This Saturday Is Free Fishing Day Throughout California

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The McCloud River is a legendary trout-fishing stream and sacred grounds for the Winnemem Wintu tribe. It's protected under state law. (Craig Miller/KQED)

Slather on the sunscreen, line up some some bait, and bring your tackle box - Saturday, August 31st is Free Fishing Day across California.

You won’t need a sport-fishing license to cast a line that day at dozens of lakes, reservoirs and creeks throughout the state. The Department of Fish and Wildlife waives the usual fees - $16.20 for a day, $49.94 for annual licenses - two days a year. July 4th is the other, so this’ll be your last chance in 2019.

“It’s not a free-for-all, you can’t just go fish for anything and however many you want anywhere,” says Jennifer Benedet with the department. People will have to obey the same rules that apply the rest of the year. You can read up on those regulations online at . The site also includes a Fishing Guide to the best spots to try.

New anglers can join Fishing in the City,  a program that offers free fishing clinics in Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, the South Bay, Los Angeles, and other urban areas. Participants can reel in their catch and learn how to prepare it for dinner.

If you're hooked after your first fishing expedition, you can join the California Fishing Passport. That interactive program challenges you to fish 150 different species in the state's waters. It even awards a certificate for catching your very first fish!