I'm not sure if it has ever come up in our conversations, but I like to fish in my free time. It's relaxing like yoga, but I get to eat something wild at the end of the day. I'm always amazed how many people I meet say something like "I've never been fishing..." or "I haven't fished since I was a kid..." It's a perfect outdoor activity and sport that's so cheap to get into.

Beyond having a ten dollar rod and reel and a dollar lure or two, you normally need a fishing license to lawfully fish the public waters within the state border. It's a full $25 anytime of the year, and while I've spent my entire adulthood complaining about that fee... I mean, come on, why tax a person to catch fish? As I started traveling to other states to catch their fish, I realized how reasonable that $25 license is these days. Honestly, Kansas charges $15 per day, Texas charges $68, and there are states that charge you $150 for a license that's only good for three days. Oklahoma, while not the old $12/year cheap, is still cheap at $25... That being said, everyone in America is awarded the privilege to fish any public body of water in the state for free one weekend each year, and that weekend is coming up.

While it's a bummer that our weekend coincides with Texas' free fishing day, it is 100% free to fish Oklahoma lakes and rivers the first weekend of June each and every year. In 2021, it's Saturday and Sunday the 6th and 7th. So the next time you hear all these Karen's with boring personalities say "There's nothing to do here..." remind them that there is always something to do... in this case, take the family and go fishing for a morning or all weekend. Every time I've driven past Elmer Thomas Park on a Saturday for the last month, there's been dozens of anglers out there casting a line.

Keep in mind, it's really easy to catch a bad case of G.A.S. while planning your family outing. Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It's where you go way overboard on the idea that you might enjoy it, but end up spending way more than was necessary. That's usually why I always wait until the the week prior to the free fishing days to mention it, but the last two years I always end up with the same comments and emails... "If only you told me about it sooner, I could have planned to go..." So this year, no excuses. You have four weeks to plan, get to it.

If you're going to stick to the small lakes within city limits, you'll probably have the best luck with live bait. Believe me, I cast some hot lures into Lake Helen for hours and never had a bite. Live bait is cheap and really easy to fish with. The only place I know where you can get it in town is at Cache Road Bait and Tackle... AKA - The Ice Dock. Worms almost always work, minnows are a 50/50, and most of the pretty stuff on the walls is designed more to catch the angler than it is to catch the fish. If you decide to brave the snakes in the mountain lakes, there is a bait shop in Medicine Park, just google it and go on finding a place on the bank to set up for the time being. Keep in mind, while you want to be polite and not crowd another angler, don't let anybody convince you that you're in their spot. You get there first, that spot is yours.

If you fish out of your boat and agree that catfish are the worst fish to catch in any body of water, call me... I need a boat buddy to show me around Lawtonka. I can make it worth your while with entertainment as I'm ferociously hilarious and can tell some absolutely unbelievable true radio stories.

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