On July 4, anyone in North Carolina, regardless of age, can enjoy one of the state’s best outdoor activities for free.
Authorized by the N.C. General Assembly in 1994 and sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina’s annual free fishing day, which always falls on July 4, was created 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 relatively inexpensive activity that anyone, no matter what their age or skill level, can enjoy.”
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 access to fishing sites across the state, including public fishing areas and boating access areas. The interactive fishing andboating maps on the Commission’s website list more than 500 fishing and boating areas, many of which are free, that are open to the public.
Many of the boating areas likely will be crowded over the busy holiday weekend, so the Commission urges boaters to be patient, courteous and follow the boating etiquette tips below:
- Be patient and remain calm until an open parking space is available.
- Wait your turn in the launch line. Get in line without blocking or cutting off others.
- Park your vehicle and trailer while someone moves the boat away from the ramp.
- Recruit someone to move the boat away from the ramp while you retrieve your vehicle and trailer.
- Observe no-wake zones and be cautious.
While anyone can fish for free on July 4, a fishing license is required for people ages 16 and older on all other days of the year for both inland and coastal waters in North Carolina. Purchasing a license online is quick and easy. Other ways to purchase a license are:
- Call the Commission at 888-248-6834. Current hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Visit a local Wildlife Service Agent.
For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit the Fishing page.
About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit www.ncwildlife.org.
Get N.C. Wildlife Update — news including season dates, bag limits, legislative updates and more — delivered free to your Inbox from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Go to www.ncwildlife.org/enews.