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Public Input on Fishing Regulations

The public usually has 2 different opportunities to provide input on fishing regulations being considered:

  1. Formal Rule Making Process (required): Fishing regulation changes must move through the State's formal rule making process to become actual regulations. This includes a formal public comment period (often with a minimum of 45 days), providing people the opportunity to submit formal comments on the proposed regulations. At the end of the comment period, the DEC reviews and takes into consideration submitted comments. The DEC then develops and submits a Final Rule Making package to the Department of State to adopt the regulations.
  2. Informal Comments on Fishing Regulation Ideas Being Considered: Prior to going through the formal rule making process, DEC routinely puts forth ideas being considered as changes to the current fishing regulations. Obtaining initial public feedback during this earlier and informal phase helps DEC gauge public interest and support, and provides an opportunity to learn of any concerns that may exist with the modifications being initially considered. It is important to keep in mind that these are only ideas which may or may not be formally proposed at a later time.

Current Available Opportunities for Public Comment

Informal comments on proposed changes to Free Fishing Days (NYCRR Part 180.6)

DEC is considering expanding the number of free fishing days that are offered and wants to set those days in regulation so they are consistent from year to year. This initial public review process will assist DEC in determining if it will move forward with this proposal to formally establish these additional free fishing days.

How to submit input:

To submit comments regarding the proposal, send an email to with the following subject line: "Possible Amendment to Free Sport Fishing Days." To ensure we receive and can properly review your suggestions, you must leave the subject line as it appears on the email.

Input will be collected through August 31, 2016

Make an informal comment

Note: Due to the expected high volume of e-mails received, DEC will be unable to reply to individual submissions, but all input will be reviewed and considered towards developing a proposed rule-making that, if accepted, would become effective in 2017.


In addition to Free Fishing Weekend (last full weekend of June), the proposed rulemaking will specifically designate six additional Free Fishing Days that will occur throughout the year.

The Department is requesting that the following six free sport fishing days be added to complement the existing free sport fishing days:

  • Presidents Day Weekend (February) - These two days coincide with winter recess for schools, making it ideal for families to try ice fishing.
  • 3rd Weekend in May - These two days occur when the majority of NY fishing seasons are open, including black bass, walleye, pike/pickerel and trout and salmon. Fishing is generally good for these species during this period and it is a great time for people to give the sport of fishing a try.
  • National Hunting and Fishing Day (1 day) - This will take place on the 4th Saturday in September and links to many promotional events occurring nationwide. Fishing at this time of year is generally good for many species, including the very popular fall salmon fishing in the Great Lakes tributaries.
  • Veteran's Day (1 day) - Fishing is considered one of the most therapeutic outdoor activities, making it the ideal tribute to veterans and those currently serving. Although Governor Cuomo officially designated Veteran's Day as a free fishing day in 2015, this proposal would make it a permanent free fishing day.


Defining specific free fishing days will allow DEC to more effectively promote these days well in advance of their occurrence and will allow those who want to take advantage of these dates to plan accordingly which will help maximize public participation.