How to Get a New York Fishing License?

Discover the essential steps to obtain your New York fishing license and enjoy the Empire State’s diverse angling opportunities. Our comprehensive guide covers license types, costs, age requirements, and more.

If you’re planning to go fishing in New York, you’ll need to make sure you have a valid NY fishing license first. The good news is that getting a fishing license in New York is a quick and easy process, with options to purchase online, by phone, or in-person.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about New York fishing licenses in 2024 – from the types of licenses available and their costs, to age requirements and how to get one. We’ll also cover some key fishing regulations to be aware of and highlight the free fishing days in NY this year.

Who Needs a New York Fishing License?

In general, anyone age 16 and older needs a fishing license to fish in the fresh waters of New York State. There are a few exceptions:

  • Fishing on a licensed fishing preserve
  • Fishing during the state’s Free Fishing Days
  • Fishing at a free fishing clinic hosted by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
  • You are a NY resident primarily engaged in farming on your own land
  • You hold a farm fish pond license and are fishing on waters covered by that license
  • You are a Native American living and fishing on reservation land
  • You are a patient at a U.S. Veterans Administration hospital in NY

Those under age 16 can fish without a license but must be accompanied by a licensed adult.

Types of NY Fishing Licenses & Costs

New York offers both resident and non-resident fishing licenses, with a variety of durations to choose from. To qualify for a resident license, you must have lived in NY for at least 30 days immediately prior to purchase.

Here’s a breakdown of the different license types and fees for 2024:

Resident Licenses

  • Annual (ages 16-69): $25
  • Annual (ages 70+): $5
  • 7-Day: $12
  • 1-Day: $5
  • Lifetime (ages 0-69): $460

Non-Resident Licenses

  • Annual: $50
  • 7-Day: $28
  • 1-Day: $10

Certain groups, including active military members, veterans with 40%+ disability, and legally blind residents can get discounted or free annual licenses.

How to Get a NY Fishing License

You have three convenient options for purchasing a New York fishing license:

  1. Online via the DEC website
  2. By phone: 1-866-933-2257
  3. In-person at a license issuing agent, such as sporting goods stores, town halls, and some parks

If buying online, you’ll need a printer to print out your license immediately. Phone orders will receive a confirmation number to serve as proof of purchase until your license arrives by mail.

Pro Tip: Consider taking a photo of your license to store on your phone as a backup. Make sure to carry your license with you whenever fishing, as you may be asked to present it by an environmental conservation officer.

Key NY Fishing Regulations

When fishing in New York, it’s important to follow the state’s fishing regulations to avoid fines and help protect the fisheries. A few key rules to know:

  • Fishing seasons, size restrictions, and daily catch limits vary by species and location. Consult the DEC’s annual Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide for details.
  • Anglers must enroll in the free Recreational Marine Fishing Registry to fish for saltwater species or in the marine district. Visit the DEC website for more info.
  • Baitfish can only be collected for personal use with certain gear types. Unused baitfish must be discarded on land, not released into the water.
  • Clean all fishing equipment thoroughly before using it in a new body of water to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Free Fishing Days in NY for 2024

Each year, the DEC designates a few days where anyone can fish in NY’s fresh waters without a license. These “Free Fishing Days” are a great opportunity to try the sport for the first time or introduce someone new to fishing.

For 2024, the free fishing dates are:

  • February 17-18
  • June 29-30
  • September 28
  • November 11

All other fishing regulations, such as size and catch limits, still apply during these days.

Final Thoughts

With its abundant lakes, rivers, and coastal waters, New York offers incredible fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Taking a few minutes to get your fishing license ensures you’re following the rules and doing your part to support the state’s fisheries.

As you head out to cast a line this year, remember to review the regulations, handle fish carefully, and practice “leave no trace” principles. Together we can help keep New York’s fishing heritage alive and well for generations to come.

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