Fishing License In The US Explained

Fishing License In The US Explained

Fishing is a pretty popular sport, and for good reason!

There is nothing more relaxing than spending a warm, lazy summer’s day out at sea- and the satisfaction of catching fish is like no other.

The best thing about fishing is that anyone can do it. All it takes is some basic fishing equipment and some know-how. Fishing also doesn’t require too much physical exertion, unlike other sports. No matter your age, and no matter if you are a man or a woman, fishing is for everyone.

Fishing is also pretty inexpensive. It doesn’t require much investment. All you need is a fishing rod and some basic equipment and you are good to go.

Fishing is also one of the least stressful sport you can play. In fact, fishing can sometimes be an incredibly relaxing experience.

If you get a day or a two off work, you should head out to the water with some fishing equipment, simply to unwind after a long and stressful week.

There are many reasons to consider going fishing. Fishing keeps you healthy and fit. Although fishing doesn’t seem too exertive, it does make sure of almost all muscles in your body and can even make sure that your lungs pump air properly.  

If you are too lazy to work out in general, make it a point to go fishing every now and then. Fishing is particularly enjoyable when the weather is great.

Fishing exposes you to the sun and you can receive some very important vitamin D. Fishing is a great stress-buster and can even boost your levels of concentration.  Fishing can even just help you unplug.

Moreover, fishing is a communal activity. You can gather a group of friends and go fishing. This can help bring you all close and also be a fun activity.

Moreover, fishing can help boost your morale and self confidence. The more fi8sh you end up catching, the more confident you are likely to feel.

Fishing is great in every sense of the word, but the question arises of whether or not it is legal to go fishing in the US without a fishing license.

Regardless of whether you are fishing in a dock, a river or the sea, you will most likely be required to have a fishing license, although there may be a few exceptions to this rule.

If you are currently an angler, or if you hope to someday soon become an angler, you must understand these reasons for why it may not be legal to go fishing without a fishing license.

Can you fish in the US without a license?

Can you fish without a licence

The US is pretty stringent when it comes to law and order, and this applies in each and every domain. Most states in the US tend to have ban on fishing without a proper fishing license.

Just as there are laws against trespassing and hunting in a property that does not belong to you, there are laws against fishing in waters that aren’t technically yours.

Most states have strict laws against fishing without a license but these laws vary slightly between different states.

Generally speaking, most states will require any adult who is fishing to have a fishing permit before they can fish in public waters. This license is required even if you are only fishing recreationally.

Different types of licenses exist for different water bodies, and they can vary based on duration, and even the type of fish you wish to catch, for example, whether you intend to catch saltwater fish or freshwater fish. Licenses are usually required by wild game laws or even state fish wild life.

The best thing about fishing licenses is that some people are exempt from them as well. Fishing is so traditional a pastime for the elderly and for children that these groups of people don’t generally require a fishing license or permit in most states.

This also varies from state to state. In Florida, for example, you will not be required to have a fishing license if you are over the age of 65, or less than 16 years of age.

You will also not be required to have a fishing license if you are permanently disabled, or if you are actively serving in the military. Interestingly, you will even be exempt from needing a fishing license if you are fishing using natural bait and in your home town.

It can be fascinating to compare Florida’s rules with those of California. In California, children under 16 years of age aren’t required to purchase a fishing license but senior citizens who are over the age of 65 are required to.

Although senior citizens are required to purchase a fishing license, they are usually given discounts when buying these.

In many states in the US, you may have to obtain a fishing license when fishing on private land, unless the water is wholly contained on that piece of land.

In Texas for instance, all anglers must obtain a fishing license when they decide to fish in lakes and rivers, but might not need one when fishing in a water body that is privately owned, such as a private pond.

In some states in the US, private property owners and members can sometimes fish on their own land, unless they are fishing for commercial purposes.

The good news is that in some states, there are certain no-permit weekends and days where enthusiastic amateurs are allowed to fish for free (without a license). Many of these special days overlap with the National Fishing and Boating Week.

All you have to do is contact your particular state’s fish and game department in order to find out whether or not there is a free fishing day in your state, and when.

States in Which You Can Fish Without a License

Texas Park Fishing

The best thing about visiting places where you can fish for free is that you can introduce your friends who aren’t regular anglers or who have never tried out fishing to the wonderful activity, without having to pay for the license at the very start.

Purchasing a license is a big commitment, but is still a requirement in every state to some degree or the other.

If you are a frequent angler, or have been fishing for some time now, it makes sense to make that commitment. In fact, if you are very committed to fishing, you may even want to consider buying a lifetime license because this will not have to be renewed every now and then.

If not, and if you or a friend simply wants to try out fishing for a while, your best bet would be to find places within states where you can fish without a fishing license.

There are certain public parks in states such as Texas where you are allowed to fish without a license. Some of these parks even have the aforementioned special ‘free fishing’ days where you are allowed to fish without a license.

If you are on the lookout for looking for places where you can fish without a fishing license, you must do your research well.

For starters, make sure to check the official website of the fish and wildlife agency of the state in which you reside. On these websites, you can often also get information about the types of fishing licenses that are available, and the various exemptions and regulations you must take into account.

While some states don’t necessarily require a fishing license in their state parks, some do. It all depends on where you live, so do make sure to always review the laws and regulations of which ever state you live in.

In addition to free fishing in state parks, usually during National Fishing and Boating Week, all states offer free fishing days. In these days, anyone anywhere can fish without having to have a license. This applies to almost all bodies of water.

Because the dates for this week can vary from state to state always check the updated free fishing dates calendar.

How much is an average fishing license?

Fishing Licences Texas

As each state has a whole different range of rules and regulations when it comes to fishing, the price of the fishing license also tends to vary from state to state.

In Oklahoma, for example, the annual fishing license costs about $35 which is lower than in many other states. Similarly, in Texas, the fishing license is reasonably priced at between $35-40.

Florida and California are relatively expensive. In both these states, the average price of the fishing license is $47.

It is impossible to list down one particular cost of fishing license in all of the US. This is because the United States is huge, and each different state has a very different cost of a license.

Furthermore, the cost of a fishing license depends on a whole lot of other things. For starters, there are many different types of licenses you can choose from, even within one state.

Some of these options include annual fishing, annual fishing and hunting, senior citizen annual fishing, under 16 annual fishing, 2-year fishing, 5-year fishing, disabled veteran fishing, disability fishing, and even a lifetime fishing license.

Thus, the cost of the fishing license depends on the state you obtain it in, the type of license you decide to opt for, and your age.

Sometimes, the cost of the license permit also depends on whether your permit is specific to one type of fish or to one type of river body. It is for example possible to obtain a 5-year salmon fishing permit, or even a Lake Erie permit.

A whole lot of factors need to be taken into account when choosing which permit is right for you. If you are a frequent angler, however, it only makes sense for you to invest in a lifetime permit because this way, you won’t have to keep renewing it.

What about fishing competitions?

Competition Fishing

A fishing competition or tournament is a properly organized, competitive fishing event. Generally speaking, more than 10 individuals are allowed to fish during a particular time period.

A fishing tournament is in most cases sponsored by an organization and sometimes even by an individual.

People who participate or win in this tournament end up winning trophies, or other awards of recognition.

Fishing tournaments are usually held within a particular time period (usually about 72 hours). These events are always conducted over a specific body of water.

Fishing competitions almost always require special fishing licenses or permits depending on the nature of the competition.

You must check the website of the fishing and boat authority in your state to find out what sort of a license or permit you will require for a certain fishing competition.

You have to be careful to apply for the license or permit a number of days in advance of the tournament, depending on the kind of tournament it is.

Although obtaining the permit in itself isn’t going to be too problematic, it will be far easier for you to obtain a permit if your tournament does not involve harming or killing any fish. 

The license or permit will also make it unlawful for you to catch a particular species of fish during the closed season for that fish species.

The price you will be required to pay for that permit depends on the sort of competition it is and the specific types of fish you will be required to catch.

It also depends on where this competition or tournament is being conducted, and whether or not it is somehow causing harm to any fish species. Furthermore, you may receive a penalty for returning injured catch back into the waters.

A fishing permit is required by those organizing the fishing tournament. The purpose of the permit is making sure that the fish in any of the water bodies are not harmed in anyway.

The fishing and boating departments all states strive to protect the fish in each of the different water bodies. It is crucial to keep an eye on the fish populations in all of the water bodies to make sure that they remain healthy and are prevented from depletion.

The fishing and boating departments in all states also strive to provide all sorts of great fishing opportunities to people of all age groups and from everywhere.

Through the permit system, these departments are able to keep track of all the various fishing tournaments happening in all the different states so that they can maintain reports on the fishing populations in all water bodies.

It is pertinent to keep information on fish populations in order to make sure they remain healthy and vibrant.


If you are a frequent angler or if you are only recently starting fishing, this is everything you need to know about obtaining a fishing license in the US.

Obtaining a fishing license isn’t too complicated. All you have to do is visit the relevant boating and fishing website of your state, find out how to apply, pay the necessary license fees, and apply!

If you are only fishing for fun and think you can manage in the long term without a license, then go for it. You can take advantage of all the places and days where you can fish for free.

If however, fishing is a more serious endeavor for you and you want to be able to fish freely anytime and in whatever water body you please, then you must contact the relevant body, gather information, and obtain the license as soon as you possibly can.

So what are you waiting for? Get your license, grab your fishing equipment and head out to sea! Happy Fishing!

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Roy Ericson

Roy Ericson started fishing when he was just a boy, like many of us did. He spent far too much time on the piers not being able to catch anything, until his uncle brought him deep sea fishing, out to the lakes of Michigan, where he lived, and to the various ponds in neighboring states. He’s been all over, caught over 400 different species of fish, and doesn’t believe you should embellish your stories. He’s just here to teach you about his absolute favorite thing in the world: fishing.