Everyone must have a valid fishing license in their possession while fishing or helping someone to fish except:
- NYS-resident owners, lessees and members of their immediate families occupying and cultivating farm lands, when fishing on their own lands.
- Persons holding farm fish pond licenses and members of their immediate families, when fishing on waters covered by their licenses.
- Resident patients at Dept. of Mental Health institutions and Dept. of Health rehabilitation hospitals, and inmates at Division of Youth rehabilitation centers. License exemptions must be requested for such persons through the hospital/institution by writing NYSDEC License Sales Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4790, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Persons under 16 years of age.
- When fishing on licensed fishing preserves.
The following individuals are eligible for a free fishing license and may obtain a license at any license issuing outlet:
- New York State residents who are blind.
- New York State residents who are active service members of the NYS Organized Militia (i.e., National Guard), or U.S. Reserve Forces.
- New York State residents stationed outside of New York who are on full time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and are on leave in NY for no longer than 30 days.
- Resident patients at U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs hospitals or state funded facilities can obtain a free fishing license through their hospital or facility.
- Native Americans who are members of the Shinnecock and Poospatuck tribes or the Six Nations residing on reservations in New York State may obtain a free fishing license by contacting their reservation or DEC’s License Sales Office at (518) 402-8843.
Lost license replacement
A lost license may be replaced for $5.00 for each license type at any license issuing outlet.
Anglers 16 years of age and older who desire to fish in the marine and coastal district of New York, or for migratory marine species such as striped bass, hickory shad, and river herring from all waters of the state including the Hudson River and Delaware River must enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. General provisions include:
- There is no fee for residents or non-residents to register. (See resident licenses below for residency requirement).
- Registration is effective from January 1 through December 31 each year.
- Anglers may register at any sporting license issuing agent, by phone, or by Internet as noted below, under “Purchasing a License.”
License or Registry Requirements for Fishing in the Tidal Hudson River or Marine and Coastal District
Species Fishing For
License or Registry
North of Tappan Zee Bridge
“Freshwater” Fishing License
Migratory Marine Species
Recreational Marine Fishing Registry
South of Tappan Zee Bridge (marine and coastal district)
For additional information concerning the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry, contact the DEC Bureau of Marine Resources at (631) 444-0435 or visit the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/per-mits/54950.html.
Persons holding a freshwater fishing license or combined hunting and fishing license (including those entitled to fish without a license) may take fish by angling, spearing, hooking, longbow, nets, traps and tip ups; take frogs by spearing, catching with the hands or by use of a club or hook; and take baitfish for personal use, all as permitted by law or DEC.
- The holder of a license, tag or stamp shall have such license, tag or stamp on his/her person while exercising any privilege of that license.
- The holder of a license, tag or stamp shall exhibit it on demand to any police officer, peace officer, or the owner, lessee or other person in control of the lands or waters on which the license holder is present.
- No license or stamp authorizes the holder to trespass upon private lands or waters or interfere with property belonging to another person.
To qualify for a resident license, one must reside in New York State for more than 30 days immediately preceding the date of application for a license. Property ownership in New York State is not a residency requirement.
Residency is a fixed, permanent and principal home to which a person (regardless wherever temporarily located) always intends to return. Proof of residency is the address listed on a person’s registration to vote in elections for any public office other than school board. If applicant is under 18, the residence of parents or legal guardian shall be deemed such person’s residence.
Active members of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in the state, and full-time college students in residence in the state during the school year (proof required) also qualify for resident licenses.
Buy a lifetime license and never worry about future fee increases. Lifetime licenses are available only to New York State residents, but remain valid even if you move out of state.
Lifetime licenses can now be purchased at all license issuing outlets. For more information, visit DEC’s website or contact us at:
License Sales Unit
Albany, NY 12233-4790
Purchasing a license
Fishing licenses may be purchased at license issuing agents (town and county clerks, some major discount stores and many tackle shops and sporting goods stores) throughout New York State. Licenses may also be purchased online through DEC’s Automated Licensing System (DECALS), by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS. VISA and MasterCard are accepted. For further information, go to www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html. Resident license buyers also must have a NYS driver’s license, learners permit or non-driver’s ID for online purchases.