(WSYR-TV) — New Yorkers can fish without a license this weekend, February 19 and 20. 

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the ‘Free Fishing Weekend’ Monday after recent cold weather improved ice conditions across the state. 

“New York State is home to many great fishing spots, and I encourage both new and experienced anglers alike to take advantage of the annual February Free Fishing Day, which gives everyone the chance to appreciate the great outdoors at no cost and introduce family and friends to a new hobby,” Gov. Hochul said. “Getting outside to experience New York’s natural beauty is a perfect way to have fun and recharge at one of New York’s many world-class fishing destinations. Visiting your local fisheries provides both recreational enjoyment and serves as a vital economic generator, supporting local economies statewide.” 

For those who have not ice-fished before, there are beginner videos and information to read with a list of waters where ice fishing is permitted.  

The Department of Environment Conservation reminds those who will ice fish this weekend that four inches or more of ice is considered safe. 

“The annual February free fishing weekend is a perfect time to get outside and discover the wide range of winter fishing opportunities in New York and for first-time anglers to head to waters with ice thick enough to access safely and give ice fishing a try. Ice fishing is a great way to connect with the outdoors with friends and family. And, weather permitting, ice fishing is easily enjoyed with other outdoor activities like ice skating, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing,” said Basil Seggos, the DEC Commissioner. 

February’s free fishing days are the first of several planned for 2022. Additional free fishing days include June 25 and 26, September 24 (National Hunting and Fishing Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day).