It may be the middle of winter in Western New York, but the latest announcement from New York State is going to have anglers from Buffalo to Montauk dusting off their tackle boxes.

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Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Empire State's first free fishing weekend of the year will take place on the weekend of February 19th and 20th, when freshwater anglers are permitted to fish for free without a license.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has held the annual February free wishing weekend since 1991.  The goal of the free fishing program is to give those that don't usually fish, an opportunity to try the sport, at no cost, without the full commitment of purchasing a fishing license.

Governor Kathy Hochul said via a press release:

Getting outside to experience New York's natural beauty is a perfect way to have fun and recharge at one of New York's many world-class fishing destinations. Visiting your local fisheries provides both recreational enjoyment and serves as a vital economic generator, supporting local economies statewide.

With the temperatures at this time of the year ideal for ice fishing, the state is encouraging those who are new to the sport of ice fishing to take advantage of the resources that it is offering, including a free download of the FISH NY Beginners' Guide to Freshwater Fishing for information on how to get started. They are also offering a series of "how-to" videos geared aimed at those who may be heading out on the ice for the first time.  You can check out the videos by CLICKING HERE.

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