Who Needs a Fishing License?
- Persons 16 years of age and older.
- Anyone fishing in any New York water body, except marine and coastal district waters or tidal waters of the Hudson River, Delaware River, or Mohawk River and their tributaries when fishing for "migratory fish from the sea" (e.g. striped bass, hickory shad, blueback herring, alewife) -- these anglers must enroll in the no-fee recreational marine fishing registry.
- When fishing on licensed fishing preserves.
- Citizen-resident owners, lessees and citizen members of their immediate families occupying and cultivating farm lands, when fishing on their own lands.
- Persons holding farm fish pond licenses and members of their immediate families, when fishing on waters covered by their licenses.
- Resident parties at United States Veterans Administration hospitals, Department of Mental Hygiene institutions, and Department of Health rehabilitation hospitals, and inmates at Division of Youth rehabilitation centers. A free permit is available from: NYSDEC License Sales, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4790.
Fishing License Fees
Annual, sportsman, super sportsman, and conservation legacy licenses are valid from October 1 through September 30 each year.
|Resident License Type||Fee|
|Senior (70+/Military Disability)||$5.00|
|7 day fishing||$15.00|
|1 day fishing||$5.00|
(including fishing and hunting for both small and big game)
(includes small and big game hunting, bow hunting, muzzleloader hunting, and turkey hunting privileges)
Includes super sportsman license privileges, plus habitat and access stamp and subscription to the Conservationist magazine
|Non-Resident License Type||Fee|
|7 day Fishing||$35.00|
|1 day Fishing||$15.00|
(includes fishing, small and big game hunting, bow hunting, muzzleloader hunting, and turkey hunting privileges)
|Resident & Non-Resident Special Stamps||Fee|
Purchasing a License
Click on the icon for details on how to purchase a license.
License Privileges and Requirements
A fishing license or combined hunting and fishing license entitles the holder to: take fish by angling, spearing, hooking, longbow, and tip ups; take frogs by spearing, catching with the hands or by use of a club or hook; and take bait fish for personal use, except that such license shall not entitle the holder to take migratory fish of the sea or to take fish from the waters of the marine district, all as provided by the laws and regulations of the Department of Environmental Conservation:
- The holder of a license shall have such license on the holder's person while exercising any privilege of that license.
- The holder of a license shall exhibit it on demand to any police officer, peace office, or the owner, lessee, or other person in control of the lands or waters on which the license holder is present.
- No license authorizes the holder to trespass upon private lands or waters or interfere with property belonging to another person.
Resident License Qualification
To qualify for a resident license, one must have permanent residency in New York State for more than 30 days immediately preceding date of application for a license. Property ownership is not necessary to qualify as a resident.
Residency is a place where a person maintains a fixed, permanent and principal home and to which such person (regardless wherever temporarily located) always intends to return. Evidence includes voter registration or if under 18, the residence of parents or legal guardian shall be deemed such person's residence).
Active members of the United States Armed Forces stationed in the State, and full-time college students in residence in the State during the school year (proof required) also qualify for resident licenses.
Proof of residency is required when purchasing a license. For a list of these items, visit the "What You Will Need to Purchase a License" section on the buy a sporting license page.
License Requirements for Border Waters
|Water||State or Province Bordering||Yes/No|
|Lake Erie||Ontario, Pennsylvania||No|
|St. Lawrence River||Ontario, Quebec||No|
|Lake Champlain||Quebec, Vermont||As of 1/1/04, there is a new Reciprocal Fishing License for Lake Champlain|
|Delaware River & West Branch Delaware River (along boundary)||Pennsylvania||Yes|
|Greenwood Lake||New Jersey||Yes*|
* New York license permits fishing out-of-state portion from boat or ice only.
Lifetime Fishing License
Say thank you to an adult for the past companionship you shared. Get a child or grandchild hooked on the outdoors with the gift of a lifetime hunting, fishing, or sporting license.
Everything the licensee needs (back tags, regulations guides, etc.) is automatically mailed each July. Buy a lifetime license and never worry about future fee increases. Lifetime licenses are available only to New York State residents, but remain valid even if you move out of State.
To give the gift of a lifetime, pick up an application form from any DEC office or license agent. For more information about lifetime licenses, write to: Lifetime Licenses, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Program CW, Albany, NY 12233-4790.
Free Fishing Days
Each year, the last full weekend in June is designated as Free Fishing Days in New York State. During those two days, anyone can fish New York State waters, and no fishing license is required. This event started in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing New York State has to offer. Since no license is required, it is the perfect time to take a friend or relative fishing. In 2014, New York State's Free Fishing Days are Saturday and Sunday, June 28 & 29.
In addition to the June Free Fishing Days weekend, there are a number of "Free Fishing Events" held in various locations across the state. Free Fishing Events are DEC sponsored events (such as family fishing clinics) where participants can learn about fish identification, fishing equipment and techniques, fisheries management, angling ethics and aquatic ecology. Each of DEC's nine regions can sponsor up to four free fishing events per year. Most free fishing events occur during the period from April through October. For a listing of currently posted events, please view the table, but be sure to check back periodically to see if additional events have been added.
So, first time anglers, as well as those who have drifted away from the sport, should take advantage of this opportunity to see how much fun fishing can be. For more information about Free Fishing Days, contact your DEC Regional Fisheries Office.
Free Fishing Licenses
The following individuals are eligible for a free fishing license and may obtain a license at any license issuing outlet:
- Citizen residents who are blind.
- Active members of the U.S. Armed Forces who provide proof that they are New York State residents stationed outside of New York and will be on leave or furlough in NY for under 30 days. For more information, visit Sporting Licenses Under the Patriot Plan.
- Resident patients at U.S. Veterans Administration hospitals or facilities can obtain a free fishing license through their hospital or facility.
- Native Americans who are members of the Shinnecock and Poospatuck tribes or the Six Nations residing on reservations in New York State may obtain a free fishing license by contacting their reservation or the DEC License Sales Office at (518) 402-8843.
More about Fishing Licenses:
- Lake Champlain Reciprocal Fishing License - Lake Champlain Reciprocal Fishing License information.
- New York's Lake Champlain Reciprocal Fishing License - Lake Champlain Reciprocal Fishing License information -- New York's ECL 11-0707 (4).
- Vermont's Lake Champlain Reciprocal Fishing License - Lake Champlain Reciprocal Fishing License information-- Vermont's Title 10 V.S.A. 4609.