Minnesota state parks have made it easy—and free —to experience the fun of fishing. “We’ve eliminated some of the barriers that were keeping today’s busy families from getting out fishing,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “Now, you and your family can try your hand at fishing – at no cost – before investing in equipment or purchasing a fishing license.” People are able to fish from shore without a license in most state parks on a lake or river that doesn’t require a trout stamp.

Other rules and regulations still apply, such as the number and size of fish that the person can keep. Details, including a map showing where to find the free fishing opportunities, can be found online. Free fishing kits, which include a rod and tackle, are loaned out on a first-come, first-served basis at many state parks, thanks to funding from the DNR’s MinnAqua program. “These fishing kits make it easy for families,” said Jeff Ledermann, education and skills leader for DNR’s fish and wildlife outreach section. “The many fishing opportunities state parks offer are a great way for families to have fun, learn together and build a tradition that connects them to the outdoors.”

Beginners and those who haven’t fished in awhile can brush up on their fishing skills at one of many I Can Fish! programs this summer. These hands-on learning opportunities ($5 for adults and free for children under age 12) cover fish identification, casting, knot-tying and more. Fishing gear is provided for use during the programs, and fishing licenses are not required. Experienced anglers will demonstrate skills and then give participants time to practice. Participants will also get a small tackle box to take home with them.

For a complete schedule of I Can Fish! programs and information on how to register, visit www.mndnr.gov. For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).