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Zone Officer Butler teaching Cub Scouts how to fish at a summer camp in Brunswick, GA. Photo by USFWS.

Free fishing

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Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature.

On July 4, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission invites anglers and would-be anglers of all ages to go fishing — for free.

From 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., everyone in North Carolina — resident and non-residents alike — can fish in any public body of water, including coastal waters, without purchasing a fishing license or additional trout fishing privilege. Although no fishing license is required, all other fishing regulations, such as size and creel limits and lure restrictions, still apply.

To give anglers a better chance of catching fish, the Commission stocks a variety of fish in waters across the state — including trout and channel catfish. The agency also provides access to fishing sites across the state, including public fishing areas and boating access areas. Interactive fishing and boating maps on the Commission’s website list more than 500 fishing and boating areas, many of which are free, that are open to the public.

Authorized by the N.C. General Assembly and started in 1994, North Carolina’s annual free fishing day always falls on July 4.

On all other days of the year, a fishing license is not required for anglers 15 years and younger, but anyone age 16 and older must have a fishing license to fish in any public water in North Carolina, including coastal waters.

For WNCW and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this is Gary Peeples.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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