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Hook up: Free Fishing Weekend is June 5-6

I know it's early, but when is Free Fishing Weekend going to be next year? I want to make sure my vacation doesn't conflict with that event.

— Phil G., Medford

Wow, Phil. Did you get your Christmas shopping done in June, too?

Oregon will play host to its 22nd annual Free Fishing Weekend on June 5 and 6 this year, and neophyte anglers of all ages will find special events throughout the state that are aimed at getting kids of all ages hooked on fishing.

During both days, anyone can fish, crab or clam without a license, but all other angling rules must be followed. Salmon and steelhead anglers must log their catches if they have a salmon/steelhead tag, but others don't have to that weekend.

Also, agencies such as the federal Bureau of Land Management offer free camping opportunities around planned events, which are scheduled statewide.

When it was started by Medford native Mike Bickler, Free Fishing Day (as it was called then) was kind of a one-and-you're-done attempt at putting rods into new fishers' hands.

Now events throughout the state are staffed by volunteer instructors teaching participants to take themselves or their kids fishing again, and not just wait for next year's event to wet a line.

Angling-education instructors will be on hand at many of the events to give advice and pass out information about basic fishing techniques for participants to take home.

Also, to track and better quantify this new approach, ODFW managers are studying demographic information about Free Fishing Weekend attendees. Follow-up surveys will be done to see at what rate participants explore fishing in Oregon beyond the free event.

Send questions to "Since You Asked-Outdoors," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to oregonoutdoors@mailtribune.com (please type SYA in the subject line).