Fishing in New York: Do You Need a License to Cast Your Line?

New York: A Haven for Anglers

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a fishing novice, New York State offers a treasure trove of fishing opportunities. With its vast array of freshwater and saltwater bodies, the Empire State caters to every fishing enthusiast’s dream.

Types of Fishing Licenses

To ensure a responsible fishing experience, New York mandates various licenses:

  • Resident Fishing License: For those who’ve called New York home for at least 30 days. It grants access to both freshwater and saltwater fishing for a year from the date of purchase.
  • Non-Resident Fishing License: For visitors seeking the thrill of New York’s fishing scene. This license also spans a full year from the date of purchase.
  • Special Permits: Required for anglers targeting specific species like trout or salmon, or fishing in designated waters such as Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

General Regulations for Anglers

Abiding by state regulations is crucial:

  • Size and Catch Limits: Adherence to species-specific limits is a must, with some fish like sturgeon being catch-and-release only.
  • Fishing Seasons: These vary by species and location, so it’s essential to check the calendar before you cast.
  • Fishing Methods: Restrictions may apply to certain areas, including prohibitions on live bait.


New York’s waters are a paradise for anglers. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, securing the right license and respecting regulations is key to enjoying and preserving the state’s aquatic life.


  • Do I need a fishing license in New York? Yes, anyone aged 16 or older must have a valid license to fish in New York’s waters.
  • What types of fishing licenses are available? New York offers annual, seven-day, and one-day licenses, with lifetime options for residents and non-residents. For details, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website.
  • Can I purchase a fishing license online? Absolutely! Licenses can be obtained online through the DEC website, or at licensed agent locations, including tackle shops and town clerk’s offices. Check in advance for payment methods and operating hours.

For more information on fishing licenses and regulations, please refer to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or call 1-866-933-2257.

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