Saturday and Sunday have been designated as the Free Fishing Weekend in New York state.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation first held the free fishing weekend in 1991 to give everyone the opportunity to sample fishing in New York state. Residents and visitors new to the sport are encouraged to attend one of several free fishing clinics to be held across the state during the weekend.
This weekend offers a perfect opportunity to introduce someone new to the great sport of fishing, or to reignite interest among those who havent taken to the water in recent years, said Joe Martens, DEC commissioner. It is also a time for visitors to sample what New York has to offer a freshwater angler. Both residents and non-residents can fish for free during this two-day period.
In addition to this weekend, DEC sponsors free fishing events where participants can fish without the need of a license at other times of the year. The clinics provide basic information on how to get started in the sport of fishing and many provide loaner rods and bait for participants to use. A listing of 2012 Free Fishing Day Clinics can be found on the DECs website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27123.html.
Although a state fishing license is not required during Free Fishing Weekend, all other fishing rules and regulations remain in effect. Marine anglers 16 years of age and older are also reminded that they must enroll in the no-fee saltwater fishing registry to fish for migratory saltwater fish species or in the marine district. To register, anglers can go to the usual outlets for sporting licenses or register online anytime at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html. Anglers can also register by phone by calling 866-933-2257.
For more information about where to fish, visit the DEC's Places to Fish page at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7749.html or contact a regional DEC office for recommendations. A free I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York state map can also be ordered by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a contact name and address. The map should be delivered in about three weeks.
Anglers should also be mindful of the general statewide advisory that recommends eating no more than one meal of fish per week from the state's freshwaters. Consumption advisories also exist for a number of other waters in New York. A full list of waters that have fish consumption advisories can be obtained by calling 800-458-1158 or visiting the state Health Department website at www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/fish/health-advisories/.