Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed June 11 through June 13 as Free Fishing Weekend in Arkansas. Anyone may fish in Arkansas without a fishing license or trout stamp from noon Friday, June 11, through midnight Sunday, June 13.

The proclamation was read at the beginning of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission’s May meeting by Megan Perkins, agriculture liaison to Hutchinson’s office.

An annual tradition sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and approved by Gov. Hutchinson, Free Fishing Weekend gives many people the opportunity to enjoy the amazing angling The Natural State has to offer. Residents and nonresidents may fish without a fishing license or trout permit. All other regulations, such as daily limits and size restrictions on certain bodies of water, still apply during this weekend.

The AGFC will host special fishing derbies at four of its freshwater hatcheries June 12 in celebration of the annual event.

“This year we are excited to announce that not only youth, but the entire family may come out and fish with us at our warm-water hatcheries,” said Ben Batten, chief of the AGFC’s Fisheries Division. “Unfortunately we will not be able to conduct a fishing derby at the Spring River trout hatchery in Mammoth Spring, but all other hatcheries will be available to Arkansans. People will need to register in advance to ensure we have adequate space and parking on the hatchery grounds, but we look forward to a return to the hatchery derbies after they had to be canceled last year.”

More information on Free Fishing Weekend and the hatchery derbies is HERE.

In other business, the Commission:

Hired Austin Booth to serve as the agency’s director following Director Pat Fitts’ retirement June 30.

Officially named the new boating access area being placed on the Mississippi River near Arkansas City the Gov. Mike Beebe Mississippi River Access.

Heard from James Brandenburg, Arkansas chapter chair of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, with a presentation on their partnership with the AGFC on behalf of wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

Recognized 10 employees with a combined 235 years of experience for their service and dedication to the natural resources of Arkansas.

Awarded retiring wildlife officer Col. Greg Rae his service sidearm for 26 years of service to the AGFC.

Approved support for the proposed submission of applications to the Arkansas Department of Transportation to try to obtain grant funds from their Recreational Trails Program and Transportation Alternatives Program to repair and improve portions of the existing trail system at the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro.

Heard the first reading of a change to the agency’s live fish trade regulations to correct a minor typographical error in the code.

Approved a 50-cent increase to the processing fee on electronic federal duck stamp sales to offset the increase in processing costs from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Approved a new agency substance abuse prevention and handling policy.

Approved a cost of living adjustment for AGFC employees of 2.5 percent to their annual salaries.

Approved a $100 incentive to AGFC employees who receive a COVID-19 vaccine based on a recommendation by Gov. Hutchinson.

Approved the disposal of obsolete inventory with an original value of $100,799.27 and a current net book value of $7,692.81.