CLINTON — Each year the Iowa Department of Natural Resources takes a break from the rule book and allows Iowans the opportunity to fish for free — that annual tradition starts Friday.
The Iowa DNR invites anglers of all ages to fish without a license for the entire weekend to sample the local waterways and see what all the buzz is about fishing.
“It’s definitely a positive for this area because I know a lot of people that like to go fishing but maybe don’t do it or may not have the time to do it and don’t necessarily want to purchase a license for the year,” Clinton County Conservation Naturalist Jill Schmidt said. “This weekend gives them an opportunity to fish Friday, Saturday and Sunday, without a license, letting them try it out and see if they like it.”
And according to Iowa DNR’s chief of fisheries Joe Larscheid, it should be a good weekend for fishing.
While he said water bodies across the state are providing excellent fishing right now, the big target during the free fishing weekend is blue gill because those fish are close to shore and aggressive. The best way to catch bluegills, according to Larscheid, is to use small tackle – little hooks, a bobber no larger than a quarter, a 4-pound test line and small bait.
Also, blue gill fish are ideal prey for first-time fishermen and young anglers.
“This is a great time to take kids fishing because the chance for success is pretty good,” he said.
One thing that could put a damper on that fishing success is the recent rain and flooding that have occurred on the Mississippi River over the past few days.
Iowa DNR Conservation Officer Luke Webinger said good fishing usually indicates good water levels and high water quality, and upon observation, the river doesn’t seem to have either of those characteristics.