A small child is learning to fish from her mother

Free Fishing Weekend


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​GRAB YOUR FISHING ​GEAR!​​

Sample Kentucky’s outstanding fishing opportunities for free during Free Fishing Days on June 1-2, 2024. During this special weekend, you don’t need a license or permit to fish. Even anglers who live outside of Kentucky are welcome to enjoy the state’s fishing opportunities. Just remember: you still have to follow regulations on size limits and the number of fish that you can keep – and you need permission to fish in private waters. Although kids under 16 can always fish for free, communities across the state will be offering special fishing events for youth on June 1, 2024. Find the event nearest you in the list that follows.


Not sure where to go? Just click the following county name to find an event hosted in your area. Please Note: The event information is subject to change.

It doesn't matter whether you're visiting from outside the state or you live in Kentucky.  It's a great time to grab a fishing pole and enjoy spending time with family and friends at the state's beautiful lakes, streams and rivers. The free fishing weekend is open to all. You won't need a fishing license or a trout permit. Just make sure you still follow the size and number limits on what you catch.  ​

Need help getting started? Go to the Learn to Fish page for instructional videos covering gear, tying knots and preparing a fish for the table.

Don't know where to fish? Click Fishin​g to access the fishing forecast for tips and places to try, including the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FIN​​s) lakes. FINs offer dozens of easily accessible, especially stocked lakes near population centers throughout the state. Many locations host special fishing events during free fishing days.

Take along a fishing pole if you're exploring a river or stream in a kayak that weekend. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's Blue Water Trails series profiles a number of adventures throughout the state and gives you advice about how to catch fish along the way.


Remember your catch or the catch of a loved one or friend with a personalized certificate, available on the department's website.

Whether in a kayak or a powerboat, always remember to have life jackets for everyone on board. Learn more about boating safety and locate ramps into Kentucky's waterways in the boating section. 

If you haven't joined the fun yet, take a test drive with hook and line during Kentucky's free fishing weekend.​

Bullitt County

Fishing Derby at Jim Beam Lake in Clermont

​Location:  Jim Beam Lake in Clermont. From I-65, take Exit 112 and turn onto Clermont Road (KY 245) towards Bardstown. In 1.5 miles, turn right onto Horticulture Area Road.

Open for youths 15 and under and their families. Fishing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Eastern). Registration begins at 8 a.m. Families may also register by clicking here. Trophies are for big fish, most fish, and little fish. Limited food and drinks are provided by the Bullitt County Rod and Gun Club. Presented by the Kentucky Conservation Officer’s Association, Bullitt County Rod and Gun Club and Jim Beam Distilleries

Family Fishing Days at Bernheim

​Location: At Bernheim Forest and Arboretum, 2075 Clermont Road, Clermont.

Fishing from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2, 2024. All lakes and ponds open to children and adults. No registration needed. Cost is free, $15 recommended donation per car, for non-members. No equipment provided. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and anglers should only fish on designated banks. Catch and release only.

Campbell County

Youth Fishing Derby​

​Location: Alexandria Community Park, 3965 Alexandria Dr., Alexandria, Ky.

Fishing from 10 a.m. – noon (Eastern). For kids 14 and younger. Free lunch and free t-shirt while supplies last. Prizes. Kids should bring their own fishing equipment and bait.

Clay ​County

Redbird Ranger District Kid's Fishing Derby

​Location: ​Little Double Creek Pond, located behind the office at 91 Peabody Road, Big Creek, Ky.​

Fishing from 9 a.m. to noon (Eastern). Registration begins at 8 a.m. For ages 3-15. Limit two rods per registered participant. Call (606) 598-2192 for more information.

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Daviess ​County

Take A Kid Fishing Day

​Location: Panther Creek Park, Feather Landing Shelter, 5160 Wayne Bridge Rd, Owensboro.​

Registration at 8 a.m. (Central) Fishing starts at 9 a.m. Open to all ages. Lunch will be provided at 11 a.m. Bring your own poles. Door prizes and a grand prize winner for whoever catches the tagged fish.


Franklin ​County

Family Fishing Day

​Location: Headquarters campus of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, 1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort.

Upper Sportsman’s Lake (adjacent to the main headquarters building; largest lake on campus) is open for youths 15 and younger only from 8 a.m. – noon (Eastern). Lake is open to everyone to fish after noon on Saturday. Bring your own bait; limited number of fishing poles will be available. Hot dogs will be provided and there is a drawing for prizes. Upper Sportsman’s Lake will receive a special stocking of fish on Friday, May 31; the lake will close afterward to all fishing and reopen the following day. Lower Sportsman’s Lake will remain open the entire time to all anglers.

Fayette ​County

Cops and Bobbers Fishing Event

​Location: Gainesway Park Fishing Pond, 3495 Campus Way, Lexington.

This event is designed for children and is free to attend and starts at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hosted by Lexington Police Department. Fishing equipment provided. Face painting and free lunch.


Hopkins ​County

24th Annual Take A Kid Fishing Day

​Location: Madisonville City Park Lake, 1950 Park Rd., Madisonville.

Pre-registration at the park starts at 10:30 a.m. (Central) The fishing tournament for kids 15 and under from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tournament includes four age categories: 3-6, 7-9, 10-12, and 13-15. An adult must accompany each child. Bring your own pole and bait. Only one pole per child. Worms for bait provided. The first 100 children will receive a gift bag. Walmart gift cards will be awarded for the largest fish overall and in each age category. Lunch provided. Online pre-registration is available on the Kiwanis Club of Madisonville’s Facebook page or open registration at the event.​​​ ​​​​​​

Johnson ​County

Casting With Kids

​Location: Paintsville Lake State Park, 1551 KY 2275 Staffordsville.

Three events over two days. 

Friday, May 31: Fishing for kids with special needs from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Registration begins at 5 p.m. 

Saturday, June 1: two events, fishing for younger kids, kayak fishing for older youth. First event: open to all kids ages 4-12. Onsite sign-up and registration from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Weigh-in for catches from 10:30 a.m. until noon. Second event: Kylie’s Kids Fishing Tournament for kayaks, for ages 13-18. Must bring own kayak; use Paintsville Lake’s new kayak launch. Transportation services provided for participants at Paintsville Lake office, Mountain Homeplace, Paintsville Lake Dam parking lot and Johnson Central High School. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. with fish weighed at 1 p.m. Food provided by Texas Roadhouse of Pikeville. Every child will receive a free fishing pole, bucket and T-shirt.

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Kenton ​County

Kid’s Fishing Derby

​Location: Middleton Mills Park, 3415 Mills Rd., Covington.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing equipment, but a limited amount of loaner equipment is available. Prizes awarded throughout the event. Lunch available for purchase from Northern Kentucky Baseball. Presented by Kenton County Parks and Recreation.

Laurel ​County

Kid’s Fishing Derby

​Location: Laurel-London Optimist Club, Optimist Camp Road, London. Located off Hal Rogers Parkway near mile marker 7; look for signs and turn opposite from Watkins Road. Located at the former Laurel River Baptist Association Camp.

For kids ages 5-15. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. (Eastern) Fishing from 8:30 a.m. - noon. Food and drinks will be provided from 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Each child must be accompanied by an adult. Bring and use any type of bait. Prizes for biggest fish, smallest fish, most weight and most fish. For more information, call (606) 312-9973.


Madison ​County

Kid’s Fishing Derby

​Location:  Lake Reba Park (boat dock area), 299 Lake Reba Drive, Richmond.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. (Eastern) Fishing from 8 a.m. 10 a.m. For children 16 and under. For more information, call (859) 623-8753 or email parksandrec@richmond.ky.us.

McCracken ​County

Noble Park Fish Out

​Location: Lake Gerry Montgomery in Noble Park, 2801 Park Ave., Paducah.

For kids ages 5-12. Free registration begins at 8:30 a.m. (Central) at Shelter 10 (across the road from Noble Park Pool). Fish from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. In the catch and release tournament, ask a staff member to measure and record the fish one at a time. Limited amount of fishing equipment and bait available from Paducah Parks and Recreation; anglers should bring their own gear and bait if they have it. Awards for largest fish and most fish caught. Goodie bags will be handed out to the first 75 people to register.


McCreary ​County

Free Fishing Weekend

​Location: ​Barren Fork Horse Camp, located behind Stearns Ranger Station, 3320 U.S. 27 North, Whitley City.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. (Eastern) and fishing will be from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. For ages 5-15, there will be prizes and a free hot dog lunch. An adult must accompany the children. Participants must bring their own fishing poles, bait, and equipment. Call (606) 376-5323 for more information.​


Meade ​County

Kid’s Fishing Derby

​Location: At ​ Camp Carlson Lake (Fort Knox), 9186 U.S. 60, Muldraugh. Hosted by VFW Post 10281.

Hosted by VFW Post 10281. For kids 15 and under; kids do not need to have family in the military to participate. Bring your own bait and fishing equipment. Check in from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (Eastern). Mandatory safety briefing at 9:45 a.m., fishing begins at 10 a.m. Pre-registration available at the Sadowski Center, 6607 Wilson Road, Ft. Knox from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, or by emailing Vfwpost10281@gmail.com. Call (502) 624-1838 for more information.


Menifee ​County

Kids Fishing Event

​Location: East Fork Indian Creek, Red River Gorge area.

Fishing in the creek from 9 a.m. (Eastern) until noon for kids 5-15. Register onsite from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult; one pole per child. Drawing for registered participants at end of event. Adults may fish after the event. From Slade, take Campton Road north to Nada Tunnel Road. Take Nada Tunnel Road to N Fork Road. Take a left on to N Fork Road and follow the Red River to Indian Creek Road. Turn right onto Indian Creek Road to Pebble Beach Trailhead parking area. Contact the Cumberland Ranger District at 606-784-6428 for more information.

Montgomery ​County

Smith Family Fishing in the Park

​Location: Easy Walker Park Lake, 1395 Osborne Road, Mt Sterling.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. (Eastern). First cast begins at 9 a.m. For kids ages 15 and under. Free hot dogs and drinks while supplies last. Bring your own pole. Prizes for biggest fish, smallest fish and most weight.

Oldham ​County

Free Fishing Day

​Location: Wilborn Park, 201 Lakeshore Drive, La Grange.

Event from 10 a.m.- noon. Bring your own pole and bait. The first five participants will receive a free fishing pole. There will be raffle drawings every 30 minutes. Sponsored by La Grange Parks and Recreation.

Rowan ​County

Cave Run Kids Fishing Derby

​Location: Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, 120 Fish Hatchery Rd. Morehead.

Arrive early, as this is one of the biggest fishing events in Kentucky for kids. Online registration accepted through 6 p.m. (Eastern) May 27 by clicking here. Some walk-up anglers may be accepted on the day of the event until capacity is reached. Free fishing from 7 a.m.-11 a.m. For kids ages 15 and under. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Limited poles and bait provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own bait and equipment. Event features three ponds stocked with various fish, including trout and catfish. Several raffles, each kid gets a small gift. For more information, call (606) 783-8650.

Russell ​County

Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery's 36th Annual Catch A Rainbow Kid's ​Fishing Derby

​Location: Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, 50 Kendall Rd., Jamestown.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. (Central), with fishing from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. for kids up to age 15. Fishing times are allotted by age, with the youngest anglers going first. Anglers older than 4 should bring their own fishing equipment and bait; kiddie fishing pool is available from 9 a.m. until noon for children under 5, with fishing equipment provided. Fly rods are not permitted during this event. This is one of Kentucky's largest kid's fishing events, with as many as 1,500 kids fishing throughout the day. Call (270) 343-3797 for more information, or email Marsha_Hart@fws.gov or Makenzie_Foster@fws.govPresented by Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery and The Friends of Wolf Creek NFH.

Trigg ​County

Take A Kid Fishing Day

​Location: West Cadiz Park, Cadiz.

For ages 3-15. Onsite registration starts at 8 a.m. (Central). Fishing will be from 9 a.m. until noon. Lunch, t-shirts and goody bags provided. Registration forms are also available at Cadiz City Hall, John L. Street Library, and Trigg County Schools. A limited number of fishing poles are available; participants are encouraged to bring their own gear. No buckets allowed.

Wayne ​County

Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs Kids Fishing Derby

​Location: Cave Lake Event Park, located off Cave Lake Road Circle, Monticello.

Free event for residents of Wayne County. Fishing times are divided by age; participants should register at least 30 minutes before fishing time. Fishing (all times are Eastern) schedule: 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. for ages 3-6; 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. for ages 7-12; noon for ages 13 and up. Adults may fish for $10. Prizes, free T-shirts and lunch. Bring your own fishing pole, tackle, bait, drinking water and chair. Organized by Defensive Action Against Drugs (DAAD) and other community supporters. For additional information, call (606) 348-7168 or (606) 348-7330.


A small boy is holding up a large bluegill  

A woman is fishing at the side of a waterway ​

Three hands are pulling tackle from a tackle box

A young boy is holding up a smallmouth bass he caught for the camera​​​​ ​

A young man is holding up a recently caught fish​​​​

A small sunfish is being held up for the camera​​​​ 

A woman is seated and speaking to another woman helping her with her pole​​​​

Two young boys are fishing in brush​​​​

A woman is holding up a smallmouth bass​​​​

a man and a boy are seated on a dock fishing​​​​

A little girl is holding up a large bluegill​​​​

a hand is about to cast​​​​

Two girls are helping each other fish​​​​

A girl is holding up a recently caught sunfish​​​​

A girl is holding up a recently caught sunfish​​​​ 


A small boy is fishing on a pier​​​​

A young man is holding up a large fish​​​​