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National Fishing and Boating Week 2008 will be highlighted by the 19th annual Free Fishing Weekend on June 7 and 8, according to Frank Jezioro, Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR). During these two days, residents and nonresidents can fish in West Virginia without a license. "It is a great opportunity to remind people of the fun of fishing, especially with family and friends. If you already have a license, take someone fishing. It may be your children, spouse, or co-worker and introduce them to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment," said Jezioro.

The National Fishing and Boating Week concept began as a promotional activity sponsored by the sportfishing industry. With the hope of increasing tackle sales, the industry promoted fishing near Father's Day. The recreational boating industry partnered with its sportfishing counterparts to develop an effective educational campaign. From those beginnings, National Fishing and Boating Week has evolved into one of the largest private/public partnerships in existence. The sportfishing and boating industries, fishing organizations, and local, state, and federal agencies are working together to bring the message home that fishing is great fun and will help ensure future healthy aquatic ecosystems.

DNR participates in a number of activities during National Fishing and Boating Week and the Free Fishing Weekend. Two of the largest and most successful events are the Bowden Fishing Derby held at the Bowden Hatchery in Randolph County and the Fishing Derby at Little Beaver State Park in Raleigh County. Additionally, a youth fishing event is planned for Tygart Lake State Park in Taylor County. These events will be held on June 7. Children receive basic fishing instruction and will get the opportunity to enjoy time fishing with friends and family.

There are other fishing events planned across the state. Contact the DNR district office closest to you for more information.
 
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