New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, is a designated annual "Free Fishing Day" in New York. No license is required to fish in any of the state's 7,500 lakes and ponds or 70,000 miles of rivers and streams on this date.
"In recognition of Veterans Day, a day to honor and thank United States military personnel, past and present, residents and visitors can fish for free and without a license," Seggos said. " 'Free Fishing Days' offer a great opportunity for people to learn about this popular sport or invite a friend or relative from out of the state to enjoy the world-class fishing New York has to offer."
Saltwater anglers may also fish in marine waters or for migratory marine fish species without enrolling in the recreational marine fishing registry. Anglers are reminded that, although the requirement for a license and enrolling in the recreational marine fishing registry has been waived during the free fishing event, all other regulations remain in effect.
The "Free Fishing Days" program began in 1991 to give people who might not fish a chance to try the sport at no cost, to introduce people to a new hobby, and to encourage people to support the sport by purchasing a New York fishing license.
Legislation recently increased the number of authorized yearly statewide "Free Fishing Days" to six, and Veterans Day was first designated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a "Free Fishing Day" in 2015. Cuomo also designated Feb. 18 and 19, 2017, as fishing days.
New York's sport fishing industry generates an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity annually, supporting nearly 17,000 jobs.
Under the 2016-17 budget, Cuomo's "NY Open for Fishing and Hunting" initiative provides $3 million for state land access projects, and $4 million for hunting and fishing infrastructure. The 2015-16 budget also created a new capital account, which, along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds, will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat, and will improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.
This year's commitment builds on the previous $6 million in funding for 50 new projects to provide access to approximately 380,000 acres of existing state lands for recreation, including boat launches, bird-watching areas, trails, and hunting blinds; and $8 million for upgrades and improvements to fish hatcheries statewide.
Providing better information to anglers is also an important component of the state's "I FISH NY" program. New anglers can take advantage of the DEC's new "Beginners Guide to Freshwater Fishing," which provides everything an angler needs to know to have a successful fishing trip in New York - except, of course, the fish. The guide can be downloaded at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/98506.html. Anglers are also encouraged to sign up for DEC's "Freshwater Fishing Quarterly" e-newsletter for the latest information on fishing in New York. To sign up, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html and enter your email address in the box provided.
For a listing of free fishing events, visit DEC's website. The public is advised to check back regularly as new events are regularly added to the list.