Who doesn't love getting out and fishing? It's even sweeter when it's free, right?

The Department of Environmental Conservation has announced their first free fishing days for 2022 and have released the free fishing days throughout the rest of the year. Mark your calendars for President's Day Weekend, February 19th and 20th as the first free fishing weekend in New York State.

Fish for Free!

Free fishing weekends allow freshwater anglers to fish for free without a license.

In a press release DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said:

The annual February free fishing weekend is a perfect time to get outside and discover the wide range of winter fishing opportunities in New York and for first-time anglers to head to waters with ice thick enough to access safely and give ice fishing a try. Ice fishing is a great way to connect with the outdoors with friends and family. And weather permitting, ice fishing is easily enjoyed with other outdoor activities like ice skating, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing."

If you're looking to fish for free throughout 2022, you're in luck. The DEC has announced the additional free fishing dates for the rest of the year:

  • June 25-26, 2022
  • September 24, 2022
  • November 11, 2022

Winter Free Fishing Safety

The DEC wants to remind free fishing anglers who are looking to do some ice fishing "that four inches or more of solid ice is considered safe for accessing bodies of water on foot. Ice anglers should note that ice thickness can vary on different bodies of water and even on the same body of water."

Free Fishing Weekends have been happening in New York State since 1991. According to the DEC, free fishing weekends were introduced  "to give people who might not fish a chance to try the rewarding sport at no cost, to introduce people to a new hobby, and to encourage people to support the management of the State's freshwater fisheries by purchasing a New York State fishing license."

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