Free Fishing Time in Tennessee

John M. Dabbs
Toddler Fishing - Henry Horton State ParkBen Wilkins/Unsplash

It's that time of year again. The first Saturday in the first full week of June is Free Fishing Day in Tennessee. Tennessee’s 2021 Free Fishing Day is Saturday, June 12th. On the 12th, anyone can fish free without a license in any of the state's public waters. This year, Academy Sports + Outdoors is teaming up with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) for this year’s events across the state with fishing gear and other giveaways.

Free fishing day

The TWRA continues to promote and support the annual free fishing day to create more interest in fishing. The day allows anybody the chance to try the sport and celebrate fishing as a wholesome and healthy recreational pastime. Children 15 and younger can fish without a license all week long - starting on Free Fishing Day and ending on the following Friday (June 18).

The day (and week) are annual events in Tennessee. They are a great opportunity to introduce children to the fun and excitement of a day on the water trying to catch fish.
Man with toddler, fishing - Medford, OregonDiana Orey/Unsplash

Back again

Many events are back this year after being cancelled due to the pandemic in 2020. The TWRA is only one of several organizations planning special fishing events (primarily for youngsters). The TWRA stocks several thousand pounds of fish for various events every year.


We can thank the people at Academy Sports + Outdoors, and the many local sponsors who have given of their time and efforts to the free fishing events across the state for our kids of all ages.

For a list of the events, visit the TWRA website for more information. Check the events list often - special events are often late getting on the list.


Free Fishing Day and the kids' Free Fishing Week apply to Tennessee’s public waters, TWRA owned and operated lakes, and state parks. A few privately owned lakes and ponds may continue to charge during these special events. Please check with those operators for questions about a facility and whether they are waiving any fees during Free Fishing Day/Week.

Remember - It's fishing. Catching is always optional.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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