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Fish for Free This Weekend Across NY


This weekend will be a free fishing weekend in New York. During free fishing days, the fishing license requirement is waived for freshwater fishing on New York’s waters.

“There’s no better time for aspiring anglers to try freshwater fishing than a free fishing weekend,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “New York is home to numerous freshwater lakes, ponds, streams and rivers, allowing for memorable fishing experiences for anglers new and novice, as well as friends and family.”

The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to give people who might not fish a chance to try the rewarding sport of freshwater fishing at no cost, introduce people to a new hobby and encourage people to support conservation by purchasing a New York State fishing license. 

DEC has partnered with libraries across the State to provide a fishing rod lending program. In addition to borrowing a book, library patrons can sign out a fishing rod. This program offers an opportunity for people to try fishing before deciding to purchase their own gear. For more information and a list of participating libraries visit DEC’s website.

DEC also offers a host of resources for those interested in getting started in fishing. The I FISH NY Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing provides information on everything from rigging up a fishing rod to identifying catch and understanding fishing regulations. There’s also a video series on DEC’s YouTube channel that complements the Beginners’ Guide.

DEC’s Places to Fish webpages are a reliable source of information when planning your next fishing trip. DEC’s official app, HuntFishNY, features “The Tackle Box.” Fishing regulations, boating access and stocking information are all available within a map-based interface from the convenience of your smart phone. Anglers can also access their sporting license information.

During designated free fishing days, New York residents and non-residents are permitted to fish for free without a fishing license. Free fishing day participants are reminded that although the requirement for a fishing license is waived during free fishing days, all other fishing regulations remain in effect. In addition to Free Fishing Days, there are also “learn to fish” opportunities available through DEC-approved free fishing clinics. For a list of what’s currently scheduled visit DEC’s website.

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) provides advice to anglers about what fish are safe to eat and how often. Visit DOH’s website to search by waterbody location.

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