How To Get A Fishing License In Different States: Easy Read

by Julie | Last Updated:   October 8th, 2022
How To Get A Fishing License In Different States: Easy Read

If you’re ready to get out there and try fishing for the first time or are an avid angler, getting a fishing license is the first step in kicking off your season. Fishing licenses are an essential part of contributing to conservation efforts.

How to get a fishing license varies from state to state, but the general process and where to get them are the same. We are here to give you all the know-how you’ll need to get started on this new hobby or inform experienced anglers about getting licenses in different states.

Buy Licenses From A Retailer Near You

Fishing and hunting licenses are easily accessible and available to all those interested in these recreational activities. Most commonly, they are found in retail stores like Walmart, Bass Pro Shops, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

They will be located at counters in the sports or outdoor sections or close to the cashier registers. Just ask and they’ll point you in the right direction if you can’t find it.

You can also get fishing licenses at local bait shops in your town. They provide you with the ability to print them out for you too. Each state may have different age requirements and pricing, so always be sure to ask or look online at your state Department of Fish and Wildlife or Recreation site.

What Do Your Hunting & Fishing License Fees Fund?

Hunting and fishing licenses can be a little expensive, and many of you may wonder why you need to pay for them at all. The fact is that your license fees are actually used for the direct benefit of wildlife conservation, habitat protection, and habitat restoration.

Buying your licenses and permits helps to protect and conserve the habitats, deer, and fish that you love hunting and fishing. Your purchase ensures that you and the future generations will still have these hobbies that they can respect and enjoy.

If you want to know more and see the numbers and percentages that go into this funding when you buy your fishing license, then click here to see the US Fish & Wildlife Services website.

Are You Ready To Go Fishing? First, You Need A Fishing License!

How To Get A Fishing License

Getting a fishing permit is a simple process that doesn’t take more than a few minutes. You can obtain them at several different retail stores, local bait shops, or even online. Let’s start to go over some of the thoughts and questions you will likely have when getting your first fishing license.

At What Age Do You Need A Fishing License?

Most states in the US require you to have a fishing license by the age of 16. However, there are several that have different age requirements, which is why it is important to check. They can range anywhere from the age of 10 to 18, when you need your fishing license.

Do note that Arizona is the only state that requires you to get a fishing license starting at 10 years old. And Tennessee is the only state with a minimum age requirement of 13.

We will provide a list of the minimum age requirements for the different states below:

  • 16 years old: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Wisconsin
  • 15 years old: Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia
  • 14 years old: Idaho and Wyoming
  • 12 years old: Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah
  • 17 years old: Michigan and Texas
  • 18 years old: Alaska and Indiana

How Long Does a Fishing License Last?

Most fishing licenses last for just one year. You’ll have to buy a new one every year when the previous one expires. The prices can vary, with there being discounts for veterans and seniors. There is also a thing called a lifetime license, which will last you for your life since it’s a one-time purchase. However, lifetime licenses are very expensive, so it is not something for everyone.

A yearly license is usually the best course of action because they’re cheaper, and sometimes you don’t always get out fishing every year. So, it’s no big deal to let it expire.

Can You Buy a Fishing License Online?

Yes, most states will allow you to purchase a fishing license online. Remember, they are made to be accessible to everyone. If you would rather get your fishing permits online or just can’t make it to a store, then you should try searching your State’s Fish and Wildlife Department website. They will either provide links and instructions or have a page where you can get your license right on their site.

You would also follow these same steps to renew your fishing license for the season online. They don’t usually renew your old one as each license is actually different in color or design every year. You’ll essentially just be purchasing a new license.

Can You Buy A Fishing License For Someone Else?

Yes, but only in certain circumstances. You can buy fishing licenses for someone else only if they are your child or your spouse. Otherwise, you cannot purchase someone else’s license for them. This is due to the fact that your ID is needed to clarify who you are and ensure all the correct information is put into the system. This makes it easier in the future when you go to get your license.

Do You Have to Have Your Fishing License On You?

The simple answer? Yes. You should always keep your fishing license on you either in physical copy or even a picture on your phone can suffice. It is important to have proof that you are licensed to fish in case you are stopped by a Conservation Officer. If you do not have a license and are of the age where you need one, then you can receive a ticket and fine.

How Much Are Fishing License Fees?

How To Get A Fishing License

Now, this is where there could be a lot of differences. It depends on the state you’re getting it from and if you’re a resident of that state or not. Non-resident fishing licenses are often more expensive than those for residents. Lifetime licenses are also different and are often highly expensive.

Below, we will detail how much it will cost in several different states. Do note that all of the information listed can be found on their respective websites with the Fish and Wildlife Departments of their states. The links will be included in each section.

How Much is a Fishing License in California?

  • Residential sport fishing license: $54 for anyone 16 and older
  • Non-resident license: $145, so quite a bit more expensive when fishing outside of your home state.
  • Reduced fee sport fishing licenses
    • Disabled Veterans: ~$9
    • Recovering Service Member: ~$9
    • Low Income Senior: $8.24
  • Free fishing licenses
    • Low-Income Native Americans
    • Mobility Impaired, Blind, Developmentally Disabled

California also offers short-term licenses for one, two, and 10 days for non-residents. They vary in price from $17, $27, and $54. To find more license information for this state, click here to view their official website.

How Much is a Fishing License in Texas?

  • Resident freshwater license: $30 for 17 years and older
  • Senior freshwater resident: $12 for 65 years and older
  • Non-resident: $58
  • Saltwater resident: $35
  • Saltwater senior: $17
  • Saltwater non-resident: $63

Texas has them listed as different packages that you can get. They do have a special all-encompassing “All waters” package for certain people and groups that includes both fresh and saltwater together. To learn more about this, click here to view their site.

How Much is a Fishing License in Ohio?

  • Regular resident licenses
    • 1-year license: $25
    • 3-year: $72
    • 5-year: $120
    • 10-year: $240
    • Lifetime: $599
  • Senior Resident licenses
    • 1-year: $10
    • 3-year: $27
    • 5-year: $45
    • Lifetime: $84
  • Non-resident licenses
    • 1-day: $14
    • 3-days: $25
    • 1-year: $50

The state of Ohio has a slightly different way of going about licenses with the ability to upgrade from a one-day license to a one-year license for less than if you just got a regular one-year license. To see more of this all broken down, check out the official Ohio website here.

How Much is a Fishing License in Florida?

  • Resident Freshwater
    • Resident 1-year: $17
    • Resident 5-year: $79
  • Non-resident freshwater
    • 3-days: $17
    • 7-days: $30
    • 1-year: $47
  • Saltwater resident:
    • Resident 1-year: $17
    • Resident 5-year: $79
  • Non-resident saltwater
    • 3-days: $17
    • 7-days: $30
    • 1-year: $47

Click here to locate all the fishing license information you need for the state of Florida.

How Much is a Fishing License in Michigan?

  • Resident license: $26
  • Non-resident: $76
  • Seniors and legally blind residents: $11 for 65 years and older

Michigan also has some differences with youth licenses under 17 years old having a voluntary fee of $2. There is also spear fishing listed, which is free, though it may require a DNR sports card. To find out more about the regulations and fees of this state for fishing permits, click here.

How Much is a Fishing License in North Carolina?

  • State Inland fishing license
    • Resident: $25
    • Non-resident: $45
  • Coastal recreation fishing
    • Resident: $16
    • Non-resident: $32
  • Special device inland fishing
    • Resident: $80
    • Non-resident: $530

There are a lot of different licenses and specifications for each one in North Carolina. We listed the basics above. However, please view their official website to learn more here.

How Much is a Fishing License in Oregon?

  • Resident angling license: $44
  • Non-resident: $110

These fees are the basic package for fishing in Oregon. There are other licenses available for more specific areas and people, which can be viewed here on their website.

Key Insights & Takeaways

Fishing is a hobby that anyone and everyone can get into at any point or time in their lives. It is easy to obtain the proper permits and licenses, whether at a retailer, local bait shop, or online. All the information you need can be found on your home state’s Fish and Wildlife Department website. Try it out for a year to see if you enjoy the hobby. If you don’t go out much, then don’t worry about it expiring. You can get a new one later on if you decide to go out more.

– Happy Fishing –

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I was fishing before I could walk and it's been a family tradition for centuries. Fishing is my life, or at least as long as I can remember. In the Lake Champlain International Fathers Day Fishing Derby, not only have I won first place twice but also third place! Also, in addition to majoring in Wilderness Recreation Leadership, I also happen to be a licensed camping, hiking, and hunting guide for NY.