We Are NYNew Yorkers Encouraged to Explore Opportunities Close to Home during Free Freshwater Fishing Days

Governor Kathy Hochul today encouraged New Yorkers to take advantage of the year's second Free Fishing Weekend on June 24 and 25, when New York State waives the requirement for a freshwater fishing license. Fishing is considered one of the most therapeutic outdoor activities, making it an ideal activity for all New Yorkers looking to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.

"As summer approaches, fishing New York's world-class waters is arguably one of the best ways to spend the weekend," Governor Hochul said. "New York's Free Fishing Days give New Yorkers and visitors alike the opportunity to cast a line and enjoy the abundant natural beauty found in every corner of the Empire State."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Seasoned anglers know New York offers some of the world's best fishing and Free Fishing Days are the perfect time to introduce these tremendous recreational opportunities to family, friends, and visitors. New York continues to make it easier than ever for residents and visitors to come out and experience all our waters have to offer."

New York's Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to give those who might not fish the chance to try the rewarding sport at no cost and learn about a new hobby. This no-cost opportunity also encourages people to support the management of the State's freshwater fisheries by purchasing a New York State fishing license.

Additional Free Fishing Days in 2023 include: National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 23, and Veterans Day on Nov. 11. During these designated Free Fishing Days, residents and non-residents are permitted to fish in freshwater for free without a fishing license. 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and its partners also hold free fishing clinics throughout the year. In addition to learning about local fishing opportunities, participants are taught about the fish they can catch, how to cast a fishing rod, fishing safety, aquatic resource stewardship, and fishing regulations. Upcoming events include June 22 in Islip, June 24 in Orchard Park, June 29 in Manhattan, and July 5 in Queens. A full list of clinics can be found at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27123.html#Events. Check the list regularly as additional 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. For beginner anglers interested in getting started, the I FISH NY Beginners' Guide to Freshwater Fishing provides information on everything from rigging up a fishing rod to identifying a catch and understanding fishing regulations. DEC's Places to Fish webpages are a reliable source of information for those planning their next fishing trip.

Last year DEC added a new feature to the official HuntFishNY app called "The Tackle Box." Fishing regulations, fishing access, and stocking information are all available in the app within a map-based interface from the convenience of a smart phone. Other features include driving directions to State-operated fishing access sites and an offline feature that allows users to access information when cell coverage isn't available. The HuntFishNY app is available for download through Google Play or the App store. For more information visit the DEC website.

DEC's Bureau of Fisheries recognizes catches of big sportfish, including state records, through the Angler Achievement Awards Program. Anglers who catch a big fish this year are encouraged to advise DEC. Visit the DEC website for program rules, including minimum qualifying lengths and weights.