This weekend, June 28 and 29, New Yorkers and visitors to the state will be able to fish without a fishing license, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday. Free Fishing Days is part of Cuomo’s initiative, NY Open for Hunting and Fishing, which seeks to boost tourism and increase opportunities for outdoor sporting activities in the state. The free fishing weekend applies to all lakes, ponds and streams in New York. Anglers that wish to drop a line in the marine and coastal districts may do so this weekend without registering.
The usual fees for freshwater fishing range from $5, for a one-day pass, to $25 for a one-year license. Fees are double for non-New York residents. Saltwater anglers fishing along the Long Island Coast and the Hudson River tidal waters that run south of the Tappan Zee Bridge do not need a license, but anglers normally must register with the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry.
“This is the perfect time to introduce someone to the sport of fishing or invite a friend or relative from out of state to enjoy the great fishing our waters have to offer.” — Joe Martens, Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
The Lake George Region, part of DEC Region 5, is dotted with hundreds of lakes, ponds and streams that are open for fishing. Anglers may find a hot fishing spot by accessing maps at the DEC website. The area is known for its bounty of brook and lake trout, landlocked salmon, large and small mouth bass, pike, pickerel and walleye. The DEC annually stocks many lakes, ponds and streams in the region with rainbow and brown trout fingerlings. To halt the spread of invasive species, certain brook trout waters have bans on the possession and use of live bait.
For those new to the sport, DEC and New York Parks and Recreation offer free fishing clinics. A basic how-to guide is available at the DEC website. Anglers must observe all fishing regulations, including minimum size and daily limits.
This is the 23rd year the state has held Free Fishing Days. The Governor’s office estimates that the recreational fishing industry creates $1.8 billion in economic activity in the state, supporting nearly 17,000 jobs. Those interested in giving the sport a try can get in-person advice from one of dozens of bait shops throughout the area.