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Iowa’s free fishing weekend ends Sunday

Wetlaufer family from Cedar Falls, Iowa, enjoyed fishing at Clear Lake on Saturday, June8th, 2013.
Wetlaufer family from Cedar Falls, Iowa, enjoyed fishing at Clear Lake on Saturday, June8th, 2013.  Photo by Jody Spear.

CLEAR LAKE – Iowa residents may fish without a license on June 7, 8 and 9 as part of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources free fishing weekend.

Free fishing weekend is the first weekend in June each year. It allows Iowans an opportunity to try fishing without purchasing a license. All other regulations remain in place.

“We are experiencing some of excellent fishing across the state right now at Twelve Mile Lake, Green Valley Lake, Clear Lake, Meadow Lake, and our trout streams and our fisheries at Prairie Rose Lake, Badger Creek Lake, Lake Pahoja and Lizard Lake are being improved to provide better fishing in the future,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of the Iowa DNR’s Fisheries Bureau.

“We hope that someone who gives fishing a try during free fishing weekend will enjoy the experience and want to go fishing more often and become a license holder,” Larscheid said.

Free fishing weekend is scheduled during what is traditionally the time when bluegills are close to shore and aggressive.

“This is a great time to take kids fishing because the chance for success is pretty good,” he said.

The free fishing opportunity drew early morning fishermen and fishing enthusiasts to Clear Lake Saturday morning.

“People were here with their boats as early as 5:30 this morning,” said one onlooker. “There’s been a steady flow of boats going out.

Brothers, Dan and Ryan Wetlaufer, from Cedar Falls were just about to head for the ramp with their sons, Sean and Drake. “We’re here to catch ourselves some Walleye and Yellow Bass,” said Dan. “Mostly for the Walleye,” he added with a grin.

Sean and Drake were busy checking on the bait. Drake, being the adventurous sort, pulled out a black, slimy little creature with his bare hand, “It’s a leach,” he said, holding it up.

They were ready to bait-up, head for the ramp and catch some Walleye.

Other than the free days, people are required to have a fishing license to fish in Iowa. Prices and other information are available at

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