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Hochul announces 'Free Fishing Day' on Nov. 11 to honor veterans


Wed, Nov 9th 2022 12:55 pm

Freshwater fishing license requirement waived

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced New York state is honoring veterans with a statewide “Free Fishing Day” on Friday, Nov. 11. Selected to coincide with Veterans Day, Nov. 11 will mark the final “Free Fishing Day” of the year.

Her team said, “Fishing is considered one of the most therapeutic outdoor activities, making it an ideal activity for veterans, those currently serving in the military, and all New Yorkers looking to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.”

Hochul said, "We are casting out a line for all of New York's veterans with this ‘Free Fishing Day’ as a way to honor those who served. Thanks to our extensive conservation efforts to protect our natural resources and environment, New York continues to provide outstanding fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels and abilities. This free fishing day will provide a great opportunity for our brave individuals who have served to protect our democracy and our freedoms to enjoy one of New York state's many world-class fishing locations."

During designated “Free Fishing Days,” anglers do not need a fishing license to fish New York's fresh waters. All other fishing regulations are in effect. For more information on “Free Fishing Days” visit the Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) website.

Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "DEC is proud to help honor New York veterans. With more than 7,500 lakes and ponds and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, New York offers countless freshwater fishing opportunities across the state for anglers to enjoy year-round. DEC and our partners are committed to continuing to engage veterans and active-duty military and share the many benefits fishing, hunting, hiking and other outdoor activities can provide to physical and mental health."

DEC's “Free Fishing Days program” began in 1991 to give people who might not fish the opportunity to try the sport at no cost, as well as to encourage people to support conservation by purchasing a New York state fishing license. More information on purchasing a fishing license can be found on DEC's website.

Expanding Fishing Opportunities in New York

Hochul’s team said, “New York state is committed to making the outdoors more accessible and introducing new anglers to the sport of fishing. Through DEC's ‘I FISH NY’ program, the state is increasing fishing participation and awareness of the outstanding fishing opportunities here in New York.”

This weekend, DEC hosted its annual veteran fly fishing event. For the last 15 years, DEC has provided veterans a chance to catch and release steelhead on a private portion of the Salmon River as part of a partnership with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) and CompeerCORPS Rochester. PHWFF is a national not-for-profit dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled veterans and disabled active military service personnel through fly fishing and education about fly tying and rod building. It is now recognized as an innovative leader in the field of therapeutic outdoor recreation. CompeerCORPS provides healing friendship to community members living with mental health challenges, while shattering the stigma around mental health conditions.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Oswego Program Leader John Propster said, "Putting this annual weekend event on, DEC and CompeerCORPS have brought many veterans together in camaraderie and big fish tales. DEC's support of fishing locations, free fishing days, and lodging have made this weekend a highlight of every participant’s year, even if they didn't land the big one. We can't thank the DEC enough for their generosity."

Rochester CompeerCORPS Fly Rod Warriors School for Disabled Veterans co-founder Dave Agness said, "It's our distinguished honor to serve these brave men and women who have defended our country. Now we have the opportunity, with DEC, to take them outside in this pristine and tranquil environment in hopes that they enjoy a weekend of camaraderie and large fish."

New York state residents who also qualify as active-duty military members (see https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6097.html for details) may receive a free fishing license, as well as a free hunting and/or trapping license, provided they have the appropriate hunter and/or trapper education. Veterans with a service-related disability of 40% or more (annual proof required from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) can get reduced fee hunting and fishing licenses and preference for deer management permits. More information about eligibility can be found on the DEC website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/83411.html.

DEC reminds anglers they can now enjoy New York's trout stream fishing resources year-round. Anglers are required to use only artificial lures and immediately release trout they catch. The catch-and-release season applies to inland trout streams only. Anglers should consult DEC's regulations guide for regulations associated with lakes and ponds that harbor trout before fishing.

Find a Place to Fish Near You

Earlier this year, DEC launched the new “Tackle Box” feature to enhance fishing-related tourism and help new and experienced anglers enjoy the fishing offered throughout New York. The “Tackle Box” feature is available on DEC's HuntFishNY smartphone app (available for iOS and Android), which provides information on nearly all state fishing regulations, waterbodies, state-operated fishing access sites, stocking information, and other useful features like photos to help identify fish likely found in a certain river, lake or stream. More information on the HuntFishNY mobile app can be found on DEC's website.

To find nearby angling opportunities, visit the “Places to Fish” pages on DEC's website. For more information on expanded trout fishing opportunities on inland streams consult the interactive trout stream fishing map on DEC info locator. The map provides trout stream anglers with one-stop access for information about stocking, fishing access, season dates and regulations. 

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