On July 4, anyone in North Carolina can enjoy one of state’s best outdoor activities for free. Residents and out-of-state visitors are allowed to fish without having to purchase a license or pay a daily permit fee including in public fishing spots such as Charles D. Owen and Lake Julian Parks. All other fishing regulations apply, such as length and daily possession limits, as well as bait and tackle restrictions.
"Free Fishing Day allows families and individuals to enjoy quality time outdoors," says Josh O'Conner, Director of Buncombe County Recreation Services. "Fishing crosses all gender, cultural, and economic lines. For our younger residents, it builds confidence, improves coordination, teaches patience, and encourages an appreciation of nature."
To give anglers a better chance of catching fish, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission stocks a variety of fish in waters across the state including trout and channel catfish.
Many fishing areas will be crowded on July 4, so park visitors are urged to be patient and courteous. Also, because of COVID-19, physical distance of at least six feet must be maintained between anglers and others who do not live in the same household. All park visitors are reminded to practice the Three Ws: wear a cloth face covering when entering/exiting the pool and when not in the pool, wait at least six feet apart from and avoid close contact with anyone who does not live in your household, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often.
While anyone can fish for free on July 4, a fishing license is required for people age 16 and older on all other days of the year in order to fish in any public water in North Carolina. Purchasing a license online is quick and easy.
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