Free fishing on the 4th of July

Fishing is as American as baseball fireworks and apple pie. Check out these states that offer free fishing opportunities this Independence Day

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Free fishing on the 4th of July

The 4th of July brings to mind scenes of Americana including: parades, barbecues, fireworks and children dressed in their best red white and blue outfit. The only thing missing from these scenes is fishing. Recreational angling is practiced more in the US almost every year with over 50 million Americans casting a line in 2020 alone. We think this makes fishing America’s unofficial national pastime and should be celebrated as such on Independence Day. 

These five states agree with us and to celebrate the 4th of July and freedom, they offer free fishing opportunities with no licenses needed.

Free fishing in Maryland

Catfishing in Maryland
Catfishing in Maryland

The Free State of Maryland lives up to its nickname on the 4th by allowing anglers to fish both tidal and non-tidal waters with no license, or accompanying stamps. This gives an angler free reign of the legendary Chesapeake Bay for stripers and rockfish. Anglers can also fish for American shad, large and smallmouth bass, or even walleye on rivers like the Potomac, the Elk and Choptank all for free.  

Free fishing in Mississippi

The Magnolia state wants everyone to experience the thrill of Mississippi saltwater fishing. On the 4th of July Mississippi residents do not need a saltwater license to fish the state's amazing and productive coastal waters. The free fishing applies to Mississippi waters out to the National boundary.

Anglers can target a massive range of fish like gulf redfish, flounder, sheepshead, speckled trout and tripletail. These species can all be caught inshore and in estuaries, making the fishing far more accessible to the public than offshore species like cobia and Spanish mackerel. 

Free fishing in North Carolina

Sheepshead fishing in North Carolina
Sheepshead fishing in North Carolina

North Carolina may have the best mix of free fresh and saltwater fishing of any state on this list. The Outer Banks provide amazing saltwater opportunities for red fish, stripers, blue fish and many more. Inland anglers can target everything from largemouth bass, to smallies in the warm lakes and brook, brown and rainbow trout in the mountain streams and rivers like the Pigeon, or Nantahala

This mix of cold, warm and saltwater fisheries is not found in other states and guarantees North Carolinians fantastic free fishing anywhere they travel.

Fun Fact: North Carolina is home to the world record red fish, which weighed 94 pounds and was caught from the shore near Avon. 

Free fishing in Pennsylvania

Striper fishing in Pennsylvania
Striper fishing in Pennsylvania

The birthplace of American Independence wants you to fish for free. Pennsylvania is steeped in American history and liberty. Philadelphia was the original capital of the union, where the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall still sit today. Along with these man-made historical sights are some amazing fisheries, which should also be celebrated on the 4th. This Independence Day sport anglers in the Keystone State can do their best George Washington impression while fishing for American shad and bass on the historic Delaware River. Other anglers can find solitude in the woods casting for brown and brook trout on waters like Oil Creek, the Youghiogheny River, or Wissahickon Creek. Anglers can also fish without Lake Erie, salmon, or trout permits as well.

Free fishing in South Carolina

South Carolina Whitebass
South Carolina Whitebass

South Carolina is home to some terrific bass, striper, catfish and bluegill fishing and South Carolinians can experience all these for free. This free day of fishing only includes freshwater fishing and not salt, but this still leaves endless possibilities on the nation’s birthday. South Carolina is home to 14 major reservoirs which cover over 370,000 acres, major lakes in state parks like: Lake Marion at Santee State Park, Lake Jocassee at Devils Fork State ParkGreenwood State Park, and Lake Wateree State Park. Other state parks hace popular river access for fishing like: Little Pee Dee State Park on the Pee Dee River,  Givhans Ferry State Park on the Edisto River and Landsford Canal State Park on the Catawba River.

Make sure and check for striper migration info, size restrictions and harvest info if you are searching for a phenomenal fight and table fare. 

Wherever you are celebrating Independence Day this year, we hope you take the time to salute the wild places and beautiful waters which are part of what it means to be an American. Whether you are fishing for free in one of the above states, or already have your conservation license, we wish everyone a happy 4th of July.

Now let’s go fishing. We’ll bring the Stars and Stripes. 

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