Fish for free in North Carolina’s public waters on Independence Day

Fish for free in North Carolina’s public waters on Independence Day
North Carolina Free Fishing Day scheduled for July 4th.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - On July 4 from 12 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., anyone in North Carolina can fish without having to purchase a license.

Any resident or out-of-state visitor, regardless of age, can enjoy fishing for free; however, all other fishing regulations apply, such as bait and tackle restrictions, fish length and daily possession limits.

The annual free fishing day was authorized by the N.C. General Assembly in 1994 and sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to promote the sport of fishing.

“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 an inexpensive activity that anyone, no matter what their age or skill level, can enjoy.”

The interactive fishing and boating maps on the NCWRC’s website list more than 500 fishing and boating areas, many of which are free and open to the public.

Because this is a holiday weekend, the NCWRC urges boaters to be patient and follow these boating etiquette tips:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Observe no-wake zones and be cautious

The NCWRC recommends following social distance guidelines while on the boat ramp or when rafting up with other boaters.

While fishing is free on July 4, a fishing license is required for people age 16 and older to fish in any public water in North Carolina any other time of year.

Call 1-888-248-6834 between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. or visit the NCWRC website for licenses and regulations.

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