Take a stroll around the Tidal Basin next Thursday evening and you may see amateur anglers casting their bait and lures into the water for a free fishing event organized by the local and federal governments. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. August 22, the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and Alexandria-based group FishingCommunity.org will throw the event “to see what fish might bite under moonlight.”
But although the District first announced the fishing night last week, registration is already full. “Unfortunately, registration has closed, but walk-up participants will be accommodated as space, equipment, and volunteer angler-led instruction allow,” DOEE says on its webpage for the evening. “This event is primarily catch-and-release, but you may keep what you catch provided you bring a cooler with ice and follow all DC Fishing Regulations.” Invasive species like the northern snakehead and the blue catfish are to be removed, DOEE advises attendees.
Just announced! DOEE, @BLMNational, and https://t.co/vsrQcDtVNO are hosting a free event on Thursday, August 22nd from 6–9PM for Night Fishing on the Tidal Basin. Register in advance and receive loaner equipment, tackle, and instruction: https://t.co/ZiqkM2mTdk— Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) (@DOEE_DC) August 8, 2019
If you are lucky enough to snag a spot at the event, participants ages 16 to 64 must have a D.C. fishing license, which can be obtained online ($10 for residents, $13 for non-residents). The evening kicks off at the Tidal Basin parking lot, where officials will hand out equipment and provide guidance on targeting fish. Youth under 16 may share equipment with adults, and equipment check-out for the event—which will occur rain-or-shine—ends at 8:30 p.m.
This isn’t the only free fishing event in the District coming up soon. “For other opportunities for youth to be introduced to angling, attend a free Anacostia River Family Fishing Day on Sunday, September 8 and Saturday, October 5 from 10 a.m. [to] 1 p.m,” the District explains.