Age Limits for Fishing Licenses in Texas?

Fishing is a popular pastime in Texas, with abundant lakes, rivers, and coastal areas offering anglers diverse fishing opportunities. However, most people need a fishing license to legally fish in public waters in Texas. This article provides a summary of key details on age limits, exceptions, and license renewal requirements.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Texas?

In Texas, anyone 17 years of age or older needs a fishing license to fish in public waters like lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and coastal areas. This includes both Texas residents and nonresidents.

Youth under 17 do not need a fishing license. Children 16 and younger can fish without a license as long as they fish under the supervision of a licensed adult angler.

Exemptions for Senior Anglers

There are some exemptions for senior residents:

  • Texas residents 65+ born before January 1, 1931 are license exempt. They can fish without a license.
  • Texas residents 65+ born after January 1, 1931 can purchase discounted senior licenses at a lower cost. Annual senior licenses range from $7-$12.

Military & Other Fishing License Exceptions

In addition to senior exemptions, other groups may fish without a license:

  • Active duty military personnel may be exempt with appropriate identification. Military members should check current exemptions.
  • Patients at VA hospitals, disabled individuals, and those fishing on private ponds may be exempt. Restrictions apply.
  • Free Fishing Days temporarily waive license requirements for all anglers. These promotional days occur twice per year.

Obtaining and Renewing a Texas Fishing License

Licenses can be purchased online, by phone, or in-person at many bait & tackle shops, sporting goods stores, marinas and other authorized vendors.

Most licenses need to be renewed annually before the August 31 expiration date. The cost for an annual resident fishing license ranges from $11-$47 depending on age.

Lifetime licenses are available for Texas residents and require a one-time purchase fee plus nominal annual renewal around $10-15. Lifetime license fees range from $300-$1,000 depending on age.

Key Dates

  • 2024 licenses purchased now are valid through August 31, 2024.
  • Texas Free Fishing Days in 2024: June 3 and September 2. Anyone can fish license-free statewide during these days.

In summary, while most anglers need licenses to fish legally in public waters, there are some exceptions based on age, military status or specific exemption days. Most licenses must be renewed annually.

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