Get on the Water During National Fishing and Boating Week

By Ken Schultz

May 16, 2021

Read fun ways to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week 2021! National Fishing and Boating week runs this year from June 5-13. Get on board!

Here at, we’re celebrating and promoting National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs this year from June 5-13. Wait a minute, you say? That’s nine days, and last time you checked there were still only seven days in the week.

National Fishing and Boating Week was originally seven days long when it was started in 1979 as National Fishing Week. When Congress passed the Sport Fishing and Boating Safety Act in 1998, and in 2001 National Fishing Week was re-named and broadened to a nine-day National Fishing and Boating Week in order to span two full weekends and give various agencies and organizations ample opportunity to hold events.

In most years, National Fishing and Boating Week is primarily celebrated via local and state events hosted by assorted organizations, and by individuals and groups who make the effort to introduce someone new to fishing. While pandemic-related guidelines and “re-openings” differ widely now, most group events have been cancelled, and taking someone fishing who is not a family member living with you is probably not a good idea at the moment. So here’s some ideas on how you can celebrate this year.

Enjoy a Free Fishing Day

You could encourage someone who doesn’t have a current fishing license to get back into the sport by enjoying a “free” fishing day. Most states have a designated free fishing day or days, often during National Fishing and Boating Week, to encourage residents to enjoy fishing, especially if it’s a person’s first-time experience. This means that if you don’t have a fishing license (which is required for most people and on all public waters), you can fish without one on that designated day(s). To find out whether your state has this, and what day or days qualify, visit this website.

Do a Waterway Cleanup.

There may not be such an organized activity going on near where you live during this week, but it wouldn’t hurt to take an hour out of one day to clean up the trash around one of your favorite fishing waters, or in the nearby area or roadways. You don’t have to be part of a group. Just do it.

Find New Local Fishing Spots.

Especially if you have a diverse number of waterbodies where you live. Yes, you could do this any time. But think about where to fish at waters you haven’t visited before or maybe seeking out species locally you haven’t caught. I knew a fellow who made it his mission to fish every lake and pond in the county where he grew up and resided. In his area, that was a lot, and over time he did it. I cannot say I’ve done the same in the places I’ve lived, but trying all of the local fishing spots is an appealing prospect. Maybe this is the time to embark on a similar quest.

Relieve Stress: Get Out on The Water.

Just go fishing. Just take a boat ride. While you’re there, take deep breaths and admire the scenery and the wildlife. Surveys have shown that fishing and boating are great stress reducers. This is true for adults and children alike. You can find plenty of excuses to do other things most of the time, just not this week. No boat? No problem. Be sure to check out Discover Boating’s Go Boating Today tool to find local boat rentals near you.

Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of He’s written and photographed nineteen books on sportfishing topics, plus an annual fishing tips calendar, and his writing has appeared on various websites for more than two decades. His author website is