Brian and Lori Swauger and their 10-year-old daughter, Haley, all of Lower Burrell, with a nice catch of trout from opening day of the 2016 trout season at Deer Lakes Park.
If you want to introduce a child or family member of any age to fishing, here’s your chance.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is once again this year sponsoring a number of “family fishing festivals” around the state.
Six events have been or will be held in May and June.
At each, families can try their hand at catching fish at no cost – no licenses are required so long as you preregister – with all equipment and bait provided. There will be plenty of instruction and guidance available for those who need or want it, too.
“Family fishing festivals are a convenient way to introduce friends and family to the sport of fishing at no cost,” said the commission’s education section manager, Carl Richardson. “These are educational events designed for families with little or no fishing experience. Participants will learn basic fishing skills and have an opportunity to practice those skills while fishing during the program.”
One of the festivals will be held at North Park Lake in Allegheny County from 2-6 p.m. on May 21. Another will be held at the Pleasant Valley day use area at Moraine State Park in Butler County from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on June 18.
Registration for the North Park program can be done here.
Registration for the Moraine program can be completed here.
Other events were held at Gifford Pinchot State Park in York County and May 14 at Green Lane County Park in Montgomery County earlier in May. Additional ones are set for June 11 at Francis Slocum State Park in Luzerne County and June 26 at Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County.
The hope, of course, is that the festivals will inspire people to try fishing again and again.
“We know that once people try it, particularly kids, they will see that fishing is a great recreational activity and they will want to do it more,” Richardson said.
There will be two subsequent chances to do that.
The commission is holding two “fish for free” days statewide, on May 29 and July 4. Anyone, regardless of age, can fish on those days without first having to buy a license. All seasons and creel limits still apply.