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Fish for Free in North Carolina on July 4

“Free Fishing Day is a great opportunity for families to enjoy some quality time together on the water,” Christian Waters said.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission announced Tuesday people of all ages can fish on the Fourth of July for free!

Free Fishing Day will be all day, July 4 and offers residents and out-of-state guests the chance to fish without having to purchase a license.

NC Wildlife said however, all other fishing regulations apply, such as length and daily possession limits, as well as bait and tackle restrictions.

“Authorized by the N.C. General Assembly in 1994 and sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina’s annual free fishing day, which always falls on July 4, was created to promote the sport of fishing,” said the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

The Commission stocks a variety of fish in waters across the state — including trout and channel catfish, to give anglers a better chance of catching fish.

“Free Fishing Day is a great opportunity for families to enjoy some quality time together on the water,” said Christian Waters, the agency’s chief of the Inland Fisheries Division. “Fishing is relatively inexpensive activity that anyone, no matter what their age or skill level, can enjoy.”

The commission said the agency also provides access to fishing sites across the state, including public fishing areas and boating access areas.

NC Wildlife said the interactive fishing and boating maps on the Commission’s website list more than 500 fishing and boating areas, many of which are free, that are open to the public.

NC Wildlife recommends the following boating etiquette tips below:

Realize that parking lots will be crowded. Be patient and remain calm until an open parking space is available.

Wait your turn in the launch line. Get in line without blocking or cutting off others.

If possible, park your vehicle and trailer while someone moves the boat away from the ramp.

Have someone move the boat away from the ramp while you retrieve your vehicle and trailer, if possible.

Observe no-wake zones and be cautious.

Also, because of COVID-19, the Commission recommends maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet between you and others while on the boat ramp, on beaches or islands, or when rafting up with other boaters. Read more social distancing while boating safety tips.

While anyone can fish for free on July 4, on all other days of the year, a fishing license is required for people age 16 and older, in order to fish in any public water in North Carolina, including coastal waters. 

Visit the NC Wildlife’s website for more information.

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