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State offers Free Fishing Weekend


ALBANY - June 23-24 is designated as the “Free Fishing Weekend” in New York state, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced.

DEC first held the free fishing weekend in 1991 to give everyone the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing in New York state. Residents and visitors new to the sport are encouraged to attend one of several Free Fishing Clinics to be held across the state during the weekend.

“This weekend offers a perfect opportunity to introduce someone new to the great sport of fishing, or to reignite interest among those who haven’t taken to the water in recent years,” said Commissioner Martens. “This is also an excellent time for visitors to sample all that New York has to offer a freshwater angler. Both residents and non-residents can fish for free during this two-day period.”

In addition to this weekend, DEC sponsors free fishing events where participants can fish without the need of a license at other times of the year. These clinics provide basic information on how to get started in the sport of fishing and many provide loaner rods and bait for participants to use. A complete listing of 2012 Free Fishing Day Clinics can be found on DEC’s website at

Although a state fishing license is not required during Free Fishing Weekend, all other fishing rules and regulations remain in effect. Marine anglers 16 years of age and older are also reminded that they must enroll in the no-fee saltwater fishing registry to fish for migratory saltwater fish species or in the marine district. To register, anglers can go to the usual outlets for sporting licenses, or register online anytime at Anglers can also register by phone by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257).

Visit DEC’s “Places to Fish” page at or contact a regional DEC office for recommendations on places to fish. A free I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State map can also be ordered by sending an email to with a contact name and address (allow 3 weeks for delivery).

Anglers should also be mindful of the general statewide advisory that recommends eating no more than one meal of fish per week from the state’s freshwaters. Consumption advisories also exist for a number of other waters in New York. A full list of waters that have fish consumption advisories can be obtained by calling 1-800-458-1158 or visiting the New York State Department of Health webpage at

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