Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the 2023 dates for Free Freshwater Fishing Days in New York. The freshwater fishing license requirement is waived for the following six days this year: February 18-19; from June 24 to 25; National Hunting and Fishing Day, September 23; and November 11.
“Free fishing days give established anglers an opportunity to share their passion for fishing with those who may be newer to the sport.” Governor Hochul said. “Spreading these days throughout the year gives anglers of all ages, skills and experience levels the opportunity to fish through the seasons and discover New York’s abundant fishing opportunities, benefiting our local economies in the process”.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said“Over the years, DEC has received feedback from people who took up the sport permanently after attending one of New York’s free freshwater fishing days, and that’s something we love to hear. New York’s world-class waters are more than just an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors year-round, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend time and connect with family and friends.”
DEC offers several resources for those interested in learning to fish, including the Beginner’s Guide to Freshwater Fishing I FISH NY, which provides information on everything from setting up a fishing rod to identifying a catch to understanding fishing regulations and useful advice for those interested. in ice fishing. There is also a series of videos that complement the Beginner’s Guide that can be found on DEC’s YouTube channel. DEC’s Places to Fish websites are a reliable source of information when planning a fishing trip. DEC has recently launched a new feature within the official DEC app, HuntFishNY, called “The Tackle Box”. Fishing regulations, boating access and storage information are now available within a map-based interface from the convenience of a smartphone.
The colder weather is creating great ice fishing opportunities, with popular species to target through the ice in New York including yellow perch; northern pike; walleye lake trout; brown trout; Atlantic salmon; and the black shit. Those interested in ice fishing should check the thickness of the ice before leaving shore. Four inches of solid, clear ice is usually safe for anglers accessing the ice on foot. However, ice thickness can vary between bodies of water and even within the same body of water, increasing the need to ensure ice thickness. Anglers should be especially cautious in areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubbles may be installed to reduce ice formation. Checking for ice can easily be done with an auger or spud rod in several places. In addition, it is also recommended to fish with a family member or friend for safety. Local bait and tackle shops are a great source for finding out where ice is safe and what anglers are catching. For more information on ice fishing, including the featured fish species that are abundant during the winter months and ice safety tips, visit DEC’s ice fishing website.
In addition to free fishing days, “learn to fish” opportunities are available through DEC-approved free fishing clinics. For a list of what is currently scheduled, visit the DEC website. The site will be updated as new events are added throughout the year.
The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to give people who might not fish the opportunity to try this rewarding sport at no cost, to introduce people to a new hobby and to encourage people to support the sport buying a New York state freshwater fishery. license
Free Fishing Day participants are reminded that although the requirement for a freshwater fishing license is waived on Free Fishing Days, all other fishing regulations remain in effect. With the exception of free fishing days, anglers 16 years of age and older must have a valid fishing license. For more information on purchasing a license, visit the DEC website.