Outdoors Notebook: No license needed on Fish-for-Free Days

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Do it right and fishing is fun, inexpensive, part of a healthy lifestyle, educational and beneficial to the environment. And on the upcoming holidays, it's free.

On Pennsylvania's two designated Fish for Free Days, Memorial Day (May 27) and Independence Day (July 4), no fishing license is required of resident and non-resident anglers. All other fishing regulations and private property restrictions apply.

Do it wrong and fishing is confusing -- do it wrong long enough and it becomes boring. On Fish for Free Days, many state parks hold special fishing programs to help newcomers to know what they're doing and better understand how fishing benefits environmental stewardship. Many parks provide free loaner tackle.

Find details at www.dcnr.state.pa.us and www.fish.state.pa.us.

Downtown fishing

A new fishing program is scheduled to debut at Point State Park, Downtown. Karen Gainey, fishing instructor at the Community College of Allegheny County and host of "Karen's Fishing Corner" on public access PCTV, will conduct a free fishing program 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 27 (Memorial Day).

The program will reprise throughout the summer. Details at 412-565-2850.

Kids event

Consol Energy and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will sponsor a children's fishing derby May 25 at Blue Spruce Park, Indiana County. Volunteers are needed to help stock the lake at 9 a.m., and the derby starts at 10 a.m. Free food for participants, trophies awarded for biggest fish. Register at www.consolenergy.com.

School of fish

Since November 2012, students at Saltsburg Elementary School raised trout from eggs to fingerlings in the school's first Trout in the Classroom project. Thursday the fish were released in Blackleggs Creek at Blackleggs Memorial Park.

The project was hosted by science teacher David Gerstal in a program organized by the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited and state Fish and Boat Commission, with the assistance of the Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team and Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association and Trout Nursery.

Students monitored aquarium water quality, cared for the fish, kept journals, studied stream health and fish habitat, and learned about water resources and maintaining healthy watersheds.

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