Buying a fishing license in the US is straightforward and simple. It will depend on what state you are in, but nowadays most licenses can be purchased over the phone, online, or in fishing retail shops.
Every US state has its own regulations and offers daily, short-term, annual, or lifetime fishing licenses. Click on your state below to find out where to buy a fishing license, types of fishing licenses available, age requirements, fishing regulations, and fishing license online options.
Interactive State Map
Why do you need a fishing license?
Contrary to most people’s beliefs, the money you pay for your fishing license doesn’t just end up in the government’s bank. Instead, 100% of the licensing fees go directly towards the conservation and restoration of the nation’s lakes, ponds, rivers, and other fish habitats.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service also raises money via their Sport Fish Restoration Program that raises and distributes millions of dollars to various state wildlife restoration projects.
So, when you come to purchase your online fishing license, don’t just think that the money is paid purely for access to fishing regions, instead, think about how you are saving, protecting, and rebuilding these habitats so we can all enjoy commercial and recreational fishing long into the future!
Resident vs Non-Resident Licenses
The rules and prices for state residents vs non-state residents differ slightly when it comes to fishing licenses.
Firstly, depending on the state, sometimes the minimum age required to purchase a fishing license is lower for non-residents.
Secondly, non-resident fishing licenses tend to be more expensive. Some fisheries/states may also place limitations on where, how, and how many fish you can catch depending on your residency status.
You can usually find out more about the state-to-state rules for non-residents on the fishing license website (use map above).
Can I Use My State’s Fishing License In Another State?
Unfortunately not. Your fishing license only allows you to fish within the state boundaries of where it was bought.
If you want to fish in another state, you will have to purchase a non-resident fishing license to fish there. E.g. if you wanted to fish in Texas on a holiday for a week, you will need to purchase a non-resident fishing license for up to a week.
What Age Do You Need a Fishing License?
The age you need to be for a fishing license varies state-to-state. Check the list below for the minimum age needed to purchase a fishing license.