Albany, NY - June 24, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced free fishing days in New York State, inviting residents and visitors to explore more of New York State by participating in the sport as part of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative. During these special days, New York residents and non-residents are permitted to fish for free without a fishing license in any of the state's 7,500 lakes and ponds, or its 70,000 miles of rivers and streams during this time. This weekend is the first of several free fishing days over the next year.
“New York has some of the best fishing in the nation, and with our Free Fishing Days program, we’re making it easier than ever for residents and visitors to come out and experience all that our waters have to offer,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This is an excellent time to introduce friends and family to the many excellent places to fish in virtually every corner of this state."
Based on the popularity of the June free fishing period, Governor Cuomo has also designated November 11, 2016 (Veterans Day) and February 18-19, 2017 as free fishing days. Saltwater anglers may also fish in marine waters or for migratory marine fish species without enrolling in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry during free fishing days.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Fishing is a proud tradition in New York State, and we’re thrilled to offer more free opportunities for residents and visitors alike to get out on our waters and enjoy angling throughout the calendar year. Fishing in New York State not only provides recreational enjoyment but is a vital economic generator, supporting local economies statewide.”
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, Governor Cuomo’s NY Openfor 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.
In addition to the Free Fishing Days program, the Governor’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative will now allow organizations and groups to conduct individual free fishing events. These events must meet Department’s guidelines designed to ensure that the events are educational in focus. Participants in these events do not need a license to fish and are not required to enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. Organizations or groups interested in conducting an event can find instructions and an application form here.
Anglers are reminded that although a fishing license is not required during the free fishing day weekend, or free fishing events, all other fishing regulations remain in effect.
The free fishing events give people a chance to try the thrilling sport of fishing at no cost, and people are encouraged to support the sport by purchasing a New York State fishing license. To learn more, visit here.
For a listing of all free fishing events, including those conducted during free fishing days, please visit the DEC website. The public is advised to check back regularly as new events are regularly added to the list throughout the year.