New York state to honor veterans with Free Fishing Day on Nov. 11


ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 6, 2020) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that New York residents and non-residents can fish for free without a license on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11. New York's Free Fishing Days encourage more people to get outdoors and enjoy the state's world-class fishing opportunities.

"The Veterans Day Free Fishing Day is just one way to acknowledge the contributions of our veterans while offering the opportunity to enjoy some of the best fishing spots in the nation, right here in the Empire State," Cuomo said. "I encourage everyone from expert anglers to beginners to take advantage of this Free Fishing Day and enjoy everything New York has to offer."

The Free Fishing Days program is administered by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as part of Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative. The free fishing days program began in 1991, to give people who might not fish a chance to try the sport at no cost, introduce people to a new hobby, and to encourage people to support the sport by purchasing a New York state fishing license.

"Free fishing on Veterans Day recognizes the service of men and women in our armed forces and is a great opportunity for experienced anglers to introduce friends and relatives to the sport,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos.

“As we all work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, more New Yorkers are heading outdoors in search of local recreational activities. Being near the water, enjoying some of the state's world-class fisheries, is an excellent way to unwind and learn more about the sport of fishing," Seggos added.  

Participants are reminded that although the requirement for a fishing license is waived during free fishing days, all other fishing regulations remain in effect. When not participating in Free Fishing Days, anyone 16 or older must have a current state fishing license to fish in New York. Fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. More information on purchasing a fishing license can be found on DEC's website at

Fishing and hunting in New York build a sense of stewardship of fish and wildlife resources and habitats, provide an opportunity for experienced hunters and anglers to share their knowledge with others, and promote participation in hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting through the mentoring of young hunters and anglers. To learn about angling opportunities near you, visit Places to Fish on DEC's website or download the New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App from the website.

New York state continues to encourage people to engage in responsible recreation during the state's ongoing response to COVID-19. This fall, anglers should be mindful in taking precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 while enjoying the outstanding fishing opportunities throughout the state.

At popular angling destinations, especially the Salmon River in Oswego County, angler density can become high enough to make social distancing difficult. DEC is placing signs at popular locations to remind anglers to be SMART when fishing this year:

  • Socially distance at least six feet apart;
  • Mask - Wear one when you cannot maintain social distancing, especially in parking lots and along footpaths;
  • Avoid sharing gear when possible;
  • Respect your fellow anglers and the resource by providing space and practicing ethical angling; and
  • Take out what you bring in or place trash in receptacles.


Anglers fishing from a boat should make sure it's large enough so individuals on board are at least six feet apart from one another.

For more information on boating guidelines and safety, go to New York State Parks website at, and for more information about how to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL, visit DEC's website.


(Governor’s Press Office)