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Derbies, other events highlight National Hunting and Fishing Day Saturday

BY Jim Harris

ON 09-25-2019


Sept. 25, 2019

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be holding several fishing derbies and other outdoors-related activities Saturday as part of National Hunting and Fishing Day in Arkansas. Gov. Asa Hutchinson proclaimed Saturday, Sept. 28, as National Hunting and Fishing Day in Arkansas, which concludes Arkansas Hunting and Fishing Week, which he also proclaimed recently.

Twelve free fishing derbies for families are scheduled for Saturday, including five specifically tied to National Hunting and Fishing Day and the AGFC’s Fisheries Division and the Aquatic Resource Education. Visit Arkansas State University Pond at Jonesboro, Cabot Community Pond, Entergy Park family community pond in Hot Springs, the Jim Hinkle Spring River Trout Hatchery in Mammoth Spring and Murphy Lake in Springdale for events AGFC’s Aquatic Resources Education has stocked the fisheries for that day (catfish at every pond; trout for the Spring River). The derbies are scheduled to run 8 a.m. to noon.

While the events are for all ages, anyone 16 or older must have a fishing license.

Also, the Fred Berry Conservation Education Center in Yellville will be celebrating the day from 9 a.m.-noon with a free kids fishing derby; fish, tackle and bait are provided.

Fishing derbies also have been planned for Saturday morning through Aquatic Resources Education and various sponsors: They are: Boyle Park Pond (in conjunction with the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program), the North Pulaski Community Pond, Fred Berry Pond in Marion, McCabe Park in Mountain Home, Bull Shoals Lake (sponsored by The Call in Boone and Newton counties), Bishop Park Ponds’ Lake Charles in Bryant, and Spring Lake in Yell County north of Danville.

AGFC’s nature centers in Jonesboro and Fort Smith will be getting into the big day as well.

At the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro, some of the activities for National Hunting and Fishing Day include two hours or archery basics (equipment provided, recommended for ages 6 and older), BB gun shooting (ages 6 and above), learning about the facility’s animals, alligator feeding at 3:30 p.m., and self-guided craft activities. The event runs 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. No registration is required.

At the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center in Fort Smith, visitors can go on a 10 a.m. hike, enjoy canoes and kayaks on Wells Lake from noon-2 p.m., learn all about mushrooms at 1 p.m., meet the facility’s animals at 2 p.m., and try laser shooting at 3 p.m.

National Hunting and Fishing Day was started in 1972 to recognize the contributions hunters and anglers have made to conservation in North America. The vast majority of America’s funding for conservation relies on hunting license sales in each state and special excise taxes collected from firearms, archery and ammunition sales. Championed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Hunting and Fishing Day was officially recognized after bills were passed in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and the official proclamation was signed by then-President Richard Nixon. 

For more information on Saturday’s fishing derbies, visit For more information of to find a nature center near you, visit Each center has its own Facebook page where planned events are posted as well as updates from daily activities.

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