Free Fishing Day returns on July 4

Published 11:34 am Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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POLK COUNTY—On July 4, anyone in North Carolina, regardless of age, can enjoy one of the state’s best outdoor activities for free. 

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.

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.  

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“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 a 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.

Many of the boating areas likely will be crowded over the busy holiday weekend, so the Commission urges boaters to be patient and courteous. 

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 in North Carolina.


Submitted by N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission