Where to Fish for free on Father's Day

For most anglers dad was the one who taught us everything we know and inspired our passion. This Father's Day several states are offering free fishing opportunities to celebrate the man who made you the angler you are today. Learn which states are offering license free fishing weekends and which species you should be targeting with dad in tow.

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Where to Fish for free on Father's Day

For most of us, dad was the driving force behind our passion for fishing and fish. We at Fishbrain cannot think of a better way to celebrate him than a perfect day of fishing and some states couldn’t agree with us more. 

Across the country a handful of states celebrate Father’s Day by allowing free fishing without a license for the weekend. We are always happy to buy our required fishing licenses and be a part of conservation, but we also appreciate a state that takes the time to celebrate the ones who pass along the sport. 

Read on for a list of the states that offer license free fishing this Father’s Day and start planning which lures you’re going to pack.


The Northeast has some excellent fishing opportunities, especially falling on Father’s Day. Trout pike, walleye and migrating shad can be found readily available in all the major lakes and rivers. Of course bass and panfish are also readily caught in lakes and ponds. The free fishing day also counts for saltwater anglers casting for stripers, blue fish, bonito and more. Licenses cost nothing for this specific day, but anglers will still need to visit Connecticut's fisheries website to get an angling ID number and the free license. Anglers also need to check if they need specific additional licenses, like a trout, or salmon stamp on top of their free license.  There may be no better opportunity to sample what the Atlantic has to offer for free with your best fishing buddy in tow.


Illinois’ free fishing days celebration takes place June 17 – 20 this year, which happens to coincide with Father's Day weekend. This marks the most consecutive days of free fishing offered by any state during Father’s Day. During the four day celebration anglers can fish without purchasing a fishing license, salmon stamp or inland trout stamp. The license free fishing is good for any and all rivers, lakes, ponds and even Lake Michigan itself. Bass, catfish, trout, salmon and even carp are great targets for father and son duos of all ages and experience levels to chase. If you are unfamiliar with where to go, or are using the weekend to get back into fishing, look at hiring a charter to go out on Illinois’ crown jewel, Lake Michigan.


Unlike other states, Massachusetts' free Father’s Day fishing only applies to saltwater anglers this year. From 12 a.m. Saturday, June 18 until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 19 Massachusettsans are free to cast for cod, stripers, blue fish and more. The Old Bay State is rightfully named and anglers who travel to the saltwater for the endless opportunities of the Atlantic will have a Father’s Day to remember. The free license day is even good up to three miles offshore. The free Father’s Day weekend will coincide nicely with the striper run and the blakc sea bass will also be in season. So pack up the car and head out to Martha’s Vineyard to get dad to set the hook on a beautiful striper.


Fishing is a way of life in Montana passed down from famous fathers like Reverend Maclean to everyday heroes like our own. Free fishing during Father’s Day weekend is so important in the Treasure State it's not just a kindly offer, but written into Montana law.

The rivers have been raging through most of Montana this June, but those river levels may be falling to reach an optimal level in time for dad’s day. Fly anglers should find dry fly hatches of salmon flies, mayflies, caddis and stoneflies popping and starting trout feeding frenzies. Even if the water levels are still high and dirty you can still take your father to one of many dam controlled rivers like the Missouri.

 Lake trout and walleye anglers will have no problems accessing any of the lakes and reservoirs across the state either. 


Buckeye anglers will be knee deep in walleye, brown trout, staples and largemouth for Father’s Day weekend. Ohio is an angler’s paradise with coldwater species like steelhead and brown trout sharing similar areas as sauger, walleye and bass. 

The free fishing weekend marks the only time all year that anglers 16 and older can fish any of Ohio’s waters without purchasing a license first. Whether you’re taking dad kayak fishing on Lake Erie for walleye, smallmouth fishing in the Ohio River, or targeting flathead cats in the Maumee, the opportunities seem endless. We are sure you’ll be deep in conversation with dad about the Buckeyes’ chances this year, we only ask for you to take a moment to remember that all other regulations still apply regarding size and bag limits.

Don't waste your time this Father’s Day with brunch or barbecues. Make sure to take dad fishing to reignite those important conversations you had with him as a kid. 

Happy Father’s Day from Fishbrain to all the fishing fathers out there. 

This day is for you. You’ve earned it.

Now let’s go fishing. We’ll bring our dad.

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