Fish for free in Arkansas Aug. 23
Aug. 17, 2023
Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved a special free fishing day during today’s regularly scheduled meeting at AGFC Headquarters. Anyone will be able to fish in Arkansas without a fishing license or trout permit Aug. 23.
The free fishing opportunity comes as a result of an update to the AGFC’s license system. The AGFC has been working with its license system vendor, PayIt Outdoors (formerly Sovereign Sportsman Solutions), to update the license purchasing experience for Arkansas hunters and anglers. The process will require the license-purchase system to be unavailable for data transfer Aug. 23, preventing anyone from purchasing or renewing their license on that day. All other fishing regulations will remain in place Aug. 23.
“We saw this as an opportunity to give anglers one more chance to get out and enjoy some free fishing on this day instead of worrying about whether their license was valid or not,” AGFC Deputy Director Spencer Griffith said when briefing the Commission about the need for the minute order yesterday. “The new license system will have some features that have been asked about in the past and will be more user-friendly with more of a customized experience for our customers.”
Agency culture and service to Arkansans from all ranks of AGFC staff played heavily in AGFC Director Austin Booth’s monthly report to the Commission. He opened with his gratitude toward vendors and participants in July’s Delta Waterfowl Duck Hunter’s Expo, which highlighted the well-established hunting and outdoors culture in Arkansas and the celebration of waterfowl hunting in the state. He then took a moment to praise the many Arkansas game wardens who received commendations and recognition during the agency’s annual Enforcement Awards Ceremony, held in July.
“One of the most important variables that we can control, both as an agency and as an individual, is the culture that we create here,” Booth said. “The three cultural mandates that the agency is focused on and that I want the public to hold us to are high performance, accountability and leadership. I want to thank the agency for the accomplishments that we made in Fiscal Year 2023, and let’s get to work in FY ’24.
The Commission also unanimously voted to waive all fees for boat docks and other permitted structures on Lake Conway during the lake’s drawdown and renovation. Landowners bordering the lake must still obtain and maintain permits under the agency’s official land use policy, but the fees associated with those permits will be waived during the renovation process. [LINK TO PRESENTATION]
In other business, the Commission:
Recognized two employees with a combined 35 years of experience conserving the natural resources of Arkansas and serving outdoors enthusiasts in The Natural State.
Heard the first reading of the following four regulations change proposals:
The establishment of a free bear tag for all resident bear hunters to gain valuable data on the number of hunters pursuing bears and the bear-hunting experience in Arkansas;
The establishment of a new $500 lifetime hunting and fishing license to be available to any resident 10 years old or younger, in accordance with legislation passed during the Arkansas General Assembly in April;
The adoption of specialized deer tags within the AGFC’s new license system, including Deer Management Assistance Program tags, chronic wasting disease management tags, CWD replacement tags and urban deer hunt tags; and
A clarification of regulations on tagging and checking harvested wild turkeys to keep the process consistent with tagging and checking deer and other big game.
ANGLER WITH TROUT
Fishing on Aug. 23 will not require a fishing license or trout permit, as the AGFC’s license system will be going through a planned update to improve user experience. Photo by Mike Wintroath.
AGFC Deputy Director Spencer Griffith spoke to Commissioners about the upcoming license system change at yesterday’s briefing and today’s meeting.
DIRECTOR AND CHAIRMAN
AGFC Director Austin Booth (left) and Commission Chairman Stan Jones of Alicia.
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