Free fishing weekend

QCS Staff

– Saturday allows New Mexicans a day to fish without a license or habitat stamp.

The New Mexico Game Commission has announced Saturday is a day of free fishing. All anglers, residents and non-residents can fish public waters with no license or habitat stamp required.

Marty Frentzel, chief of information and outreach for New Mexico Game and Fish, said getting youngsters into fishing is a big part of what the free fishing day is all about.

“When you get kids out on the water, they tend to grow up with greater respect for natural resources,” Frentzel said. “It’s important to reach them at a young age.”

Frentzel said children as young as 3 can be taught fishing fundamentals.

“The main thing is to teach the kids to keep the lines in the water,” Frentzel said. “They have a tendency to want to reel the lines in too fast.”

The game and fish department conducted a study in 2001 that showed more than 198,000 licensed anglers in New Mexico. Frentzel said there were about 57,000 anglers 12 years old and under to add to those figures.

“A firm back east conducted a poll which found that 85 percent of U.S. children are interested in learning how to fish,” he said. “This weekend offers a perfect opportunity.”
Bluegill, catfish and crappie are good species for children to fish for, Frentzel said.

“I believe the lakes in eastern New Mexico are well-stocked with those fish,” he said.
Frentzel said there is no need to have children begin with cane poles.

“It’s good to get them used to casting at a young age,” he said. “Most kids come to realize that fishing is more about being with friends than catching fish.”

After the free fishing day, a license will be required for 12-year-olds and older. Children age 12-14 can purchase a license for $5. The cost goes up to $15 for those 15 and older.