New York State Free Fishing Days will take place this weekend, June 28-29 allowing anyone to fish in NYS waters without a license. This annual event started in 1991 to encourage people to try fishing. Since my husband already has his fishing license and my children aren’t required to have one, we use the annual Free Fishing Days as an opportunity to introduce visitors or our non-fishing friends to the sport.
Annually the Department of Environmental Education holds a series of free fishing clinics that not only allow all ages to experience fishing, but also participate in workshops that assist with fish identification, equipment, techniques, angling ethics and aquatic ecology.
There are numerous free sports fishing clinics hosted around New York State. In the Adirondacks there will be three free clinics held at the DEC Fish Creek Campground on July 11, 25 and August 8 from 2-4 pm.
According to NYS DEC Aquatic Biologist Joelle Ernst the Sportfishing Clinics are set up as informal sessions to get people involved in the sport of fishing.
“Sportfishing refers to the type of fish like bass, trout or sunfish whether you catch and release or harvest your catch,” says Ernst. “We teach people how to identify the right type of fish to catch, how to cast as well as parts of the rod. We even go through a basic bobber and worm rig, which is inexpensive and can be purchased just about anywhere.”
If time allows and depending on how advanced the audience is during the scheduled sessions, Ernst says they sometimes are even able to cover more advanced techniques like artificial lures. She still recommends that anyone new to fishing, especially children, should start with the basics.
Keep in mind if you assist a child in taking a fish off the hook, you do need a license yourself. For residents of NYS a one-day fishing license is still $5 and has been reduced to $10 for non-residents. That may be an inexpensive option for the infrequent angler. There are other licensing options ranging from a full week to a year.
I hope everyone is able to get outside and enjoy all the various ponds, rivers and streams with no fishing license required.
Photo of children fishing used with the permission of Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTIme.com