Each year the last full weekend in June is designated as “Free Fishing Days” here in New York.
The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to give people who might not fish a chance to try the rewarding sport at no cost, to introduce people to a new hobby, and to encourage people to support the sport by purchasing a New York State freshwater fishing license.
“Over the years, DEC ( Department of Environmental Conservation ) has received feedback from people who permanently picked up the sport after attending one of New York’s free freshwater fishing days, and that’s something we love to hear,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Fishing New York’s world-class waters is more than just an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors all year long, it’s a perfect chance to spend time and connect with family and friends.”
The DEC offers several resources for those interested in learning how to fish including the I FISH NY Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing, which provides information on everything from rigging up a fishing rod, to identifying a catch to understanding fishing regulations and more. There’s also a video series that complements the Beginners Guide that can be found on the DEC’s YouTube channel. Additionally, the DEC’s Places to Fish websites is a reliable source of information when planning a fishing trip.
In addition to Free Fishing Days, there are “learn to fish” opportunities available through DEC-approved free fishing clinics. For a list of what’s currently scheduled, visit the DEC website. The site will be updated as new events are added throughout the year.
Free fishing day participants are reminded that although the requirement for a freshwater fishing license is waived during free fishing days, all other fishing regulations remain in effect. With the exception of free fishing days, anglers who are 16 years of age or older must have a valid fishing license.
Free Fishing Days in 2023 include September 23 (National Hunting & Fishing Day) and November 11 (Veterans Day).