New Yorkers encouraged to explore opportunities close to home during ‘Free Freshwater Fishing Days’
Gov. Kathy Hochul encouraged New Yorkers to take advantage of the year's fifth “Free Fishing Day,” on Saturday, Sept. 23, when New York state waives the requirement for a freshwater fishing license. Her team said, “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.”
Hochul said, "Spending time on New York's world-class waters is one of the best ways to enjoy the final days of summer. New York's free fishing days, clinics, and other opportunities to connect with nature 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, “ ‘Free Fishing Days’ are the perfect time for seasoned anglers to introduce the state’s abundant fishing opportunities to family, friends and visitors. Newcomers and veterans alike get a chance to experience our freshwater lakes, rivers and streams and learn about the sport of fishing.”
A press release stated, “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.
“The ‘Free Fishing Day’ coincides with National Hunting and Fishing Day, which was designated by Congress in 1972 to encourage people to experience, understand and appreciate traditional outdoor sports and recreation and our abundant natural resources, and recognize hunters and anglers for their leadership in fish and wildlife conservation.”
The final “Free Fishing Day” of 2023 will be held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
During designated “Free Fishing Days,” residents and non-residents are permitted to fish in freshwater for free without a fishing license.
The 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.
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.