Comprehensive Guide to Trout Fishing in Arkansas

Arkansas Fishing License Age Limit: What You Need to Know

Fishing in the Natural State is a beloved pastime for residents and visitors alike, with its abundant waterways teeming with a variety of fish species. However, before you can cast your line, it’s crucial to understand the fishing license requirements in Arkansas. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about age limits, license types, exemptions, and regulations to ensure a hassle-free and legal fishing experience.

I. License Requirements Based on Age and Residency

1. Residents

In Arkansas, residents aged 16 and older are required to possess a Resident Fisheries Conservation License to fish with sport fishing tackle. This annual license costs $10.50 and can be purchased online, at Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) offices, nature centers, or authorized retailers.

For senior anglers, Arkansas offers two convenient options:

  • 65-Plus Lifetime Fishing License ($10.50): This one-time purchase grants residents aged 65 and above lifetime fishing privileges in the state.
  • 65-Plus Lifetime Combination License ($35.50): In addition to fishing, this license covers hunting and other outdoor activities, providing a comprehensive solution for active seniors.

Residents under 16 years old are exempt from needing a fishing license, allowing them to enjoy the state’s waters without any additional fees.

2. Non-Residents

Non-residents aged 16 and older have two options for fishing in Arkansas:

  • Non-Resident Annual Fishing License ($50): This license grants fishing privileges for the entire year.
  • Non-Resident Trip Fishing License: Available in two variants: a 3-day license ($25) or a 7-day license ($35).

Additionally, non-residents are required to purchase a trout permit ($20 annually) to retain trout or fish in designated trout waters.

II. Special Licenses and Permits

1. Trout Permit

Whether you’re a resident ($10 annually) or a non-resident ($20 annually), a trout permit is mandatory if you plan to retain trout or fish in Arkansas’ designated trout waters. This permit helps manage and conserve the state’s trout populations.

2. Disabled Licenses

Arkansas offers special licenses for disabled residents, including the Disabled Lifetime Fishing License and the Disabled Combination License, which cover both hunting and fishing privileges.

3. Commercial Fishing Permits

If you’re interested in commercial fishing, you’ll need to obtain a Commercial Fishing Permit and Sportfishing License (CFS). This license allows you to purchase tags for commercial tackle or operate commercial fishing gear. Additionally, helper permits are available, enabling assistants to operate a CFS holder’s tackle.

III. License Exemptions and Free Fishing Days

1. Free Fishing Weekend

Every year in June, Arkansas hosts a Free Fishing Weekend, during which anyone can fish in the state’s waters without a license or trout permit. This event is an excellent opportunity for newcomers to experience the joy of fishing or for seasoned anglers to introduce friends and family to the sport.

2. Private Property

While a fishing license is generally required, even when fishing on private property with the owner’s permission, Arkansas offers an exemption during the annual Free Fishing Weekend. However, outside of this event, a valid fishing license is mandatory, regardless of the water body’s ownership.

IV. Purchase Options and Regulations

1. Where to Buy

Fishing licenses can be conveniently purchased online through the AGFC website, at AGFC offices, nature centers, or authorized retailers across the state. Online purchases offer a hassle-free option, while in-person purchases allow for personal assistance and guidance.

2. Regulations

Anglers in Arkansas must adhere to specific regulations regarding species limits, size restrictions, seasons, and gear restrictions. These regulations are in place to sustain fish populations and promote conservation efforts. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the latest regulations, as they may change periodically.

3. Boating and Navigation Lights

If you plan to fish from a boat at night, be aware that navigation lights are required for safety and compliance with regulations. Failure to comply with boating regulations can result in fines or other penalties.

By understanding and following these guidelines, you can ensure a safe, legal, and enjoyable fishing experience in Arkansas. Remember, your contribution through the purchase of licenses and permits directly supports the conservation efforts of the AGFC, helping to preserve the state’s natural resources for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who qualifies as a resident of Arkansas?

A resident is any person who physically inhabits a bona fide residence within Arkansas for at least 60 days and declares citizenship in the state. Students enrolled in Arkansas schools, colleges, or universities, as well as active-duty military personnel stationed in the state, are also considered residents for fishing license purposes.

Q: What information is required when purchasing a license in Arkansas?

When purchasing a fishing license, you’ll need to provide your first and last name, address, date of birth, social security number, basic demographic information (gender, height, eye color, race), and optionally, your driver’s license number.

Q: What types of payments does the AGFC accept when purchasing a license?

The AGFC’s online license sales site accepts payments made online via Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

Q: Can I cancel an online license purchase?

A: Yes, you can cancel an online purchase up to the point where you click the “Complete Purchase” button.

Q: How can I replace a lost or damaged license?

A: Licenses can be reprinted at no cost. Visit licensing.agfc.com and select the “Reprint your License or Permit” option, or call 1-800-364-4263 during regular business hours (Monday–FFriday, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.).

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