Weekend events encourage public to embrace outdoors

If the price of a license has kept you from going fishing, then your lucky day is approaching. Saturday is Free Fishing Day in Nevada and Arizona, a day when anglers can fish without a license.

Keep in mind that all other fishing regulations, such as limits and those governing legal methods of fishing, are still in effect.

Saturday is also National Get Outdoors Day, and the National Park Service is waiving entrance fees at all 397 national parks, including Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. Both are included on the Bassmaster Magazine list of 100 top bass lakes and are home to striped bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Other available species include catfish, bluegill, and green and redear sunfish.

As its name implies, the purpose of National Get Outdoors Day is to encourage people to do something outside and to promote a healthy lifestyle based on traditional and nontraditional activities. Another purpose is to promote an active outdoor lifestyle among the youth while encouraging them to embrace parks, forests, refuges and other public lands and waterways.

Having grown up when we played outside until the street lights came on or spent free time exploring the outdoors, it seems strange that we need to have an event to encourage kids to leave the house. I suppose it’s a sign of the times and reflects the unbalanced lifestyle that has come with technology. Perhaps Free Fishing Days and Get Outdoors Days will help put life back in balance.

If you are new to fishing or find Lake Mead or Lake Mohave to be intimidating, you might try a local urban pond. While they can be crowded, these small waters are a good place to take young anglers. On Saturday, fishing derbies are scheduled for Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City and Echo Canyon State Park near Pioche in Lincoln County.

Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross and the Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Department are hosting a fishing derby from 7 to 10 a.m. at Floyd Lamb Park. Loaner rods will be available, and Boy Scout Troop 555 will offer a pancake breakfast for $5 a person.

At Veterans Memorial Park, anglers can participate in a fishing derby and other activities designed to teach kids about various fish species, boating safety and the Southern Nevada outdoors. The first 300 kids who register for the derby will receive a free tackle box, but all participants will have a chance to win a prize. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

The annual fishing derby at Echo Canyon State Park will run from 8 a.m. to noon. It will include a tagged fish event with the chance to win prizes.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at

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