Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday that New Yorkers can fish state fresh waters for free and without a fishing license this Saturday, a state Free Fishing Day coinciding with National Hunting and Fishing Day.
Resident and nonresident anglers alike are encouraged to drop a line and enjoy an opportunity that comes up six times a year.
In celebrating fishing opportunities "from Babylon to Buffalo" Governor Hochul also reminded anglers that while the fishing may be free, state fishing regulations do remain in effect.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is hooked on Free Fishing Days and says it's thrilled about the program's dual mission to provide for a fun outing and opportunity to see New York's conservation efforts up close.
D.E.C. Commissioner Basil Seggos used the occasion to drum up the agency's new "Tackle Box" feature available on its HuntFishNY smartphone app, "which provides information on nearly all state fishing regulations, waterbodies, state-operated fishing access sites, stocking information and useful features like photos to help identify fish likely found in a certain river, lake, or stream."
Excepting the Free Fishing Days, freshwater fishing licenses are required in the state for anyone 16 and up and are valid for a year from date of purchase.
Popular and productive freshwater fishing spots in the area include Fresh Pond, Fort Pond and Big Reed Pond, all in Montauk, with the D.E.C. giving a special shoutout to Fort Pond for its stock of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and walleye. That pond just emerged from the grip of a late-summer toxic blue-green algal bloom.
The D.E.C. also highlights Hook Pond in East Hampton, which offers 64 acres of opportunity for largemouth bass, bluegills, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, carp, and brown bullheads. Numerous Southampton Town hotspots are also detailed on the D.E.C.'s freshwater fishing portal, including Lake Agawam and Big Fresh Pond.
And let's not forget the sort-of mighty Peconic River, not quite the Hudson but nevertheless identified by the fanatical freshwater-focused Bassmaster folks as some of the best largemouth bass and chain pickerel waters in southeastern New York State.
But always remember: It's called "fishing" and not "catching" for a reason. Anglers who get skunked Saturday have another chance wrangle a walleye on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, the final Free Fishing Day of 2022.