Free fishing day is back again! This annual tradition, sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and authorized by the N.C. General Assembly, lasts from 12 am until 11:59 pm on July 4. Anglers of all ages are encouraged to fish any public waters in NC for free. Anglers can fish any public waters, including coastal waters, without purchasing a fishing license or additional trout fishing privilege. Be aware, however, that even though no license is required to fish on July 4, all other fishing regulations apply. It will be important to abide by bait and tackle restrictions as well as daily limits and legal fish length restrictions.

To improve Free Fishing Day, the Commission has stocked a multitude of additional fish across state waters, including channel catfish and trout. Free interactive boating and fishing maps are available at These online maps list more than 500 NC fishing areas, many of which are free and open to the public

On every other day of the year, anglers age 16 or older must purchase a fishing license to fish in any public N.C. waters. Anglers can get these fishing licenses online, by calling the Commission, or by visiting a local Wildlife Service Agent.


Wildlife Commission Announces July 4 as Free Fishing Day, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Comission (June 20, 2018),


Vance R. Parker, JD, MBA, is an avid North Carolina outdoorsman, and estate planning, elder law, and special needs attorney, who also works to protect rural landowners, and drafts firearms trusts for sportsmen and sportswomen.  He serves as Secretary of the North Carolina Rifle and Pistol Association (NCRPA.)  Vance R. Parker’s legal practice, Vance Parker Law, PLLC, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is A+ Rated by the NC Better Business Bureau.

Vance R. Parker also maintains the sportsmen’s and sportswomen’s law website NC Sportsmen’s Law News.