No Fishing License To Enjoy the Holiday? Not To Worry: July 4 is ‘Free Fishing Day’ in North Carolina

Published Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 8:34 am

By Jesse Wood

July 3, 2013. The Fourth of July is “free fishing day” in North Carolina, and everyone – residents and non-residents, alike – are allowed to fish in all public waters, including coastal waters on Independence Day, without a license.

jpegAlthough no fishing license is required, anglers must abide by all other fishing regulations, such as size and daily possession limits and bait and tackle restrictions. The freebie day begins at 12:01 a.m. and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, July 4.

“Free fishing day is a great opportunity for families to enjoy some quality time together on the water and it is a relatively inexpensive activity that anyone, no matter what their age or skill level, can enjoy,” said Kyle Briggs, a program manager with the Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries.

The annual free fishing day in North Carolina began in 1994 and was authorized by the N.C. General Assembly to promote the sport of fishing.

Check out interactive fishing and boating maps listing more than 500 fishing and boating areas that are open to the public, via the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, across the state.


Want to fish after the holiday? Here’s licensing info:

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. A one-year comprehensive inland fishing license, which includes public trout waters, is $20. Other fishing licenses are available as well. To purchase a license:

Call the Wildlife Resources Commission at 1-888-248-6834. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week;

Go to the Wildlife Resources Commission’s website, www.ncwildlife.org and click on the yellow “Purchase License” button at the top left side of the home page.

Visit a local Wildlife Service Agent. Most are located in bait-and-tackle shops, hunting and sporting good stores and larger chain stores.

For a list of all public fishing areas, Community Fishing Program sites and Tackle Loaner Program sites, visit the Fishing page, or call the Division of Inland Fisheries, 919-707-0220.

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