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For Release: Thursday, March 23, 2017

DEC Proposes Additional Free Fishing Days

Now Available for Public Review

Based on Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's signed legislation in 2014 authorizing additional statewide free fishing days, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing four free sport fishing days be added to complement the state's existing free sport fishing days. DEC is seeking public comments on the proposed changes.

First established in 1991, free sport fishing days allow New York residents and non-residents to fish for free without a fishing license at any of the state's 7,500 lakes and ponds or 70,000 miles of rivers and streams.

The free events give people who might not fish a chance to try the rewarding sport at no cost, introduce people to a new hobby, and encourage people to support the sport by purchasing a New York State fishing license.

The proposed additions are:

  • Presidents Day Weekend (the weekend immediately preceding Presidents Day in the month of February) - These two days generally coincide with winter recess for schools, making it ideal for families to try ice fishing.
  • National Hunting and Fishing Day (one day) - Takes place annually on the 4th Saturday in September and links to events taking place nationwide. Fishing at this time of year is generally good for many species, including fall salmon fishing in the Great Lakes tributaries.
  • Veteran's Day (one day) - Fishing is considered one of the most therapeutic outdoor activities, making it an excellent tribute to veterans and those currently serving. Governor Cuomo specified Veteran's Day as a free fishing day in 2015, and this proposal would make it a permanent free fishing day.

In addition, to avoid confusion concerning the existing free fishing days in June, DEC is proposing the regulation be changed from "the weekend which includes the last Saturday in June," to the "last full weekend in June."

Defining specific free fishing days allows DEC to more effectively promote these days well in advance of their occurrence, ultimately increasing public participation. Furthermore, having a designated set of free fishing days allows those planning vacations around these dates to do so without issue.

Public comments will be accepted through May 6, 2017. Comments can be sent to the address below or emailed to fwfish@dec.ny.gov - enter "Free Sport Fishing Days" in the subject line.

Joelle Ernst
NYSDEC
Division of Fish and Wildlife
625 Broadway, 5th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-4753

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