How Old Do You Have To Be To Have A Fishing License?

There’s no denying that fishing offers people a host of psychological and health benefits. If you don’t know, one of the advantages is that it helps to relieve stress. Furthermore, fishing also helps to strengthen bonds between family and friends.

To cast a line, you need to purchase a fishing license if you’re 16 years old and above in the US. However, you need to understand that this isn’t general for all states. For instance, in Arizona, you have to be ten years and above to get a license. In Kentucky, Montana, and a few places, the minimum age is 12 years.

In case you’re overweight, going out fishing can keep you active and healthier. That said, if you’re interested in fishing, be it for recreation or commercial purposes, one thing is sure, and that is – you need to purchase a fishing license and pay some taxes.

Payments from fishing licenses assist governments in funding many wildlife and conservation programs in the United States. They also help to support wildlife and fisheries management. But here’s a burning question, how old do you have to be able to purchase a fishing license?

The age limit for getting a fishing license in the US varies a lot from state to state. In this article, we’ll be exploring everything that you need to know about how to get a fishing license in your location. That said, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

What Age Do You Need A Fishing License In The US?

what age do you need a fishing license in the us

A US fishing license, or fishing permit, is a regulation that helps control fishing. Before attempting to catch fish, and other aquatic and semi-aquatic creatures, such as crustaceans, invertebrates, and amphibians in ocean waters, you’ll need to purchase a fishing license. However, it’s worth noting that a sport fishing permit isn’t for everybody. That brings us to the question; what age do people need a fishing license in the US?

The age factor for purchasing a fishing permit varies from state to state in the US, depending on a few factors, including where you reside and where you’ll be fishing.

In most states in the US, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Colorado, Florida, and many more, you’ll need to be 16 years and above to purchase a fishing permit. With that, it means anybody below sixteen years is exempted from getting a license.

The age limit for receiving a fishing license in some other states is slightly below or above 16 years. For instance, in Alaska, you’ll have to be 18 years and above to purchase a fishing permit. If you’re in Arizona and Utah, the minimum age requirement is ten years.

For people in Wyoming and Idaho, the minimum age you need to get a fishing license is fourteen years. With that, it means if you’re under the age of 14, you’re free from obtaining the permit.

In West Virginia, Washington, Vermont, or Massachusetts, the minimum requirement for obtaining fishing permits is 15 years.

If you’re in Kentucky and Montana, you’ll have to be 12 years and above to be able to buy a license to start fishing. With that, it means residents and non-residents under the age of 12 cannot apply for the permit.

Do Senior Citizens Need A Fishing Permit?

Depending on different states, senior citizens need a fishing permit before casting their line to catch fish and other aquatic & semi-aquatic creatures. However, most states offer discounted fishing permit fees for their senior citizens. 

According to the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, about twenty-seven states offer discounted fishing license fees for senior citizens.

States that offer free licenses 

As a senior citizen, if you reside in Alabama, you won’t be required to purchase a license. With that, it means you can fish freely without having to worry about any permit. However, if you’re willing to support Alabama’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries programs, you can always make a one-time voluntary payment.

In Florida, if you’re a senior citizen, all you need to be able to fish is a Florida Driver’s License. However, if you don’t have that, you can always present an ID card to prove residency and age. With that, it means you’re free to cast a line without having to worry about fishing permits.

If you’re 60 years and above and reside in Alaska, you don’t need a fishing license to cast a line in the state. All that you need is to apply for a permanent identification card to be eligible to fish freely. However, you’ll need to meet Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game requirements.

In Connecticut, senior citizens need a license for fishing, but it’s free of charge. Furthermore, senior citizens (age 65 and above) in Georgia don’t need to buy a fishing permit. Instead, all they need to do is to obtain a Lifetime Sportsman’s hunting and fishing license for free. Interestingly, the fishing permit isn’t renewable but valid for your lifetime.

According to Mississippi’s state government, senior citizens (residents with age of 65 and above) are free from purchasing a freshwater fishing license. With that, it means they can cast their line inland to catch fish without a permit. However, senior citizens in the state are expected to get a lifetime saltwater fishing license before fishing South of Highway 90.

The Ohio government provides its senior citizens with a free fishing license. However, to be eligible for the offer, you have to be born before December 31, 1937.

How To Get A Fishing License

How To Get A Fishing License

Every state in the US has different platforms they use to sell their fishing license. Irrespective of who you are, be it resident or non-resident, you can always purchase a fishing license online. However, while doing that, ensure you only buy from government websites, as they are the only platforms authorized to sell state licenses online.

Apart from online platforms, you can always purchase a fishing license in person in some physical stores, especially those that carry fishing supplies. These stores are certified by the government to sell fishing permits. Furthermore, you can also get a fishing license from any reliable sporting goods store near you.

One of the most reliable stores in the US to purchase a fishing permit is Walmart. You can always buy a license in every Walmart in your state. The stores always have hunting and fishing departments, which handle everything regarding permits.

Can You Buy A Lifetime Fishing License?

Senior citizens are entitled to obtain a free lifetime fishing license in a few states in the US. In case you don’t know, having a Lifetime Fishing License means you’ll get a sport fishing license annually for the rest of your life.

But here’s a question, is it possible to buy a lifetime fishing license? The answer to the question is yes; you can always purchase a lifetime fishing license in your state.

There are lots of benefits attached to buying a lifetime fishing license. For instance, in West Virginia, a resident lifetime hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses cost $805. The cost for a standard combination license as of 2020 is $35. No doubt, the price for a lifetime license is much compared to buying it annually. However, the fact remains that this option is better in the long run.

That said, here’s a quick question; how do you buy a lifetime fishing license? 

Well, you need to understand that it’s pretty easy to get a lifetime hunting and fishing license in your state. If you’re in West Virginia, all you need to do is visit the state’s website. Of course, this will require you to sign in using your DNR ID.

If you reside in Florida, you can always purchase a lifetime fishing license from the state government’s website. Interestingly, there are two different categories of lifetime licenses; for kids below 13 and youths of 13 years and above.

For children under 13 years of age, you can check here for information on how to go about the process. Some of the documents that you’ll need for the procedure include a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate, Social Security Card, and a copy of your Florida driver’s license as the kid’s parent.

How Much Does A Fishing License Cost?

The prices of fishing licenses vary from state to state. However, on average, a fishing permit costs about $25 for state residents and around $65 for non-residents. 

To be precise, here’s the information regarding some US states and their fishing license costs.

In Alabama, an annual resident fishing license costs $14.05 for freshwater and $24.75 for saltwater. However, this is slightly different for non-residents. If you’re not a state resident, you’ll be required to pay $54.20 for fishing in freshwater and $53.10 for saltwater.

In Georgia, an annual resident fishing license costs $15, while non-residents can buy the permit for $50.

For Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan, you can check below for their fishing license prices for residents and none residents.

  • Hawaii – $5.00 (residents) and $25.00 (non-residents)
  • Idaho – $30.50 (residents) and $98.25 (non-residents)
  • Illinois – $15.00 (residents) and $31.50 (non-residents)
  • Indiana – $17.00 (residents) and $35.00 (non-residents)
  • Iowa – $22.00 (residents) and $48.00 (non-residents)
  • Kansas – $27.50(residents) and $52.50 (non-residents)
  • Kentucky – $23.00 (residents) and $55.00 (non-residents)
  • Michigan – $26.00 (residents) and $76.00 (non-residents)