Exploring New York: Free Fishing License for Disabled Individuals – Your Guide

Can a Disabled Person Get a Free Fishing License in New York?


Fishing is not just a hobby; it’s an activity that brings joy, relaxation, and a sense of connection with nature. However, for individuals with disabilities in New York, pursuing this recreational pastime may come with certain challenges and expenses. In this blog post, we will explore whether disabled persons can obtain free fishing licenses in the state of New York.

The Importance of Accessible Recreation

Recreation plays an essential role in enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Engaging in outdoor activities like fishing promotes physical well-being, mental health, and social inclusion. It is crucial to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to enjoy recreational pursuits without facing unnecessary barriers or financial constraints.

Fishing Licenses: An Overview

What Is a Fishing License?

In order to legally fish within the state’s waters, anglers are typically required to hold a valid fishing license issued by the appropriate governing body. These licenses help fund conservation efforts and maintain sustainable fisheries while ensuring compliance with local regulations.

Fishing Licenses for Disabled Individuals

New York State acknowledges the importance of accessible recreation by offering special provisions for disabled individuals who wish to go fishing.

New York State Recreational Marine Fishing Disability License (RMFDL)


The New York State Recreational Marine Fishing Disability License (RMFDL) allows eligible disabled residents and non-residents to engage in marine fishing without obtaining an additional recreational marine fishing license or paying associated fees.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for RMFDL:

1. The individual must have a permanent disability.
2. The disability should substantially impair their ability to engage in fishing activities.
3. The disability should be certified by a licensed physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner.

Application Process

To apply for the RMFDL:

1. Obtain the Application for Recreational Marine Fishing Disability License from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website or through their regional offices.
2. Fill out the application form completely and accurately.
3. Attach a copy of proof of residency (if applicable) and disability certification signed by an authorized healthcare professional.
4. Submit the completed application either online, via mail, or in person to your nearest regional office.


The RMFDL provides disabled individuals with numerous benefits:

1. Exemption from recreational marine fishing license fees.
2.Automatic registration as part of New York’s Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP).
3.Access to various saltwater fishing opportunities without additional permits.

New York State Freshwater Fishing License Accommodations


While no specific provision exists for free freshwater fishing licenses solely based on disabilities, New York State offers discounted licenses that may benefit disabled individuals.

Reduced Fee Licenses

Disabled residents can apply for reduced-fee annual licenses that provide them access to freshwater fishing at a lower cost compared to regular annual licenses.

Fishing License Discounts:

– Resident Disabled Veterans: Certain veterans with disabilities are eligible for free hunting and/or fishing privileges – administered by NYS Division of Veterans’ Affairs
– Reduced-Fee Sportsman License: Combines hunting, trapping, freshwater/saltwater fishing privileges – available only through automated licensing system vendors

It is important to consult official sources like the “New York State Freshwater Fishing Guide” published annually by the Department of Environmental Conservation for up-to-date information on eligibility criteria and associated fees.


While New York State does not offer completely free fishing licenses for disabled individuals, it recognizes the significance of accessible recreational opportunities. The RMFDL provides marine fishing privileges at no additional cost to eligible disabled residents and non-residents. Additionally, discounted freshwater licenses are available to accommodate disabled individuals interested in pursuing this beloved pastime. By ensuring equal access to outdoor activities like fishing, New York is fostering inclusion and enhancing the overall well-being of its diverse population.