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Remember to register for a free fishing derby this weekend

BY Randy Zellers

ON 06-07-2023


June 7, 2023

Randy Zellers

Assistant Chief of Communications

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be hosting its free annual fishing derbies this Saturday, but you have to let them know you’re coming to participate.

These fishing derbies are part of the Free Fishing Weekend celebration that occurs each year through a proclamation by the governor. The derbies are for youth 18 and younger and their families who would like to fish alongside them. Each derby will begin at 8 a.m. and ends around noon. Families are encouraged to bring a comfortable chair, fishing tackle for catfish and a cooler to carry snacks and bring home the day’s catch.

“We have changed the focus of these derbies to include the family members in the last few years and the response has been incredible,” J.J. Gladden, assistant chief of education for the AGFC, said. “The best fishing trips are those where people can share the experience with family and friends, and we want to foster that tradition from the first cast of a young angler’s experience.”

People interested in fishing at one of the derbies must register in advance.

Channel catfish raised in AGFC hatcheries provide plenty of fun during fishing derbies
“We want to provide a great experience for the anglers who are registered, but the hatchery ponds can only have so many guests before they become crowded or cause possible safety issues,” Gladden said. “So we have to have a limit to the number of participants. The required registration will ensure all anglers arrive with the best chance at having a memory of a lifetime.”

Visit the links below to register for one of the AGFC’s hatchery derbies:

In addition to the hatchery derbies, the AGFC also has provided catchable-sized catfish in nearly 50 Family and Community Fishing Program locations and an additional 25 fishing derbies being supported by local communities on June 10. Details for each of those derbies is available through



Kids in Chairs
The AGFC has fishing derbies across the state June 10 for Free Fishing Weekend.

Kids Sitting on Ground
Channel catfish raised in AGFC hatcheries provide plenty of fun during fishing derbies.

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