Free Fishing Days in New York State

DEC encourages all New Yorkers to explore local fishing opportunities in the state

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NYS Department of Conservation offers several Free Fishing Days during the year to people who live in New York. 

DEC encourages all anglers, new and experienced, to recreate locally and seek out fishing opportunities close to home. DEC's Places to Fish webpages are a reliable source for those ready to plan their next fishing trip.

For beginning 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 your catch, and understanding fishing regulations.

This week is the last Free Fishing Day in 2022 on Veterans Day (Nov. 11). During these designated free fishing days, New York residents and non-residents are permitted to fish for free without a 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. New York State is encouraging people to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.

DEC recommendations incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases and encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect, and use common sense to protect themselves and others.

Use the DEC info Locator to find a DEC-managed resource near you and visit the State Parks website for information about parks and park closures. For more information about engaging in responsible recreation, visit DEC's website.

DEC reminds anglers to maintain safe social distancing while fishing (PDF) this year to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Guidelines to protect yourself and others include:
  • Fish local: Stay close to home. Keep your fishing trip short. Avoid high-traffic destinations.

  • Be safe: Avoid crowds and groups. Keep a distance of six feet or more from others. When fishing from a boat, make sure it's large enough so persons on board are at least six feet from one another.
  • Stay home: If you're not feeling well, stay home. Anyone 70 and older or with a compromised immune system should postpone their trip.

  • Be adaptive: Move quickly through parking lots and paths. If crowded, choose a different fishing location, or time to visit. Anglers fishing from boats should be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another.