By Tamas Mondovics
Saturday, June 6, is Free Fishing Day in Tennessee, and anyone (resident or nonresident) may fish free without a license in Tennessee’s public waters.
Incidentally, there is no shortage of great fishing spots in and around the region for anglers to choose from, including several great locations within Johnson County.
According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials, catfish are now being stocked at several locations across East Tennessee ahead of Free Fishing Day, followed by “Youth Fishing Week” (June 6-12).
The TWRA is an independent state agency of the state of Tennessee with the mission of managing the state’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, as well as responsibility for all wildlife-related law enforcement activities. Officials emphasized that while traditional TWRA sponsored fishing events are canceled due to Covid-19, many locations will receive fish to promote quality fishing.
One such local fishing spot enjoyed by many, and included on TWRA’s list for all anglers to visit is Ralph Stout Park in the heart of Mountain City. Even better, youth anglers may fish free the entire week beginning this Saturday and running through the following Friday, June 12.
“Free Fishing Week always follows Free Fishing Day in June,” officials said. “Children, ages 15 and younger can fish for free all week in Tennessee’s public waters, agency owned and operated lakes and Tennessee State Parks.”
Normally, ages 13 and older must have a fishing license to fish in Tennessee, and there are a variety of fishing licenses available for residents and non-residents, including a junior license for residents ages 13-15.
“This day and week are annual events in Tennessee and are great opportunities to introduce children to the joys and excitement of a day on the water catching fish,” TWRA said. “Not only is fishing a great family activity, but it also helps make us more aware of our natural environment.”
Locations in Region 4 to be stocked with catfish next week include:
•Ralph Stout Park in Mountain City, Johnson County
•Carter County Workforce Development Pond in Elizabethton, Carter County
•Pat Brown’s Goose Pond in Erwin, Unicoi County
•Allen Branch Pond (Cherokee National Forest) near Newport, Cocke County
•Concord Park in Knoxville, Knox County
•Fountain City Lake in Knoxville, Knox County
•Indian Mountain State Park in Jellico, Campbell County
Additionally, catfish were stocked in Alcoa Duck Pond in Blount County last week.
Non-residents have the option of buying a 1-day, 3-day, 10-day or annual license. Those licenses are available with and without trout fishing privileges. Fishing licenses can be purchased at some local sporting goods stores, online at www.tnwildlife.org or by calling 888-814-8972.
To view the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency interactive online fishing guide or to obtain Tennessee fishing licenses for immediate use apply online. For information about additional nearby TWRA boat ramps, visit www.tn.gov/twra/gis/boating.html.