Close Not Good Enough for Free Fishing Day Poster Contest Winner

Josephine_Payan_1st-Free-Fishing-DayLast year, Josephine Payan, a fifth grade student at Mark Twain Elementary in Carson City, finished as a runner-up in the annual Free Fishing Day Poster Contest held by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. While most kids would have been happy and excited to place in the top three out of the hundreds of entries sent in from students all over the state, getting so close only made Payan more determined to work even harder next year.

That determination paid off as her entry of anglers at Lake Tahoe was named the winner in this year’s contest. Her artwork will be featured on the 2013 Free Fishing Day poster promoting Free Fishing Day and will also be in the 2014-15 Nevada Fishing Guide magazine.

"After finally winning first place I felt flabbergasted and successful," said Payan. "I couldn't believe that I finally won after competing again this year. I had to admit, I was ‘walking on air!’ Like my teacher taught us, I realized that if you persevere and keep following your ambitions, you'll be sure to achieve it."

For the second year in a row, all of this year’s winners were young ladies with the runner-up spots going to Joanna Ahlstrom, fifth grader from Caliente Elementary in Caliente, and Asia Smith, fifth grader from Mound Valley School in Spring Creek.

"Josephine is an amazing young lady with many talents (one of them being art). I could tell when I announced the contest to my class that she was determined to win. She spent many hours at home creating her masterpiece," said Tearra Bobula, Payan's teacher at Mark Twain Elementary. "I am extremely proud of her. One thing that I have really addressed a lot in my class is perseverance. In Josephine's case, she could have simply not participated this year knowing that she had already done her best last year and not won the contest. Instead, Josephine took what she learned from competing in the contest last year and she critiqued her own artwork looking at ways she could improve it."

As the winner, she will receive a framed copy of her artwork and a fishing rod and reel. She and her family will also be treated to a guided fishing outing.

"What I like best about fishing is catching dinner," said Payan. "Fishing with friends and family can be one of those moments to remember in time. Also, it can be exciting too, trying to lure and capture a fish. But even though you may not catch one, it will still be cherished because it will be one of those times experienced with family, friends and myself."

This year's theme for the Nevada Free Fishing Day Poster Contest was "Wishing I Was Fishing." A total of 290 entrants from 43 classrooms statewide participated in this year’s contest.

Free Fishing Day takes place on Saturday, June 8 this year. The statewide event allows anglers to fish any public fishing water in the state without a fishing license or trout stamp, while all limits and other regulations apply. Visit to find out more about Free Fishing Day events taking place locally.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at