July 4 is Free Fishing Day in North Carolina
July 4 is your one chance a year to get hooked on fishing — for free! From 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., everyone in North Carolina — resident and non-residents alike — can fish in any public body of water, from mountain trout waters to coastal waters, without purchasing a fishing license or additional trout fishing privilege.
Although no fishing license is required to fish on July 4, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds anglers that all other fishing regulations, such as size and creel limits and lure restrictions, still apply.
To give anglers a better chance of catching fish, the Commission stocks a variety of fish in waters across the state — including trout and channel catfish. The agency also provides free access to fishing sites across the state, including public fishing areas and boating access areas. A list of more than 500 fishing areas open to the public is on the Commission’s website, www.ncwildlife.org/fishing.
Authorized by the N.C. General Assembly and started in 1994, North Carolina’s annual free fishing day always falls on July 4.
“The Wildlife Commission offers a free fishing day to show novice anglers how much fun fishing can be and to remind lapsed anglers how much fun they’ve been missing,” said Robert Curry, chief of the Wildlife Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries. “It’s a great opportunity for anglers of all ages and abilities to experience the incredible fishing that North Carolina has to offer.”
While a fishing license is not required for anglers 15 years and younger, anyone age 16 and older must have a fishing license to fish in any public water in North Carolina, including coastal waters. To purchase a license:
- Call the Commission at 1-888-248-6834. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week;
- Go to www.ncwildlife.org using a computer or mobile device;
- Visit a local Wildlife Service Agent.
For a list of all public fishing areas, visit the Fishing page, or call the Division of Inland Fisheries, 919-707-0220.