If it's been a while since you picked up a rod and reel, now is the time.

With everyone stuck at home for the past three months, there's no better time to get outdoors and enjoy some fun in the sun. The Department of Environmental Conservation has just made it easy for anyone in the Hudson Valley to head to their local stream, lake or river and spend a relaxing weekend catching fish.

On Thursday, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that June 27 and 28 will be Free Fishing Weekend in New York. Anyone will be able to enjoy fresh water fishing in the Hudson Valley without needing a license. Seggos said that the event couldn't have come at a better time.

Amid the uncertainty of these challenging times, being home together has allowed many families to get outdoors and experience new activities. Free fishing days provide the perfect opportunity for all New Yorkers-from Brooklyn to Buffalo and from Montauk to Mt. Marcy-to try fishing for the first time and encourage those who have fished before to dust off their fishing rods and get outside.

Because of the pandemic, the DEC is encouraging anglers to follow additional safety guidelines when fishing this month:

  • Fish local: Stay close to home. Keep your fishing trip short. Avoid high-traffic destinations.
  • Be safe: Avoid crowds and groups. Keep a distance of six feet or more from others. When fishing from a boat, make sure it's large enough so persons on board are at least six feet from one another.
  • Stay home: If you're not feeling well, stay home. Anyone 70 and older or with a compromised immune system should postpone their trip.
  • Be adaptive: Move quickly through parking lots and paths. If crowded, choose a different fishing location, or time to visit.

If you're not sure where to get started, the DEC has supplied an extensive list of local fishing spots in Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties.

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