Fishing in NY? Here’s what you need to know about licenses

Fishing is a popular outdoor activity in New York, with abundant freshwater lakes, rivers, and coastal waters to explore. Before casting your line, there are some key things all anglers need to know.

Do You Need a Fishing License in New York?

Yes, a license is required for most anglers over the age of 15 fishing in freshwaters across the state. Some exceptions apply for certain private pond owners, Native Americans fishing on reservations, and patients in some healthcare facilities.

Both residents and visitors need a license. Options range from single-day permits to annual licenses, with discounted fees for seniors and free licenses for some military veterans.

What About Saltwater Fishing Licenses?

Saltwater anglers no longer need a special marine permit after recent regulation changes. However, free registration with the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry is still required for fishing coastal waters or for “migratory fish of the sea” like striped bass.

Where Can You Get a License?

Licenses can easily be purchased online, by phone (1-866-933-2257), or in person at certain bait & tackle shops, sporting goods stores, town clerk offices, and DEC license-issuing agents.

What Are the Seasons and Limits?

Season openers, size limits, and daily bag limits vary by fish species. Consult the NYS Fishing Regulations Guide before heading out. Some key dates for popular freshwater species:

  • Walleye, Northern Pike, Pickerel: First Saturday in May
  • Muskellunge: Last Saturday in May
  • Bass: Third Saturday in June
  • Trout: April 1

Can You Keep Your Catch?

Regulations determine whether you can keep your catch. For example, trout caught in streams and rivers can be kept within daily limits. But due to concerns over sustainability and mercury contamination, anglers sometimes need to release fish caught in certain lakes and ponds.

Key Takeaways

  • A fishing license is required for most anglers over age 15
  • Saltwater registry is free but still required
  • Purchase fishing licenses online, by phone, or in person
  • Check regulations for seasons, size/bag limits
  • Restrictions may require releasing your catch

Following the proper licensing rules and regulations ensures you stay legal while supporting New York’s world-class fisheries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does a NY fishing license cost?

A: For residents, a year-long license is $25 (ages 16–69) or $5 (ages 70+). Short-term 7-day and 1-day licenses are also available. Non-resident fees are higher.

Q: Can I fish without a license in NY?

A: In most cases, no—you need a valid fishing license. Exceptions include fishing on licensed preserves, during free fishing days, or if you qualify for an exemption, like certain farm owners.

Q: Where can I fish without a license in NY?

Saltwater anglers can fish New York’s coastal waters and bays freely without needing to buy a marine permit. Freshwater exceptions include certain private ponds or during temporary “free fishing” events.

Similar Posts