-mail outdoors news items to outdoors@paducahsun.com or phone 270-575-8650.

SNbS

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