Athens | Free Fishing


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ATHENS— Free fishing will once again be allowed at the Tyler Nature Center during our annual spring break trout event from March 7 through 10 (8:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon). No fishing license is required, and anglers will be allowed to harvest up to five trout each.

“Anglers have the choice of releasing their catch or keeping up to five fish per person to take home; however, the trout cannot survive after the water gets warm, so we encourage anglers to harvest their fish,” said Richard Ott, district fisheries biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “We will have ice and fish-cleaning facilities on hand courtesy of the East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation, if anglers want to dress their fish.”

Youths under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult. Adults who attend these events must bring at least one child and mentor them while fishing.

Adult mentors should bring all equipment and bait necessary for fishing (see recommended equipment below). A limited amount of fishing equipment (and bait) will be on hand for those who cannot bring their own on a first-come, first-served basis. Adult mentors do not need to be experienced anglers; TPWD staff will be on hand to assist.

Recommended Equipment: A light-action rod and reel combination (one per child) with small fishing hooks, light line (12 lb. test or less), small bobbers (optional), and small split shot. For bait, bring salmon eggs, whole kernel corn, marshmallows, small worms, or prepared trout bait (Berkley PowerBait Hatchery Formula Chews or similar). Small rooster-tail spinners work well, but we require that you use single hooks only on this bait type. If you intend to keep trout, please bring a stringer or small cooler.

Special Rules: Fishing will be allowed only from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon each day, but the best fishing is usually early. Youth must be supervised at all times by their adult mentors. Parking will be allowed in designated areas only. Free to all participants. Pre-registration is not required.

Sponsorship: This special event is made possible by the members of the East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation and staff of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Other Activities: The Nature Center in Tyler has a series of outdoor hiking trails that may also be of interest to visitors. We invite you to explore these trails and also enjoy a morning of fishing!

How to Get Here: From ESE Loop 323 in Tyler, go southeast on University Blvd. (Spur 248). Take a right turn on F.M. 848 (Bascom Rd.). Go 0.2 mile and turn right at The Nature Center gate. Please park in main parking area and walk to pond using the concrete trail near the kiosk.


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