A small child is learning to fish from her mother

Free Fishing Weekend


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

Every year, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources offers Free Fishing Days to all anglers regardless of whether they live in the state or are just visiting. Free fishing weekend in 2023 is June 3-4. During this weekend, permits and fishing licenses are not required. All other regulations, including those for size limits and the number of fish that you can keep, still apply. Following are some free fishing events being offered in Kentucky on ​June 3, 2023.


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.​

​Anderson County

Anderson County Sheriff's Department D.A.R.E. Fishing Derby​

​Location: Hope Community Church Lake, 5930 U.S. 127 South, Lawrenceburg.

​Fishing from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. (Eastern) for kids ages 15 and younger. Prizes, trophies for big fish. Families can fish with their kids from 11 a.m. until noon. Lunch provided. Anglers should bring their own bait and fishing equipment.

Bullitt County

Family Fishing Days​​ at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

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

Fishing from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, 2023. 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.

Bullitt County Free Fishing Weekend​

​Location: Lake Chapeze on Chapeze Lane in ​Clermont, KY. From I-65 at Exit 112, turn onto Clermont Road (245) towards Bardstown. Turn left onto Chapeze Lane at Forest Edge Winery.

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. Trophies for Big Fish, Most Fish and Little Fish. Limited food and drinks proved 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.

Campbell County

Youth Fishing Derby​

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

​Fishing from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. (Eastern) for kids ages 15 and younger. Prizes, trophies for big fish. Families can fish with their kids from 11 a.m. until noon. Lunch provided. Anglers should bring their own bait and fishing equipment.

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.

​​ ​

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.

Fayette ​County

Cops & Bobbers

​Location: Gainesway Park, 3460 Campus Way, Lexington.

It's o-fish-al! The Lexington Police Department is hosting Cops and Bobbers Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Eastern) at the Gainesway Park Fishing Pond. The public is invited to join officers for a fun event featuring fishing, free food, and face painting. No previous fishing experience or fishing license is required, and fishing equipment will be provided. Cops and Bobbers is a free event designed for children.

Franklin ​County

Family Fishing Day

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

Upper Sportsman’s Lake (adjacent to the main headquarters building, the largest lake on campus) is open for youths 15 and younger from only during 8 a.m. – noon (Eastern). The Lake is open to everyone to fish after noon. Bring your own bait; a limited number of fishing poles will be available. Hot dogs will be provided, drawing for prizes. Upper Sportsman’s Lake will receive a special stocking of fish Friday, June 2; it will close afterward to all fishing and reopen the following day. Lower Sportsman’s Lake will remain open the entire time. The public is invited to join officers for a fun event featuring fishing, free food, and face painting. No previous fishing experience or fishing license is required, and fishing equipment will be provided. Cops and Bobbers is a free event designed for children.

Hickman County

Free Fishing Weekend at Rotary Lake

​Location: Hickman County Farmers Market,101 Kimbro Ln., Clinton.

Hosted by the Hickman County Cooperative Extension Service. Fishing from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. (Central) with food samples and drawings for free fishing poles while supplies last.

Hopkins ​County

23rd 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 is for kids 15 and under from 11 a.m. to 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. Bait will be provided. The first 100 children will receive a gift bag. Prizes will be given for the Largest Fish overall, and in each age category. Lunch provided. Online pre-registration is available at the Kiwanis Club of Madisonville’s Facebook page or register at the event.​


Take A Kid Fishing

​Location: Nortonville Lake, Nortonville.

Sponsored by the City of Nortonville. For kids 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Fishing from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. Pre-registration is available at Nortonville City Hall. Food, and prizes for registered participants. Bring your own pole, stringer, bait, and chair. For more information, call (270) 836-7111.


Johnson ​​County

Casting With Kids

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

Kids ages 4-12. Onsite sign-up and registration begin at 8 a.m. (Eastern) with fishing through noon. Free rod and reels. Free t-shirts, food, drinks and inflatables. Kayak Tournament ages 13-18. Must bring your own kayak; use Paintsville Lake’s new kayak launch. Artificial baits only. Bring your own measuring board.​

Kenton ​County

Kid’s Fishing Derby

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

For kids of all ages, from 9 a.m. – noon (Eastern). Fishing equipment and bait provided.

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 5-12. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. (Eastern) Fishing from 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 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. Priz​es for Biggest Fish, Smallest Fish, Most Weight and Most Fish.


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. to 10 a.m. For children 16 and under. Participants should be accompanied by an adult and bring their own fishing equipment. Prizes will be awarded throughout the event. 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. 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) with fishing from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. For ages 5-15. Prizes and free hot dog lunch. An adult must accompany children. Bring your own bait and tackle. 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.

For kids 15 and under, kids do not need to have family in the military to participate. Bring your own bait and fishing equipment. Registration is from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (Eastern). Mandatory safety briefing at 9:45 a.m., fishing from 10 a.​m. to 2 p.m. Lunch provided and served at 11 a.m. Awards for specific categories such as Biggest Fish and Smallest Fish. Limited to 400 kids. Each child registered will receive a free fishing pole and tackle. Pre-registration is available at the Sandusky Field House on Ft. Knox from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 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. From Slade, take Campton Road north to Nada Tunnel Road. Take Nada Tunnel Road to N Fork Road. Take a left onto N Fork Road and follow the Red River to Indian Creek Road. Turn right onto Indian Creek Road to the Pebble Beach Trailhead parking area. Contact the Cumberland Ranger District at 606-784-6428 or Gladie Visitor Center at 606-663-8100 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). The 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. Lake closed the day before the event.

Oldham ​County

Free Fishing Day

​Location: Eagle Creek Golf Course (front pond), 2820 S Hwy 53, La Grange.

Sponsored by La Grange Parks and Recreation. Event from 9 a.m.- 11 a.m. Giveaways during event.

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. Registration starts at 6 a.m. (Eastern). Free fishing from 7 a.m. -11 a.m. For kids ages 15 and under. Limited poles and bait are provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own bait and equipment. The event features three ponds stocked with various fish, including trout and catfish. After several raffles, each kid gets a small gift. Pre-registration is encouraged; click here to reserve a spot. Optional phone number to call for more information: (606) 783-8650.

Russell ​County

Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery's 35th 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. Each angler will receive a colored ticket with their age group and fishing time. Fishing times allotted by age, with youngest anglers going first. Click here for more information. Prizes will be given out at the end of each age group's fishing with free hotdogs, chips and drinks available throughout the event. Special prizes will be given out to those who catch the biggest fish in each age category. This is one of the largest kids fishing events in Kentucky, with as many as 1,500 kids fishing throughout the day.

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 are 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 17th Kids Fishing Derby

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

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 1-6; 10:30 am-11:30 a.m. for ages 7-12; noon – 1 p.m. for ages 13 through high school age. Prizes, free T-shirts, and lunch is provided for youth participants. Bring your own fishing pole, tackle, bait, drinking water and chair. 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​​​​

Three women are standing on an edge of a pond and fishing​​​​

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

A group photograph showing a small family of four fishing​​​​

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

A boy is fishing as a group of people stand at the edge of a lake​​​​

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​​​​