Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has designated Father’s Day, this Sunday, June 21, as the first of two “Free Fishing License” days scheduled for 2015. A second “Free Fishing License Day” is scheduled for Saturday, August 15.

To fish legally in Connecticut, anyone 16 years of age or older must obtain a fishing license. Thanks to legislation passed in 2014 (Public Act 14-201) DEEP can now designate up to two dates per year as a “Free Fishing License Day”. To fish on these days, anyone, resident or non-resident, can obtain a free one-day fishing license good for both the inland and marine districts.

The free license to fish on this Sunday is now available and the license for August 15 will be available on July 25, three weeks prior to the second “Free Fishing License Day.” These licenses can be obtained through the DEEP online sportsmen licensing system (www.ct.gov/deep/sportsmenlicensing) or at any venue that sells fishing licenses.

These designated “Free Fishing License” days are another of DEEP’s initiatives developed to connect people with outdoor activities and Connecticut’s natural resources. “Studies have shown that people who are hesitant about trying fishing often cite the license fee as a primary reason. The intent of each Free Fishing License Day is to encourage anyone who is considering taking up fishing, but is unwilling to make the commitment to purchase a license, to give fishing a try,” said Susan Whalen, Deputy Commissioner of DEEP. “We’re confident that as people try fishing, they’ll experience the many benefits fishing offers and will be hooked on the sport.”

“We know that once people try fishing and visit our many lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and Long Island Sound they will be amazed at how much they have been missing. Connecticut has just about every type of fishing within 25 miles of just about every resident,” said Peter Aarrestad, Director of DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division. “Whether one chooses trout, bass, pike, panfish, or saltwater species like striped bass, fluke, porgy or bluefish, we have it all.”

This day also provides families the opportunity to plan a family outing focused around fishing together as each family member 16 years of age or older can obtain a free one-day fishing license. “We thought that Father’s Day would be a good choice to offer a free chance to fish. It’s a great opportunity for experienced anglers to get a family member, friend or acquaintance outdoors and introduce them to the sport of fishing,” said Deputy Commissioner Whalen.

There are also a number of other fishing opportunities now available for youngsters. For those 16 or 17 years of age, licenses for the entire season are 50% off of the regular adult price. Those who are 15 or younger do not need a fishing license but can register using the same on-line system to obtain a “Youth Fishing Passport”. The “Youth Fishing Passport” provides access to two fishing related activities and a list of sponsors who are offering discounts or free items to passport holders. Visit www.ct.gov/deep/yfp for details.

Need to find a place to fish? Check out our listings of Lakes & Ponds, Rivers & Streams, and Coastal Access points in the 2015 Connecticut Angler’s Guide or call us at 860-424-FISH (3474). Anglers can also find fishing regulations in the 2015 Connecticut Angler’s Guide.

The Guide can be found online at www.ct.gov/deep/anglersguide and print versions are available at more than 350 locations statewide, including many town halls, bait & tackle shops and other vendors selling outdoor equipment, DEEP facilities, and commercial marinas and campgrounds, or by contacting DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division (860-424-FISH). Additional fishing and fisheries related information can be found on the DEEP web site at: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing, and on Social media, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ctfishandwildlife and Twitter @ctfishinginfo.