No license needed for this free fishing weekend in Iowa

CLEAR LAKE — Iowans need to dust off their rod and reel and get ready for free fishing this weekend.

Joe Larschied, the fisheries bureau chief with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says it’s a family-friendly event where many parents or grandparents teach their kids or grandkids the time-honored skill.

“It’s been an Iowa tradition and it’s always the first full weekend in June that we allow any resident to fish for free,” Larschied says.

You don’t have to worry about your fishing license for the three-day weekend, today through Sunday, but there are important things to remember when casting a line.

“The same rules apply, so you don’t need a fishing license but bag limits and length limits and everything else still apply,” Larschied says. “Please, if you don’t have your fishing regulation booklet, look online and make sure you understand the rules for the given lake or river that you’re fishing.”

He says you won’t have to travel far to find some sort of fishing activity this weekend.

“There’s a whole lot of events,” he says. “I recommend people go to our website,, and look for all the free fishing events in your area. A lot of the county boards, fishing organizations and various clubs and the Iowa DNR are sponsoring events across the state.”

Last year, the DNR stocked 165-million fish statewide, topping the previous record by nine-million fish.