How to Get a Fishing License?

Fishing license

A fishing license is one thing you might not think about packing in your tackle box, but if you want to be a responsible angler, it should be. To protect our waterways and their inhabitants, fishing is a regulated activity, and it’s your job to get a license if necessary.

How do you get a fishing license?

Acquiring a fishing license is as easy as heading to the website of your state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Service. Most states allow you to purchase them online, otherwise over the phone or at a dedicated retail establishment.

Learning how to get a fishing license is an easy part, and it only takes a few minutes to do. If you want to do your part in conservation efforts and ensure everyone fishes responsibly, it’s the smartest thing you can do.

Why Do You Need a Fishing Licence?

all year fishing licence

A fishing license is a requirement in most states of the US, and it’s a way to earn money for conservation efforts as well as keep a handle on how many fish are caught. By regulating the waterways, the Fish and Wildlife Service is able to protect the fish and ensure everyone follows the rules.

Anyone over the age of 16 who plans on fishing on public land and in either a freshwater or saltwater space in the United States will need a license. These licenses vary by state and can be given to permanent residents or visitors, with different options like public lake fishing, senior citizens, and wildlife heritage licenses.

Even if you plan on using the catch-and-release method, you’ll still need a license in most states. The fees charged for these licenses are there to take care of the surrounding land and water, so regardless of what you do with the fish, you’re still responsible for contributing to environmental upkeep.

Can You Get a Fishing Licence Online?

The easiest way to get acquire a fishing license is online, and every state offers this service to residents. Check out the website of the state’s Fishing and Wildlife Service to see what’s required for your local area.

Purchasing a license online takes only minutes and it can be activated immediately. You can apply for and obtain a license 24 hours a day and seven days a week, so even if you wanted to partake in a spot of fishing in the middle of the night but didn’t have one, it’s an easy fix.

Freshwater vs Saltwater Regulations

separate license for freshwater and saltwater

When applying for a fishing license, you’ll also need to consider where you’ll be doing the angling. Most states require a separate license for freshwater and saltwater fishing, as each is managed separately, so if you’re someone who likes to mix things up, you have to be prepared. Other states will combine all types of fishing into one to make it easier to manage.

However, once you have a saltwater license, it doesn’t mean you’re able to fish in freshwater locations, and the same goes the other way. You may need to apply for the initial license and then add a saltwater permit on top of it, but the process differs depending on the state you’re in.

Some states also have additional requirements for trout fishing and other water species like crustaceans, which require another type of license. Therefore, the onus is on the angler to know what’s required in their state and make sure they’re up to date with it.

Costs and Renewals

The cost of a fishing license varies from state to state, whether it’s for freshwater or saltwater fishing, and if you’re a resident or visiting from another state, and they made need to be renewed if they’re time-sensitive.

For example, a recreational resident license for freshwater fishing costs $14.05 in Alabama, but $30.40 for a non-resident to have one for just a week.

A fishing license is incredibly affordable considering everything it does, and the fees made from these permits contribute to more than $700 million across the country for Fishing and Wildlife Services. This money is then put back into the fish habitats, including conservation and restoration, so it all goes to a worthy cause and ensures that fish are well-stocked in the future.

Fishing Under the Law

fish size regulations

There are millions of dollars raised each year for conservation efforts as a result of fishing licenses being sold and it ensures that people follow the rules and fish responsibly.

With some detailed information about how easy these permits are to get, there’s no excuse not to get yourself covered, and it’s a must-have for any angler.

A fishing license is a must-have in most states and regardless of the waters you like to fish in, it’s your responsibility to get one and get yourself covered. To find out more about these licenses and what they mean for your future angling expeditions, read a few of our FAQs.

Do You Need a Fishing License on Private Property?

fishing on private property

If you own the property and body of water that you’re fishing from, there’s technically no need for a license. However, if you’re staying on private property, you’ll need to ask the guests what’s required and be prepared to show a fishing license if they request it.

Is a Fishing License Valid in All States?

The state departments are in charge of issuing licenses for fishing, and you’ll require a license for each state you plan on angling in. Some states share bodies of water though, and you may be able to use the license for both, including Maryland and Virginia.


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