Free Fishing in Des Moines, Iowa 2021
Things are getting fishy in Des Moines, Iowa. ‘Tis the season for fishing weather. One of our family’s favorite summer activities! Did you know that you are required to purchase a fishing license before any fishing trip in the state of Iowa? It is true, but the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is giving you an opportunity to fish for free before you spend money on a fishing license.
This year’s Free Fishing Days in the Des Moines area is the weekend of June 4-6. Mark your calendars! If you are not able to fish during the free weekend, scroll to the bottom and learn how you can get your fishing license through Go Outdoors Iowa.
We have gathered all the fun events where your family can fish for free in Des Moines, Iowa below.
Friday, June 4 at 5 p.m.
Free Fishing Friday is held annually in June for beginners to try their hand at fishing without needing to purchase a license. If you are interested in giving fishing a try for the first time, head to Gray’s Lake, and don’t worry, they will be there to help you. Bait and supplies will be on hand to use at no cost. All ages are welcome.
Raccoon River Park – Park Palooza
Saturday, June 5 at 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Get ready to “KICK OFF SUMMER” with Raccoon River Park! There will be something for everyone at Park PALOOZA. This FREE special event will feature four-legged fun and canine vendors at the Dog Park; make-and-take crafts for kids in the Coneflower Shelters with vendors and food trucks selling their products; there will be an opportunity to borrow a fishing pole and fish for FREE during the DNR’s “Free Fishing Weekend”. There will also be an opportunity to check out the new Boathouse and rent a vessel. Save the date!
Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center – Ankeny
Saturday, June 5 at 9 a.m. to Noon
A parent or guardian must be present. Bait will be provided; each participant should bring a fishing rod and tackle. Two raining activities are part of the fun-filled day: Fillet School and Casting School. Prizes will be awarded throughout the event and fishing information will be provided. Learn more here.
Annett Nature Center – Indianola
Saturday, June 5 at 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Have some fishing fun with Warren County Conservation! Bring the family out to learn the art of fishing. Participants can learn the proper way to tie knots, cast, and fish safely. The fishing competition will take place at Lester Pond. There will be awards and door prizes given out as well as a free fish cleaning demonstration. Bring your own pole or borrow one of ours. Bait will be provided.
It’s FREE — join us. A fishing license is not required for participants at Kid’s Fish Day. Please register each child so we can plan for bait and materials! This program is put on by Friends of Warren County Conservation and the Izaak Walton League.
Saturday, June 5 at 9 to 11 a.m.
In conjunction with Iowa’s Free Fishing Weekend during which fishing licenses are not required for fishing, the Rotary Club of Waukee, the Waukee Parks & Recreation Department, and Iowa State University Extension & Outreach of Dallas County are hosting a fishing event utilizing Fish Iowa! curriculum. Participants in K-6th grades will learn key fishing skills such as baiting, casting, reeling, and fish and wildlife ethics through rotating stations. The event is free, however, the youth workshops do require advance registration.
There are two sessions of the workshops – one at 9 a.m. and one at 10 a.m. “Free fishing” areas will be available for children and adults of all ages as well. Bait will be provided to youth participants. Please bring your own equipment. Limited fishing equipment may be available upon request while supplies last. Adult supervision is required at all times. Parking located at Holmes Murphy. The ponds are located just north of the Holmes Murphy building. Learn more and register here.
Saturday, June 5 at 8 to 11 a.m.
Join Pleasant Hill Lions Club and the City of Pleasant Hill for the annual kids fishing derby at Copper Creek Lake Park! Tons of prizes available and raffle drawings every hour! Registration begins at 8 AM and the event is for ages 4-13. More details here.
Purchase a Fishing License
The easiest way to get your fishing license for the season is by visiting GoOutdoorsIowa.com! Day passes & season-long licenses are both available. After you have your fishing license head to Fish Local to find great spots to fish right in our neighborhood. Not only is fishing a great way to get some fresh air this summer, the purchase of fishing licenses helps to fund wildlife conservation efforts in Iowa.