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It's Time for a Free Fishing Weekend

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 10:10
Durell Godfrey

The weekend of June 27 and 28 is "free fishing weekend" in New York, when all residents are encouraged by the State Department of Environmental Conservation to try their hand at some local fishing. This is the second of six free fishing events in the year.

"This free fishing weekend could not have come at a better time," Basil Seggos, the commissioner of the D.E.C., said in a statement. "Amid the uncertainty of these challenging times, being home together has allowed many families to get outdoors and experience new activities. Free fishing days provide the perfect opportunity for all New Yorkers -- from Brooklyn to Buffalo and from Montauk to Mount Marcy -- to try fishing for the first time and encourage those who have fished before to dust off their fishing rods and get outside."

To get started with planning a fishing excursion or trip, the D.E.C. has provided online information on places to fish at Also available online is the I FISH NY Beginners' Guide to Freshwater Fishing, which informs newbies of important aspects of the sport, like rigging up a fishing rod, identifying a catch, and understanding fishing regulations.

Additional free fishing days in 2020 and 2021 include National Hunting and Fishing Day (Sept. 26), Veterans Day (Nov. 11), and Presidents Day weekend (Feb. 13 and 14). It is fishing licenses only that are waived on these days; all other regulations remain the same.

The D.E.C. recommends that when fishing during Covid-19 people fish locally, stay close to home, and keep the fishing trip short. It suggests avoiding high-traffic destinations; when fishing from a boat, making sure it is large enough to maintain six feet between passengers; moving quickly through parking lots and paths, and choosing a different location or alternate visiting times when areas are overcrowded.

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