This weekend is the annual free fishing weekend for the summer, and it's a great opportunity to try out the sport without having to plunk down $25 for a license.
We are lucky enough to live in a region with literally thousands of publicly accessible fishing sites, from streams to ponds to lakes. You don't need a boat, plenty of action can be found from shore.
You can get a beginner rod/reel combo and basic tackle for less than $30 from any big box store like Walmart or Target, while Dicks Sporting Goods or local outfitters like The Crossroads Country Store & Sport Shop in Chester, Fish307 in Queensbury, Beach Road Bait and Tackle or The Outdoorsman in Lake George have a wider variety of bait and tackle.
It's a great time of year to get on the water, and don't let a bit of rain this weekend deter you. Many of us have had our best fishing days in the rain.
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The state press release below has more information, and links to some good resources.
-- Don Lehman
June 29 and 30 are Among Six Free Fishing Days Offered to Encourage More People to Enjoy the Sport
New York's Sport Fishing Industry Generates an Estimated $3 Billion in Economic Activity Annually, Supports Nearly 20,000 Jobs Statewide
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York residents can fish for free without a license in one of the 7,500 lakes and ponds or 70,000 miles of rivers and streams across the state during the weekend of June 29-30, 2019. New York's Free Fishing Weekends help encourage more people - whether skilled or new to the sport -to get outdoors and enjoy the many world-class fishing opportunities available.
"New York State is home to thousands of lakes and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams that offer exceptional fishing opportunities," Governor Cuomo said. "Free Fishing Days provide both amateur and seasoned anglers with the chance to try the sport out for themselves or introduce others to the world-class fishing and scenic destinations across the Empire State."
The Free Fishing Days program is administered by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as part of Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative. The upcoming Free Fishing Days are among six planned for 2019, including September 28 (National Hunting and Fishing Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day). The free fishing days program began in 1991 to 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. Legislation signed by the Governor in 2014 increased the number of authorized statewide free fishing days from two each year.
"School is officially out, and what better way to kick off summer with your family than to take your kids fishing," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Finding a place to fish doesn't require you to travel far. New York is blessed with abundant fisheries resources and there are many great opportunities close to home, no matter where you live. Catching fish is a lot of fun, but the time spent experiencing everything nature has to offer with your family is the biggest reward."
In addition to the Free Fishing Days program, NY Open for Fishing and Hunting allows organizations and groups to host free fishing clinics. People who want to learn how to fish can take advantage of the various fishing education programs conducted by DEC and other groups throughout the state. A complete list of 2019 Free Fishing Clinics is updated regularly. Upcoming clinics include June 27 in East Islip, Suffolk County; June 28 in Stuyvesant, Columbia County; and June 29 in Tuxedo, Orange County.
Free Fishing Day participants are reminded that, although the requirement for a fishing license is waived during free fishing days, all other fishing regulations remain in effect. When not participating in Free Fishing Days or free fishingclinics, anyone 16 years of age and older must have a current State fishing license to fish in New York. Fishing licenses are now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. More information on purchasing a fishing license can be found on DEC's website.
To find out about angling opportunities near you, visit the Places to Fish pages on DEC's website.