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May 17, 2011

MADISON - People of all ages can fish for free in Wisconsin on June 4 and 5, the state's Free Fishing Weekend, and now it's easier than ever for newbies to cast a few.

Free fishing clinics are set at more than a dozen locations, with more being added all the time; and rods, reels and other gear are on loan for free from nearly 50 locations, says Theresa Stabo, aquatic education director with the Department of Natural Resources.

"Every day is free fishing day for kids 15 and under, so Free Fishing Weekend offers a great opportunity for their parents, friends and older teenagers to join in and find out if fishing is for them," Stabo says. "Instruction and equipment are available at many locations to make it even easier to give it a try."

The weekend is about introducing people of all ages to fishing, Stabo says. "If you're an avid angler, consider taking an adult who has never fished before. Share your passion with someone else."

The free weekend suits the budget conscious too, as fishable waters are close to home for just about everybody.

All the waters of the state are open, including Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and rivers bordering Wisconsin. Residents and nonresidents of all ages can fish without a fishing license (or trout or salmon stamps) over these two days. However, all other fishing regulations apply, including how many fish anglers can keep and limits on the minimum size of fish they can keep.

Free fishing clinics - some aimed at kids and some intended for the whole family - are set for more than a dozen locations so far, with more being posted as details come in. Most clinics are put on by local fishing and conservation clubs, according to Kim Anderson, DNR aquatic education associate. Some of the clinics are sponsored by Wisconsin State Parks on Sunday, which is also State Parks Open House Day, with free admission to state parks, making it an exceptional value.

Fishing rods and reels available for loan from 47 DNR locations

Many of the fishing clinics provide all the equipment people need to fish. But people who cannot or do not want to attend a clinic can borrow fishing equipment from dozens of DNR state parks and offices. Call ahead to the listed contact people to make sure equipment is available, and to arrange to pick the equipment up as DNR service centers are only open limited hours.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Theresa Stabo (608) 266-2272; Kim Anderson (608) 261-6431

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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