It may not be the holiday season just yet, but did you know something? The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service offers us a gift each year that many outdoor-lovers donâ€™t know about, or take advantage of.
Next week, October 12 through the 18 is National Wildlife Refuge Week. And, on Sunday, October 12 (the first day of National Wildlife Refuge Week), free admission will be offered at many refuges to help you get better acquainted with the water-related recreational opportunities that exist within our National Wildlife Refuge systems such as kayak fishing and shore fishing.
In addition to National Wildlife Refuge Week activities, the National Park Service offers several entrance fee-free dates throughout the year â€“ one coming up on Veteranâ€™s Day â€“ and states offer license-free fishing days (most in the summer).
Here are a few of the best ways you can take full advantage of the outdoors on state-designated free fishing days and fee-free days at Americaâ€™s national wildlife refuges or national parks:
Plan your fishing or boating trip around a wildlife tour or other special event listed on individual refuge websites. Just make sure to check for any boating restrictions that may be in effect for refuge waters. Some allow non-motorized boats only and have specific launch requirements.
Admire one of the seasonal wildlife wonders, such as the arrival of monarch butterflies or flocks of migratory birds. For example, at the J. N. â€śDingâ€ť Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island in Florida, visitors can saltwater fish from the shore along the Wildlife Drive while watching the wading shore birds that are abundant during the months of January through March.
As you are shore fishing or kayak fishing, take time to observe the diverse wildlife species that our wildlife refuges help to protect. You may see species such as alligators, bison, whooping cranes, moose or puffins on a trip to one of the 460 refuges that are open to the public.
Use license free fishing days and admission free days to take someone new to a top family fishing spot or to plan a fishing trip to one of our National Wildlife Refuges during National Wildlife Refuge Week. Enjoy the great outdoors, catch a fish, and then snap a photo or take a video and upload it to the Take Me Fishing Community Gallery!