ALBANY - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced earlier this week that New York residents and visitors may fish for free without a fishing license in any of the state’s 7,500 lakes and ponds or 50,000 miles of rivers and streams during today and Sunday or at any of the free fishing events to be held throughout the state this summer.
Saltwater anglers may also fish in marine waters or for migratory marine fish species without enrolling in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry.
“From ponds and rivers Upstate to deep-sea waters off the coast of Long Island, New York truly has some of the best fishing spots on the globe,” Governor Cuomo said. “We want everyone to get out and experience these tremendous recreational opportunities this summer, and with our Free Fishing events, it’s never been easier to explore the great outdoors. I encourage all New Yorkers to cast a line this summer and see just what they’ve been missing.”
Free Fishing Days are part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees and improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.
As part of this initiative, Governor Cuomo also signed legislation increasing the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two. Additional statewide free fishing dates will be announced this summer. NY Open for Fishing and Hunting also provides for $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential.
These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
“Getting more people involved in the sport of fishing is an important component of Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative,” said state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens. “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.”
For a listing of all free fishing events, visit DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27123.html.
Currently there are more than 20 DEC free fishing events designated for 2014 (see list below); however, the public is advised to check back regularly as new events are regularly added to the list. Organizations or groups interested in conducting an event can find instructions and an application form on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/89811.html.
For a listing of fishing programs at State Parks, including instructional programs and clinics, visit http://nysparks.com/events/.
Anglers are reminded that although a fishing license is not required during the free fishing day weekend, or free fishing events, all other fishing regulations remain in effect.