ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Every year on the first Saturday of June, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) allows anyone to head out to their favorite fishing spot and cast a line, whether or not they have a fishing license. TPWD says a nice way to get folks who have never tried fishing in on the fun.

“I think that’s just a really cool thing our department does for the State of Texas just so people can get out and recreate a little bit more,” said Taylor County Game Warden Amelia Tidwell.

Even without a license, you still need a body of water to fish, and not all of them are publicly available. That’s why you need to be vigilant of which areas are free game, and which could get you a criminal trespass charge.

“Abilene does have a few exceptions such as Lytle Lake, is considered more of a private lake, as well as the stream that runs south of it past Loop 322 becomes private. So, I have had, like, a few kayakers go past that point,” Tidwell warned.

The signs should be as obvious as… Well, signs. Posted “No trespassing” or “Private Property” signs, and even fences and posts painted purple denote an area you shouldn’t cast off from without permission. If you do find yourself on private land or water by accident, do the right thing.

“I mean, it’s pretty common sense just to leave the area,” advised Tidwell.

Public lakes like Fort Phantom Hill, Kirby, and Lake Abilene at the Abilene State park are all fair game. As for the discerning angler, there are plenty of fellow fish fanatics ready to recommend a spot.

“There’s a ton of Facebook groups out there or… The Fish Brain app,” Tidwell offered.

Whether you’re casting for the first time with your family, or for the hundredth time from your boat, make sure your hook is landing in legal waters. Also keep in mind that just because a spot appears on a website, that doesn’t mean it’s open to the public. When in doubt, always check with your local Parks and Wildlife Department.