Saturday is Free Fishing Day in Tennessee. You can’t beat the price.

Every year, the Volunteer State and others across the nation offer a day where resident or nonresident anglers can wet a hook without having to purchase a fishing license, the idea being to help introduce someone to the great sport who has never participated before. Perhaps enticing them with no license requirements might help them take that first step toward a sport that’s fulfilling in so many different ways.

Not only is Free Fishing Day special but anyone age 15 and younger can fish free the entire week of June 8-14. So, it’s Free Fishing Week, too, on the horizon.

From small farm ponds to big reservoirs, our state has a lot of fishing opportunities. Small waters often produce big fish too. There’s a lot of public lakes hosting fishing events. For a listing of their location and description log onto the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website at www.tnwildlife.org.

Locally, two events to consider taking kids to are rodeos at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge in Dover on Saturday morning and my Casting for a Cure Kids Fishing Rodeo at McKenzie City Park. Both are free with a lot of prizes and hungry fish awaiting the future fishermen.

TURKEY HARVEST UP

Tennessee’s 2019 spring turkey season harvest is up 11 percent from the previous year, the TWRA reports.

The total harvest for the 2019 season is 31,193. In 2018, the harvest fell below the 30,000 mark for the first time in 15 seasons. The 2019 harvest number is down 3 percent from the previous five-year average. Regionally, despite the flooding in West Tennessee which comprises TWRA Region I, the 2019 harvest is virtually unchanged from the five-year average. The other three regions all saw improvements from 2018, but still were down from their respective five-year averages, ranging from 3.3 percent to 4.3 percent declines.

Maury County was the top county with a harvest of 1,034, up 97 turkeys from the 2018 season. Dickson County was second with 837, followed by Greene 810, Giles 672, and Montgomery 638 for the top five.

Rounding out the top 15 counties were Robertson 603, Rutherford 583, Hardin 551, Weakley 546, Sumner 541, Hickman 537, Humphreys 534, Henry 518, Hawkins 512, and Stewart 489.

All the counties in the top 15 had increased harvests from 2018 with the exception of Greene County, which had four less turkeys harvested and Weakley County, which had six less.

NATIONAL PARKS BENEFIT ECONOMY

As the summer vacation and travel seasons open, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced last week that visitor spending in communities near national parks in 2018 resulted in a $40.1 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 329,000 jobs.

According to the annual National Park Service report, 2018 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, more than 318 million visitors spent $20.2 billion in communities within 60 miles of a park in the National Park System. Of the 329,000 jobs supported by visitor spending, more than 268,000 jobs exist in the park gateway communities.

“This report emphasizes the tremendous impact the national parks have on our nation’s economy and underscores the need to fulfill President Trump’s plan to rebuild park infrastructure,” said Bernhardt. “With 419 sites, and at least one in every state, our national parks continue to provide visitors, both local and destination, with numerous recreational, inspirational, and world-class experiences.”

“National parks with their iconic natural, cultural and historic landscapes represent the heart and soul of America,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “They are also a vital part of our nation’s economy, especially for park gateway communities where millions of visitors each year find a place to sleep and eat, hire outfitters and guides and make use of other local services that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry.”

Economic benefits from visitor spending increased by $2 billion and total output increased by $4.3 billion in comparison to 2017.

As a part of the report, visitor surveys were conducted at 19 parks with the results indicating that people spent more time in the parks, stayed longer in gateway communities and spent more money during their visits.

TOP 10 BOAT NAMES

The Boat Owners Association of the United States annually tallies the most popular boat names. The tradition dates back a quarter-century, with the list derived from adding up requests for boat name designs from BoatUS Boat Graphics. Each reveals something about the personality of the vessel’s owner.

The top names:

• Aquaholic — After a four-year absence from the Top 10 list, this popular boat name returns. Its appeal is in its intoxicating wordplay about overdoing too much time on the water. This kind of imbibing, however, won’t give you a hangover – except maybe on a Monday morning when you have to go back to work.

• Pearl — Sometimes a shortening of the name of the fictional ship in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series, folks who put Pearl on the transom likely know that their luxurious vessel has an understated luster.

• ­Forever Young — While boating isn’t exactly like the Fountain of Youth, many boaters say the feeling of boating, sailing or fishing keeps them feeling young. A perfect name for maintaining a stress-free boating life.

• Second Chance — This boat owner has likely had an opportunity for a do-over — be it with boating or a life challenge related to health, career or matrimony. It’s a reminder to take advantage of the chance to start over.

• Squid Pro Quo — It’s clear this fishing vessel owner appreciates Latin, or at least perhaps understands that life is a game of give-and-take.

• More Cowbell — A 2000 “Saturday Night Live” comedy skit featuring Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken pokes fun at taking things too far. Perhaps this boat is a little over the top as well.

• Pegasus — A winged horse from Greek mythology that was capable of creating water springs just by striking his hoof into the earth. This boat name that connects earth and sky is commonly found on both sailboat and powerboat transoms.

• Feelin’ Nauti — Who says you can’t be amorous while boating?

• Why Knot? — These owners appreciate nautical wordplay and realize sometimes you just have to jump into things without overanalyzing them.

• High Maintenance — This term, sometimes used to reference a boat owner’s spouse, can also indicate that this vessel also requires much time, money or effort. A good choice for a high-performance boat.

For a look at all of the BoatUS Top 10 Boat Names lists through the years go to BoatUS.com/Boatgraphics/Top-10-boat-names.

NO BOATING FATALITIES REPORTED

The TWRA is reporting that there were no boating-related fatalities during this year’s Memorial Day holiday weekend. It marks the fifth consecutive year without a boating fatality during the holiday weekend.

During the period from May 24-27, there were five injury incidents and six property damage incidents. TWRA Region IV in East Tennessee, had two of the injury incidents and five property damage incidents.

TWRA Boating and Law Enforcement officers made 21 boating under the influence arrests, the most since the same number was reported in 2016 on the holiday weekend. The number is an increase from 10 in 2018.

TVA TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING

The TVA is updating its Natural Resource Plan will host meetings across the state to receive public input.

The nearest meeting is from 5-6:30 p.m. June 19 in the Mary Teague Community Center located behind Apex Bank on Highway 641 in Camden.

FISHING RODEO

Stewart County Public Library, the TWRA and Cross Creeks will team up to offer a free fishing rodeo for kids from 7-10 a.m. Saturday.

It will be the Cross Creeks offices area on Wildlife Road in Dover. Age brackets are 3-6, 7-9 and 11-12. Snacks, drinks and fish bait will be furnished. No registration is required.

SPORTSMEN’S CALENDAR

Saturday — Tennessee Free Fishing Day.

Saturday — Steve McCadams Casting for a Cure Kids Fishing Rodeo, McKenzie City Park.

Saturday — Fishing rodeo, Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge, Dover.

Sunday — Spring squirrel season closes.

June 14 — Free Fishing Week ends.

June 19 — TVA public meeting, Apex Bank, Camden.

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