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Learn to Fish

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Free Fishing Days

Free fishing days offer residents and non-residents who are 16 and older* to fish without a freshwater fishing license or recreational marine fishing registration (*Kids under 16 can always fish for free!).

2023 Free Fishing Days Schedule

  • February 18-19 (President's Day Weekend)
  • June 24-25
  • September 23 (National Hunting and Fishing Day)
  • November 11 (Veterans Day)

These days offer the perfect opportunity to try out fishing for the first time, to get back into the sport, or to take a friend or the whole family along to fish! Even though a license is not needed, all other fishing regulations apply.

Don't have fishing equipment? Borrow fishing gear for the day from one of the many providers statewide!

Free Learn to Fish Clinics

Learning how to rig a fishing line (bottom image); I FISH NY logo and bluegill

Participate in a Free Fishing Clinic

Find a free fishing clinic to attend near you and learn how to fish. These instructor-led sport fishing clinics are conducted by DEC and other organizations to help new anglers become familiar with getting started in this fun sport.

Conduct or Co-host a Clinic

Interested in running a free fishing clinic? Formal groups or organizations can apply to conduct a free fishing clinic event.

I FISH NY Programs

I FISH NY logo

I FISH NY offers free programs such as the fishing rod loaner program, fishing education programs for in-schools and group organizations, and more. These programs help achieve our goal to increase fishing participation, introduce new anglers to the sport, and bring awareness to the outstanding fishing opportunities in New York State. Get more details about I FISH NY programs.

Fishing Tips and Skills

Find helpful information on fishing techniques, skills, and tips for your next fishing adventure, including the equipment and gear you'll need, specific methods to use for the species you're targeting, where to find and look for fish, tips on fishing with kids, and much more.

Being a Responsible Angler

Practicing catch and release, using baitfish responsibly, finding alternatives to lead fishing tackle, and cleaning your boat and gear are some of the many ways you can be a good steward and help ensure there will be great fishing for future generations to enjoy. Find out more about how you can be a responsible angler.

"How To" Videos

(all links go to DEC's YouTube Channel)

Getting Started Guides and Brochures

To receive a copy by mail of any of the documents below, send an email to [email protected] -- include your name, address, and title of publication(s) you wish to receive.

Regulations and Licenses

Aside from fishing during free fishing days or at a free fishing clinic events, fishing licenses are required for most individuals who are 16 and older. Save time and buy your fishing license online or learn more about the fishing license requirements

All recreational anglers must be familiar with the Freshwater Fishing Regulations or Saltwater Fishing Regulations prior to venturing out.

More about Learn to Fish:

  • Free Learn to Fish Clinics - A listing of DEC sponsored events (such as family fishing clinics) where participants can fish for free-- no license is required.
  • Fishing Tips and Skills - Fishing skills to help you catch more fish!
  • Being a Responsible Angler - Information on non-toxic tackle, catch and release fishing, fish as bait, and non-native fish species.
  • I FISH NY Programs - The I FISH NY Program offers free fishing clinics, train-the-trainer fishing education programs, rod loaner programs, in-school programs, and Beginners Guide to Freshwater Fishing.
  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-9425.
  • Contact for this Page
  • Bureau of Fisheries
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233
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  • Page applies to all NYS regions