Free Fishing Day in North Carolina on July 4

Free Fishing Day is taking place on July 4 this year and you can fish without a license all day long.

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Free Fishing Day is taking place on July 4 this year and you can fish without a license all day long.
According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website, "Free Fishing Day, which runs from 12 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., offers residents and out-of-state visitors the opportunity to fish without having to purchase a license; however, all other fishing regulations apply, such as length and daily possession limits, as well as bait and tackle restrictions."

Free Fishing Day was authorized by the N.C. General Assembly in 1994 and is sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. It was developed to promote the sport of fishing and occurs on July 4 every year.

“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.”

You can see interactive fishing and boating maps on the Commission’s website that list more than 500 fishing and boating areas that are open to the public. Some of them are even free.

Because July 4 is a holiday weekend, boating and fishing areas will likely be very busy. The Commission is asking people to be patient, courteous and follow the boating etiquette tips from their website 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 block or cutting off others

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

* Also if possible, have someone move the boat away from the ramp while you retrieve your vehicle and trailer

* 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."

During the rest of the year, a fishing license is required for people age 16 and older if they want to fish in any public water in North Carolina. You can purchase a license online, by calling the Commission at 888-248-6834 or by visiting a local Wildlife Service Agent.

For more information on Free Fishing Day and on obtaining a license to fish the rest of the year, see

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