RALEIGH, N.C. (May 14) - Kids! Fish for free at one of more than 40 statewide fishing events from June 1-10, and you might win a lifetime saltwater/freshwater fishing license.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, along with Progress Energy, the U.S. Forest Service, Bass Pro Shops and local sponsors, are supporting the free fishing events to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week 2007.

Anglers 15 and younger participating in any of the events listed below can register to win a variety of prizes, such as rods, reels, spools of fishing line and tackle boxes, courtesy of Bass Pro Shops and the Wildlife Resources Commission. The grand prizes, donated by Progress Energy and a retired Commission employee, are three lifetime saltwater/freshwater fishing licenses, valued at $450 each.

Local sponsors for many events will provide prizes and gifts to registered participants as well. 

"We're working with the U.S. Forest Service, Progress Energy and Bass Pro Shops to sponsor fishing events that will get kids off the couch and get them outside to have some fun," said Robert Curry, chief of the Commission's Division of Inland Fisheries. "Kids are spending less time outdoors, and by introducing kids to fishing early, we hope to reverse this trend."

To enhance fishing opportunities for participants, the Commission will stock fish at many of the sites prior to the events, from trout in cold mountain waters to channel catfish and bluegill in public waters across the rest of the state.

"The Commission provides supplemental stocking of fish to give kids a better chance of reeling in the catch of their lives," Curry said. "The more positive their initial fishing trip, the more likely they will make fishing a lifelong hobby."

The agency will conduct a drawing for prizes at the end of June and will publish a list of winners on its Web site. Grand prize winners will be featured in the Commission's magazine, Wildlife in North Carolina.

For a listing of the fishing dates and locations, visit www.ncwildlife.org.  Events are free unless otherwise noted.

National Fishing and Boating Week, coordinated each year in June by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), gives children and their families an opportunity to learn about conserving aquatic resources while enjoying the thrill of fishing and boating. For more information on National Fishing and Boating Week, visit RBFF's Web site, http://www.nationalfishingandboatingweek.org

For additional information on fishing in North Carolina's public, inland waters, visit the Commission's Web site, http://www.ncwildlife.org.