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Free fishing day this weekend!

Judy Van Put
Posted 9/21/21

This past weekend felt like a gift. Picture-perfect weather with blue skies and puffy white clouds, warm sun, the air cooled by gentle breezes, a great weekend to be out doing whatever needed to be …

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Free fishing day this weekend!


This past weekend felt like a gift. Picture-perfect weather with blue skies and puffy white clouds, warm sun, the air cooled by gentle breezes, a great weekend to be out doing whatever needed to be done or just out celebrating this last weekend of summer, topped off by a terrific Harvest Moon in the evening.

Area rivers and streams are in great shape for this time of year – water temperatures have been in the 60s all week, and stream levels are up. On Sunday afternoon the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was recorded as flowing at 602 cubic feet per second, which is above the (median) average flow of 130 cfs over 108 years of record-keeping. The river is slowly receding from its peak of just over 2000 cubic feet per second last Friday.

Hatches continue to be similar to those of last week, with a good assortment of flies to choose from - various sizes and colors of caddis flies, Isonychia mayflies (sizes #12 and #14) and small Blue-Winged Olives. This is a great time of year to use streamers, which are fished underwater and imitate minnows. Following a wet summer and what is considered a “great water year,” the trout will be showing good growth, as will the minnows and young-of-the-year, “fingerlings”. Trout are cannibalistic and will eat smaller members of their own species, which is why the young-of-the-year will seek cover, such as in riffle areas and under brush or overhanging trees along stream runs. These are great places in which to fish your favorite streamers. I love watching these colorful flies in action. As you cast across and let the streamer swing downstream with the current, and then ‘twitch’ it on the retrieve upstream, the “twitch” gives life to the fly that imitates a minnow or young fish swimming, and (hopefully) makes it almost irresistible to a larger trout.

Sound like fun? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try your luck at fishing, or maybe you are already a trout fisher who just didn’t get around to buying a fishing license this year. Whatever the case, you’re in luck, as this Saturday, September 25, is Free Fishing Day in New York State! The NYS DEC offers Free Fishing Days during each of the four seasons – this year, 2021, those dates were the weekends of February 13-14 (for ice fishing), June 26 – 27 (June is a prime month for trout fishing), this upcoming date of September 25, and again on November 11, Veteran’s Day. If you visit the DEC’s website, you can find it at this link: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/89821.html). They even offer suggestions of Ideas for Free Fishing Days -

  1. Try fishing for the first time.
  2. Haven’t fished in a while? Remember the joy of catching a fish again for free!
  3. Become an ambassador to the sport; take a friend fishing for the first time.
  4. Invite a friend to New York to fish.
  5. Take a spouse or significant other fishing.
  6. Take the family fishing, and don’t forget the grandparents!

In addition to this free fishing day offered by the NYS DEC, September 25 also coincides with the National Hunting and Fishing Day. The first-ever National Hunting and Fishing Day proclamation was signed by President Richard Nixon back in 1972 after it was enacted by Congress. Formed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, it is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of September to celebrate the outdoor activities of hunting and fishing, while emphasizing conservation.

Across the country, as well as in New York State, there are various special events that will be occurring, sponsored by Federations of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the DEC, United Sportsmen Associations and various other clubs and organizations, including the Boy Scouts. Some events will offer instructional programs on fishing, casting and fly-tying; and in Rockland County, for example, a special kids’ fishing derby will be held, with the DEC providing fishing rods, bait and tackle.

So be sure to take advantage of this great opportunity to get out on September 25 with your favorite fishing rod and companion - and go fish!


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