by Anneli Rufus
Sunday, July 4 is one of only two days a year on which Californians who don't have fishing licenses can fish in any and all of the state's freshwater lakes.
"Have you ever felt the excitement of watching your bobber suddenly jiggle, then dive out of sight?" asks the California Department of Fish and Game's web page for its Free Fishing Days. "Or feeling the tap-tap-tap of a bass as it tastes the worm on the end of your line? Or having a salmon practically tear the rod out of your hands as it smashes your lure? What's that? You say you never learned to fish?
"Well, if you are new to the sport of fishing, and not sure if you will enjoy it, we have a great opportunity for you." In addition to the state's many lakes, "some Department offices offer a Fishing in the City program where you can go fishing in the middle of major metropolitan areas —- perhaps just a few blocks from your home."
Um, yes — but would you want to eat what came out of that water?
"Fishing in the City and free fishing day clinics are designed to educate people just like you about fish habits, proven methods of catching fish, and tackle you'll need. You can even learn how to clean and prepare your catch so you can enjoy it for dinner that night.
"While all fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect; there are two days each year when anyone can fish without purchasing a fishing license."
The other Free Fishing Day is Labor Day, September 6.