What Age Do You Need a Fishing License? [All In One Place]

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License

As you probably know, every angler must have a fishing license which is valid at the time of fishing. Of course, some exceptions exist, and they vary from state to state.

Among special categories of licenses you can find those for seniors and youth. So, for what age do you need a fishing license?

Depending on a state, seniors and young anglers may be exempted from having a license or they can get it at a discounted price. This age limit is most often 60 to 70 years of age for seniors, and 10 to 18 years of age for youth.


 

Make sure that you check local rules and regulations, as well as these age limits, if you are going to fish in another state. Getting a discount based on age is frequently reserved for residents only.

And of course, even if you are just supervising a child that does not need a license, you still need to have one because you are participating in the fishing process.

All of this may be confusing for new anglers, so here I will tell you more about license requirements based on the anglers’ age.


 

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Why Do You Need a Fishing License?

Fishing licenses are necessary for several reasons, and the most important one is conservation. It may seem confusing, but buying a license actualy has a vital part in keeping fish population healthy.

Fees earned from selling them are used for various ecological projects and reaserch. Those are conducted to determine water quality, number of fish species and their populations, and everything else that may have an influence on healthy fish population.


 

Based on that, authorities will declare closed season, limit a number of hooks any angler can use, state which baits are allowed, and much more.

When thinking about why do you need fishing license remember that money is used for infrastructural projects like docks and boat ramps. Sometimes, part of these fees goes towards education of young anglers.

And lastly, there is stocking of fish. As you probably know, many of the waters are frequently stocked with fish from hatcheries to increase their numbers within a particular area.



What Are the Different Types of Fishing Licenses?

I already mentioned categories like youth and seniors, but what are the different types of fishing licenses in addition to those?

First of all, we have permits for adult anglers, which are the most expensive ones. However, in many states, there can be a difference between residents and non-residents. Residents may have a discount and pay less than tourists within the same age group.

Besides this, there are other special categories, and those are disabled, military, veteran, child, and similar.



But, these are only the categories based on the anglers age and other factors.

There are other categories of licenses too, and those are annual or shorter period licenses, like a day or three-day licenses. These numbers of day depend on the state.

Of course, there is a difference between freshwater and saltwater / ocean. In many states you can buy combo license which covers both inland waters and the sea.

Unfortunately, there is no license that covers all 50 states, and you will have to buy one for every state you fish in.



What Age Do You Need a Fishing License?

Unfortunately, rules about what age do you need a fishing license are different in many states, and you will always have to check up to date info for a specific state you are visiting.

If you are lucky, you may fall into a category of anglers who do not need a fishing license or can get a free fishing license, based on their age.

Here are a few examples so that you know what to expect and how much these rules can vary.

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License - Kids and Parents

- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Florida?

Florida is one of the most popular fishing spots in the USA, especially for travellers. Anyone who is younger than 16 doesnt need a license. When it comes to seniors, those older than 65 are exempted, but only of they are local residents. Otherwise they need one.

- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in California?

In California, situation is similar to Florida when it comes to age limit for young anglers. Anglers younger than 16 do not need a license. Older than 65 need a license, but they can get it at a discount. There are also special rates that apply for low income senior citizens.



- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Texas?

Anyone younger than 17 doenst need a license in Texas. When it comes to seniors, they also need to buy one, even if they are older than 65. However, there is one exemption, and those are anglers who are born before January 1st, 1931. They do not have to buy a license.

- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Illinois?

Anglers younger than 16 do not need a license. Licenses for seniors are required, but based on their age, different fees apply. Those older than 65 can buy it at a discount. All seniors older than 75 will get even bigger discount, and they will get a license almost free of charge. They have to pay jut one dollar, plus 50 cents of issuing fees. This special category is called Super Senior license.



- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in New York?

Before you turn 16, you do not need a license in NY. After that, you need it untill you turn 70. Anglers older than 70 years can get it at a discount. Like in most states, lower age limit is appled to both residents and non-residents, while upper (senior) age limit is valid only for residents.

- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Washington?

In Washington, situation is a bit different than in previously mentioned states. Anglers younger than 15 do not need a license, and those who are 15 or older need one, but only if fishing for certain fish species. For example, commn carp and crawfish do not require a license. Also, senior residents, older than 70 years, can get a discount. Discounts can also be applied if you are a veteran who is older than 65 and have a disability from the service.



- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Michigan?

Those who are 17 or older need a fishing license in Michigan. When it comes to seniors, everyone older than 65 needs a license, but can get it at a lower price. Keep in mind taht even if you are younger and do not need a license, you still have to obey rules and regulations stated by the authorities.

- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Missouri?

Both residents and non residents who are younger than 16 years do not need a fishing license. Anglers who are older than 65 years do not need a license but only if they are local residents. Those who are tourists will need one regardless of their senior years.



- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Wisconsin?

Similar to many destinations mentioned above, those who are younger than 16 years do not need a license for fishing in Wisconsin. But, if you are 16 or 17 years old, you can get a license at a discount for youth. Senior citizens will need one, but can get it at a discount.

- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Indiana?

In Indiana, those who are 17 years old or younger do not need a license. Those who are older than 64, and are born after March 31st, 1943, may get it at a discount. There are “for life” options too, and those licenses are valid until the rest of your life.



- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Alabama?

Those who are 16 or older need a license to fish in Alabama. Those who are 65 and older are exepmpted from having a license, but only if they are local residents and have an ID to prove it. But, there are some cases in which you will need one regardles of your senior age. One of the examples is saltwater reef fishing.

- What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Ohio?

And lastly, we have Ohio. Here you do not need a fishing license if you are younger than 16. Seniros can buy different licences, like a 3 year or 5 year license. There is even a lifetime option. Of course, those are all for residents who are older than 65.

Keep in mind that this is a guidance only, and it is your responsibility to check up to date info on official websites. All of these rules can be changed ant any time.

Also, you will have to provide a valid ID that can confirm your age. Info stated when buying a license must be the same as the one shown on your ID.

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What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Other States?

At what age do you need a fishing license in other states is a complex question, and therefore I decided to include this table with age limits for kids and seniors citizens for various states.

STATE YOUNG ANGLERS SENIOR ANGLERS LINK
Alaska 18 or older residents and 16 or older non-residents 60 or older residents More info
Arizona 10 or older residents and non residents 70 or older resident (25 years of residency) More info
Arkansas 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older residents More info
Colorado 16 or older resident and non residents 64 or older residents More info
Delaware 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older residents More info
Georgia 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older residents More info
Hawaii All minors regardless of age Senior licenses available but with no defined age More info
Idaho 14 or older residents and non residents 65 or older residents More info
Iowa 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older residents More info
Kansas 16 or older resident and non residents 65 and older residents, 75 or older residents (lifetime permit) More info
Kentucky 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older residents More info
Louisiana 16 or older resident and non residents Born before June 1st 1940 - no license required, 60 or older - discount More info
Maine 16 or older resident and non residents 70 and older residents More info
Maryland 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older residents More info
Massachussets 15 or older resident and non resident 70 and older residents - license is free More info
Minnesota 16 or older resident and non residents 90 or older residents More info
Mississippi 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older residents - lifetime license More info
Montana 12 or older residents and non residents 62 or older residents More info
Nebraska 16 or older resident and non residents 69 or older residents More info
Nevada 18 or older residents and non residents 65 or older residents More info
New Hampshire 16 or older resident and non residents 68 or older residents More info
New Jersey 16 or older resident and non residents 70 or older residents More info
New Mexico 12 or older residents and non residents 65 or older - discound, 70 or older - free More info
North Carolina 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older residents More info
North Dakota 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older resident More info
Oklahoma 16 or older resident, 14 or older non resident 65 or older resident - lifetime license More info
Oregon 12 or older residents and non residents 70 or older resident (5 years of residency) More info
Pennsylvania 16 or older resident and non residents 65 or older resident More info
South Carolina 16 or older resident and non residents 64 or older residents More info
South Dakota 18 or older resident and non resident 65 or older resident More info
Tennessee 13 or older resident and non resident 65 or older resident More info
Utah 12 or older residents and non residents 65 or older resident More info
Vermont 15 or older resident and non resident 66 or older resident More info
Virginia 16 or older resident and non resident 65 or older resident More info
West Virginia 15 or older resident and non resident 65 or older resident - lifetime license More info
Wyoming 14 or older residents and non residents 70 year or older (50 years residency) More info

What Happens If You Get Caught Without A Fishing License?

Fishing without a license is both irresponsible and illegal. Responsible anglers know that local rules and regulations have to be followed.

But, it can happen even to the best ones that you forgot to renew it, or you forgot to buy one. So, what to expect if you get caught?

There is a chance that you will get a fine for fishing without a license. This fine depends on a state and the fact is it your first time getting caught or not. Prices can be from $50 to $500. And of course, your catch will be confiscated.



In some special circumstances, if you caught some species that include penalties, these fines can cost you thousands of dollars.

Those who are repetitive offenders may even end up in court and get some jail time.

If you have ever been wondering do you need fishing license and what will happen if you don’t have it, now you know the answer.

You can buy fishing license online and it is an easy process. Prices are also quite affordable, and I would advise to all of you to always have a valid license with you.

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License - Fine

Other Things to Keep in Mind With Fishing License Age Requirements

There are a few things to consider when buying a fishing license with any kind of age discount. First of all, in most states, only the lower limit applies to both residents and non-residents, while the upper limit applies to residents only. So, if you are a tourists, you need to buy a fully priced license. Having the wrong one is the same as not having it at all.

Secondly, to buy any fishing license at a discount, you must be able to present a valid ID or any kind of official indentification document that can prove your age/residency. You must also have an ID to show if you are a senior that is exempted from having a license.



Also, even if kids are exempted form having a license, you, as a parent or an adult who is supervising and helping your kids, must have a valid license. In some states that may not be necessary if you are observing only, but i would advise you get one anyway. It is hard to prove that you are not baiting hooks and casting.

In some states, senior citizens can get a license for free, and there are no fees. That is not the same as not being required to have it. If the license is free, you must get it, and be able to show it to the authorities.

Even if you do not need a license (like somewhere 14 year old kids), you must still obey all rules and regulations that are valid for s state/waters you are fishing in.

Conclusion

Knowing at what age do you need a fishing license can be confusing because these rules are different in every state. It is your responsibility to inform yourself about all license requirements for a state you are planning to visit for fishing purposes.

Any instructions you may need are available at the official websites, and those are the best to get up to date information. These websites can also be used to purchase or renew your existing license.

So, before you head out, make sure that you have a valid one and to obey all the rules and regulations that apply to a specific location!

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