LIVINGSTON COUNTY — This weekend the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) has opened fishing for everyone, including those without a fishing license.
According to a press release from the State Department of Environmental Conservation each year, New York offers six free fishing days. The two-day Free Fishing Weekend takes place during the last full weekend in June.
“Free fishing days allow residents and visitors alike to experience the outstanding year-round angling opportunities New York has to offer. Catching the ever-popular largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, angling for trophy size trout and salmon on Lake Ontario, or casting for walleye are just a few of the world-class opportunities I encourage anglers to try,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Free Fishing Weekend is also a great time for experienced anglers to introduce fishing to a friend, family member, or a child.”
Additional Free Fishing Days include National Hunting and Fishing Day (Sept. 22, the fourth Saturday in September), Veterans Day (Nov. 11), and the weekend preceding Presidents Day (Feb. 16-17, 2019). During these designated free fishing days, New York residents and non-residents are permitted to fish for free without a fishing license.
Legislation creating additional free fishing days was signed by Governor Cuomo in June 2014, and supports his “New York Open for Fishing and Hunting” Initiative, which under the 2017-18 State Budget provides $19.5 million for state land access projects and $4 million for fish and wildlife infrastructure. In addition to the Free Fishing Days program, the Governor’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative allows organizations and groups to host free fishing clinics. Those looking to learn how to fish should take advantage of the various fishing education programs conducted by DEC and other groups throughout the state. A complete list of 2018 programs can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27123.html.
Governor Cuomo announced the 2018 Free Fishing Days program in February. The program began in 1991 to give people that might not fish a chance to try this rewarding sport at no cost, introducing people to a new hobby and encouraging prospective anglers to support the sport by purchasing a New York State 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.
Anyone 16 years of age and older must have a current State fishing license to fish in New York. Fishing licenses are now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. More information on purchasing a fishing license can be found on DEC’s website.