Free Fishing This Weekend

The weekend weather outlook is temperatures in the low 70s, cloudy with a slight chance of rain – perfect weather, some would say, for a day of fishing.

The annual cost of a fishing license in New York state is $29 for a resident, or $70 for a non-resident. However, this weekend only, New York residents and visitors may fish for free without a fishing license in any of the state’s 7,500 lakes and ponds or 50,000 miles of rivers and streams, as a part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York’s Open for Hunting and Fishing initiative.

“Chautauqua County’s waters are home to an outstanding variety of fish, from large and small mouth bass, to trout, musky and steelhead,” said Assemblyman Andrew goodell, R-C-I, Chautauqua County. “Free fishing weekend is a chance for people of all ages to get out and enjoy our natural resources and encourage more people to get involved in the sport of fishing. I hope everyone takes this opportunity to spend some time with family and friends to enjoy the beautiful weather and waterways in our communities.”

The governor’s initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, stocking as much as 900,000 pounds of fish raised at Department of Environmental Conservation hatcheries and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

To further encourage fishing in New York, Cuomo signed legislation last year expanding the opportunity for free fishing clinics. The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to sample the fishing the state has to offer.

“Getting more people involved in the sport of fishing is an important component of Gov. Cuomo’s New York’s Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative,” said Joe Martens, DEC commissioner. “This is the perfect time to introduce someone to the sport of fishing, or invite a friend or relative from out of state to enjoy the great fishing the state has to offer.”

New York’s sport fishing industry generates an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity annually, supporting nearly 17,000 jobs.

In August 2012, competitors chose Jack Link’s Major League Fishing chose Chautauqua Lake in Western New York to hold its six-day General Tire Summit Cup competition, which was produced by the Outdoor Channel. Chautauqua Lake drew praise from the pro anglers participating in the competition for its lively fishing, as well as its beauty.

Free Fishing Days in New York state will take place Saturday and Sunday. A listing of free fishing events may be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27123.html. New events are added daily.

Although a fishing license is not required this weekend, all other fishing regulations remain in effect.