Charlie Elliott offers free kids fishing day

MANSFIELD -- Georgia residents are off the hook when it comes to having the required fishing license to cast their lines into public waters on Saturday, Sept. 24.

In recognition of National Hunting and Fishing Day, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division is waiving the requirement for fishing and trout licenses on that day. Residents can fish in any public waters such as lakes, streams, ponds and other public fishing areas free of charge.

A Kids Fishing Event will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at Dove Pond at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield. The event is for kids age 15 and under. An adult should be present to supervise each child; adults are not allowed to fish.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing gear and bait, but those who don't have equipment can use what's provided by organizers. The event will take place at Dove Pond, which is stocked with catfish. The limit is five catfish per child and kids will be able to keep their catches, said Program Manager Rusty Garrison.

"We're recognizing National Hunting and Fishing Day. We're trying to encourage youth to get outdoors and especially get outdoors with their parents so they can develop lifelong outdoor skills. Fishing definitely is a lifelong outdoor skill they can learn and not only share that with their own parents but share with their future children," Garrison said.

Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center is located at 543 Elliott Trail in Mansfield and Dove Pond can be accessed through the facility's south entrance, turning left onto Shepherd Road and then left on Shepherd Pond Road. For more information, call 770-784-3063.

Also in recognition of National Hunting and Fishing Day, Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. has donated a 2011 Grizzly 450. To enter for a chance to win, visit www.nhfday.org.

The U.S. Congress and President Richard Nixon established National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1973 to recognize generations of hunters and anglers for the time and money they donate to wildlife conservation programs.

A proclamation signed by Gov. Nathan Deal states that conserving the state's natural and wildlife resources is one of the most important responsibilities for this and future generations, and conservation programs supported and financed by Georgia hunters and anglers have benefitted hundreds of wildlife species, including deer, wild turkeys, Bald Eagles and songbirds for all Georgians to enjoy.