During the statewide Free Fishing Weekend, June 27–28, anyone can fish the fresh waters of New York State and no fishing license is required. All other freshwater fishing regulations, however, still apply.

Ideas for Free Fishing Days:

• Try fishing for the first time.

• Haven’t fished in a while? Remember the joy of catching a fish again for free!

• Become an ambassador to the sport; take a friend fishing for the first time.

• Invite a friend to New York to fish.

• Take a spouse or significant other fishing.

• Take the family fishing… and don’t forget the grandparents!

• Future Free Fishing dates are Sept. 26 and Nov. 11.

The free fishing days program is part of N.Y.’s Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative. The free fishing days program began in 1991 to give people who might not fish a chance to try the rewarding sport at no cost, introduce people to a new hobby, and encourage people to support the sport by purchasing a N.Y. fishing license.

In his 2020 State of the State Address, Gov. Cuomo proposed the Restore Mother Nature initiative for significant habitat restoration and flood reduction to revitalize critical fish and wildlife habitats. 

One of the goals of the initiative is to make N.Y. the top state for recreational fishing. Part of a proposed $3 billion Environmental Bond Act is to invest in N.Y.’s world-class fish hatcheries. The program will also improve the state’s network of fishing access sites, hand-launch boat sites, and public fishing rights with an emphasis on warmwater streams and rivers.

Freshwater fishing in N.Y. generates estimated $2.14 billion in economic activity annually, supports nearly 11,000 jobs statewide.