Free Fishing Weekend in Iowa and Illinois - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Free Fishing Weekend in Iowa and Illinois

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Conservation officials are hoping to lure local anglers into a lifetime of fishing, by allowing everyone to take part in free fishing weekend.

It runs through Sunday in Iowa and through Monday in Illinois, and anyone who wants to can cast their line in public waters free of charge - no fishing license required.

It's a chance for casual anglers to get out and enjoy what our area has to offer, and a chance to get new anglers hooked on fishing, ready to come back for more.

"It's a life sport, so they can do it anywhere from a young child to an elderly person," said Iowa DNR Conservation Officer Jeff Harrison.

And conservation officials are hoping everyone, young and old, will take advantage of the free fishing opportunity.

"The weather will dictate how many people actually benefit from it and right now we've got a perfect night. We've had a lot of people out fishing," Harrison said.

With any luck, at least some of those people will go on to buy an annual fishing license, to help support the DNR and its programs, from fish stocking, to law enforcement, to wildlife management.

"It basically establishes the resource, the boat ramps and the different fishing locations on all public waters of the state," Harrison explained.

That funding also helps pay for things like the Lost Grove Lake project, supplementing the federal funds.

The $12.5 million man-made reservoir in Scott County is more than 20 years in the making, and is finally a few good, heavy rains away from being ready to officially open.

"The boat ramp is about 6 feet from where the water level reaches the boat ramp, so the sooner that gets up on the ramp where it is safe enough to put a boat in, we are going to open that lake up," Harrison said.

In the meantime, the Lost Grove Lake area is already open to canoers and kayakers who carry their boats in, and for fishing on the water and from shore.

The new lake has been stocked with over 750,000 fish.

Whether you head to Lost Grove Lake or anywhere else this free fishing weekend, remember - safety first, no trespassing, and keep in mind that all the other fishing regulations, like length limits, still apply.

You can learn more about fishing rules in our area anywhere fishing and hunting licenses are sold. That info is also online on the DNR websites.

Click here for more information about fishing in Illinois.

Click here for more information about fishing in Iowa.

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