New York Fishing License

New York Fishing License

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Like most states New York requires a fishing license for anglers.  Here are the important rules that people need to understand before heading out on their next fishing trip.

Basic Requirements for a New York Fishing License

  • People who are at least 16 years old must have a New York state fishing license
  • Anyone that is fishing in any of the waterways in the state of New York.


  • Residents of New York, who own their own land, and are fishing on their own land, do not need a license.  This exception extends to people that may lease the land and the immediate family members of the land owner.
  • People who pursue fish on properly licensed preserves do not need a license.
  • People who have a license for a farm fish pond do not need a separate New York State fishing license.

Privileges of the New York fishing license

A person that has a current NY fishing license can catch fish using the following methods:

  • Angling
  • Hooking
  • Longbow
  • Spearing

The fishing license also allows people to catch bait fish if intended for their own personal use.

Regardless of the method used to catch fish, these rules apply

  • When fishing, the person must have their license on them at all times.
  • If a police officer, land owner, peace officer or other person that has control of the water and land requests to see their license then the license holder must comply.
  • Possession of a fishing license does not entitle a person to trespass on private waters or land.

Qualifying for the License

In the state of New York a person must show proof that they have lived in the state for a minimum of 31 days prior to applying for the license.  A person does not have to be a property owner.

In addition to people residing in New York, members of the military that are stationed within New York can qualify for a fishing license.  Finally, citizens who are college students full time and live in New York can also qualify for a fishing license.

Free Fishing without License

Every year the state designates the last weekend in the month of June as a Free Fishing period.  In 1991 the idea was born to give people an opportunity to try their hand at the various fishing opportunities offered in New York without the requirement of a fishing license.  This has become an annual event across the state.  Most people use this as a chance to take a friend or relative on their first fishing trip and do not have to worry about complying with the fishing license regulations.

Besides this one weekend in June the Department of Environmental Conservation will host free fishing opportunities in select
places to give people a chance to learn more about fishing.  These events usually take place between April and October since this is the prime period to catch fish.

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