Gov. Andrew Cuomo fished Lower Saranac Lake with Sen. Betty Little and state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens today as part New York's state-wide free fishing weekend, an annual event designed to "hook" new anglers and "lure" them into becoming fishing enthusiasts.
The group was led by Ray Brook guide and Enterprise outdoors columnist Joe Hackett. They were fishing for bass and spent about an hour and a half on the water in a pontoon boat. Afterward Cuomo, Little and other elected officials went to Keene to celebrate the grand opening of the Keene Fire Department building.
"From scenic Saranac Lake to the great Finger Lakes to the beaches of Long Island, New York State offers the best fishing for residents, visitors and even governors," Cuomo said in a press release. "As part of our NY Open for Hunting and Fishing initiative, this Free Fishing Weekend highlights all of the great fishing spots that New York State has to offer for anglers. Not only is fishing a great way to enjoy the great outdoors of our state, it can also help drive tourism and generate economic activity. This summer, I encourage all New Yorkers to cast a line and see what they can reel in."
From left, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens, Ray Brook guide Joe Hackett, ORDA chairman Pat Barrett, Sen. Betty Little and Gov. Andrew Cuomo return from fishing on Lower Saranac Lake Saturday morning.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
As part of Cuomo's NY's Open for Hunting and Fishing initiative, New York residents and visitors may fish for free without a fishing license in any of the state's 7,500 lakes and ponds or 50,000 miles of rivers and streams this weekend.
"Getting more people involved in the sport of fishing is an important component of the Governor Cuomo's NY's Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative," Martens said in a press release. "This is the perfect time to introduce someone to the sport of fishing or invite a friend or relative from out of state to enjoy the great fishing the state has to offer."
NY's Open for Hunting and Fishing initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, stocking as much as 900,000 pounds of fish raised at DEC hatcheries, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions, according to a press release.
To further encourage fishing in New York State, Cuomo signed legislation last year expanding the opportunity for free fishing clinics, allowing more New Yorkers to experience fishing for the first time by enabling DEC to increase the number of free clinics that can be held throughout the state. The free fishing days program began in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to sample the fishing New York State has to offer. New York's sport fishing industry generates an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity annually, supporting nearly 32,000 jobs, according to the governor's office.
A listing of free fishing event is available on the DEC website.
Anglers are reminded that although a fishing license is not required during the free fishing day weekend, all other fishing regulations remain in effect.
(See Monday's Enterprise for full articles on the fishing trip and the firehouse celebration in Keene.)