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Free Fishing Weekends 2024: When you can fish for free in every state

woman crouches by river to fish
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If you’re dreaming of days spent casting a fishing line lakeside or in a boat on the open water, you may want to start putting some summertime adventures on the calendar now. And it might be fun to plan around your state’s free fishing day, which is when you’ll be able to fish for free on public properties without a license.

Free fishing days and weekends happen every year around the country on different dates, depending on the state in which you live. The days of free fishing often coincide with National Fishing and Boating Week, which lands on June 1-9 in 2024. While most states offer free fishing days during those specific dates, some offer them outside of that week or year-round.

Some states even offer multiple free fishing weekends throughout the year. If you’re a cold-weather fan, a few states offer free fishing days in the winter so you can try your luck at ice fishing.

MORE:  You can visit the national parks for free on these days in 2024

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Take a look at the 2024 free fishing dates for each state below. We’ve included dates posted for every state as of April 16, but District of Columbia hasn’t shared dates yet for this year.

You’ll also want to click on your state for more information, as some states require you to apply for a free one-day license prior to the free fishing weekend. Also, other rules, such as where you can fish (in freshwater vs. saltwater, for example), which bait you can use and what you can take home, will still apply.

Alabama: June 8

Alaska: Residents under 18 and over 60 as well as disabled veterans fish for free year-round; other residents are required to have a fishing license

Arizona: June 1

Arkansas: June 7-9

California: July 6 and Aug. 31

Colorado: June 1-2

Connecticut: May 11

Washington, D.C.: TBA

Delaware: June 1-2

Florida: April 6-7 and June 8-9 (freshwater); June 1-2, Sept. 7 and Nov. 30 (saltwater)

Georgia: June 1, June 8 and Sept. 28

Hawaii: Free year-round (marine)

Idaho: June 8

Illinois: June 14-17

Indiana: May 12, June 1-2, and Sept. 28

Iowa: June 7-9

Kansas: June 1-2

Kentucky: June 1-2

Louisiana: June 8-9

Maine: Feb. 17-18 and June 1-2

Maryland: June 1, June 8 and July 4

Massachusetts: June 1-2

Michigan: Feb. 17-18 and June 8-9

Minnesota: Residents can fish without a fishing license in most state parks year-round

Mississippi: June 1-2

Missouri: June 8-9

Montana: June 15-16 (Father’s Day weekend every year)

Nebraska: May 18

Nevada: June 8

New Hampshire: June 1

New Jersey: June 1 and Oct. 19

New Mexico: June 1-2 and Sept. 28-29

New York: Feb. 17-18, June 29-30, Sept. 28 and Nov. 11

North Carolina: July 4 (same day every year)

North Dakota: June 1-2 and Dec. 28-29

Ohio: June 15-16

Oklahoma: June 1-2 (a free paddlefish permit is still required)

Oregon: Feb. 17-18, June 1-2 and Nov. 29-30

Pennsylvania: May 26 and July 4

Rhode Island: May 4-5 (freshwater only)

South Carolina: May 27 and July 4 (freshwater only)

South Dakota: May 17-19

Tennessee: June 8-16

Texas: June 1

Utah: June 8

Vermont: June 8

Virginia: June 7-9

Washington: June 8-9 (applicable for catching certain species)

West Virginia: June 8-9

Wisconsin: June 1-2

Wyoming: June 1

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Not sure where to go fishing? You can search for the perfect spot on Take Me Fishing’s website, where you can search near you or find popular spots around the country. And before you head out, make sure you have the proper equipment, such as the best fishing weights and the best fishing float.

If you miss the Free Fishing Day date where you live, some states also offer free fishing on National Fishing Day on June 18, on Independence Day on July 4, and National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 24.

Once you’ve taken advantage of these free days, you may decide you’ve got a new hobby. If that’s the case, you can purchase an annual license for your state online.

Happy fishing!

About the Author

Kaitlin Gates

Kaitlin is a freelance multimedia journalist with a degree in journalism and psychology. Along with Don't Waste Your Money, she also writes for Simplemost, where she covers new product and food launches and overall general news. You can email her at kaitlingateswrites@gmail.com or find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/KaitlinGatesWrites. More.

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