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Free Learn to Fish Clinics

Participate in a Learn to Fish Clinic

Learn how to fish for free at an upcoming sport fishing clinic organized and conducted by DEC and numerous other organizations. In addition to casting a rod and catching fish, participants can learn about fish identification, fishing equipment and techniques, fisheries management, angling ethics, aquatic ecology, and more!

During these clinics no freshwater fishing license or enrollment in the recreational marine fishing registry is required*, but all other statewide freshwater fishing regulations and saltwater fishing regulations remain in effect (*Kids under 16 can always fish for free!).

Upcoming Clinic Events

Last updated on 1/9/2023: Check this page often as new events are added throughout the year.

2023 Free Fishing Clinics
Event Date Time Location City/Town County Event Organizer Contact
Washington County Winterfest 2023 2/4/2023 10:00AM-2:00PM Lake Lauderdale Park, Route 22, Cambridge, NY 12816 Cambridge Washington Washington County Public Health Elizabeth St. John, Washington County Public Health: (518) 746-2400
Ice Fishing Clinic for Veteran's and Families at Vitale Park 2/11/2023
(Rain date: 2/12/2023)
9:00AM-12:00PM Chip Holt Nature Center and Conesus Lake in Vitale Park, Route 20A, Lakeville, NY 14480 Lakeville Livingston Chip Holt Nature Center Matt Sanderson - Chip Holt Nature Center, (585) 519-7102
Beginner Ice Fishing Clinic at Carters Pond 2/19/2023 9:00AM-2:00PM Carters Pond Wildlife Management Area, 532-540 County Rte 40, Greenwich, NY 12865 Greenwich Washington NYS DEC and Washington County Federation of Sportsmen Lt. Steve Gonyeau, NYS DEC Region 5, (518) 567-2104
Kids and Adult Fishing Clinic at Cattaraugus Creek 5/6/2023 10:00AM-3:00PM Gowanda Volunteer Fire Department, 230 Aldrich Street, Gowanda, NY 14070 Gowanda Erie Gowanda Volunteer Fire Co. and International Fly Fishers Steve Raiport, Gowanda Volunteer Fire Co.: (716) 532-3434,

Pre-registration is required as space is limited. For more details and to register, visit the Gowanda Fire Rescue website (leaves DEC website)

Apply to Conduct or Co-host a Clinic

Formal groups or organizations can host a free fishing clinic by completing and submitting an application. Details on how to apply along with the rules for running a clinic are available in the following applications.

Conduct a Free Fishing Clinic Applications:

Other Helpful Information

Free Fishing Days/Weekends
Take advantage of NY's free fishing days designated during several dates throughout the year; no recreational fishing license is required to fish these days!

Fishing Rod Loaner Program
Rent fishing rods, bobbers, and hooks from public libraries and parks; offers a great opportunity while you learn how to fish without needing to purchase your own fishing equipment!

I FISH NY Beginner's Guide to Freshwater Fishing
Learn about all the basics of fishing in this helpful how-to guide.

Fishing Skills
Browse through helpful information on getting started in fishing and how to improve your fishing skills.

DEC Events Calendar
Check for other outdoor and educational fish or wildlife events hosted or co-sponsored by DEC for you and your family to enjoy.

Project Healing Waters (leaves DEC website)
Free fishing opportunities for veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces.