Fishing is a popular recreational activity in the United States, with over 49 million Americans participating each year according to a 2021 survey by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. However, in order to legally fish in public waters, anglers are required by law to have a valid fishing license. Fortunately, major outdoor retailers like Bass Pro Shops make it convenient to obtain state fishing licenses in-store.
Overview of State Fishing License Requirements
Recreational fishing regulations can vary significantly across different states. While some states like Texas offer year-long licenses, others like Florida require new annual licenses. Most states exempt young children and certain individuals like disabled veterans from needing licenses. Nonetheless, penalties for fishing without a license can be severe, involving fines up to $500 in states like New York.
To avoid legal issues, it is critical that anglers familiarize themselves with the licensing requirements for the state they plan to fish in. Below is a brief overview of key regulations in four major states:
- Annual resident license: $17
- Non-resident license: $47
- Free for those under 16 or over 65
- Year-long all-water license: $47
- Free for those under 17
- Annual resident license: $49.94
- Non-resident license: $134.74
- Free for those under 16
- Annual resident license: $25
- Non-resident license: $50
- Free for those over 70
See the state fishing license overview from the American Sportfishing Association for more details on other states.
Why Choose Bass Pro Shops for Fishing Licenses
With over 120 retail locations across the country, Bass Pro Shops is conveniently located for many anglers. They offer both resident and non-resident state fishing licenses on-site, often at the customer service desk or a dedicated license counter.
There are several key reasons why purchasing your license from Bass Pro can be beneficial:
One-Stop Shopping for All Fishing Needs
Rather than making multiple stops, you can get your license together with any required gear, bait, and accessories in a single trip to Bass Pro Shops. Take advantage of their huge selection tackle, rods, reels, lures, and more.
Expert Guidance From Avid Anglers
The sales associates at Bass Pro Shops often have years of fishing experience themselves. They can provide recommendations on the type of license needed based on where you plan to fish and your residency status.
Support Local Conservation Efforts
The revenue from fishing license sales goes towards local conservation projects aimed at sustaining healthy fisheries. As an avid supporter of conservation, Bass Pro Shops enables anglers to contribute through license purchases.
Convenient Multi-State Licenses
For those fishing in multiple states on a road trip, Bass Pro Shops can provide all the required non-resident state licenses in one purchase. This avoids the hassle of having to visit different retailers across state lines.
Purchasing Fishing Licenses at Bass Pro Shops
When buying your fishing license at Bass Pro Shops, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Bass Pro Shops accepts all major credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and Bass Pro Shops reward cards for license purchases. Cash payments may also be accepted.
Proof of Residency
If purchasing a resident license, you will need to provide valid ID proving official residency in that state, such as a driver’s license or state ID card.
Some state licenses may require additional documents for certain anglers, like proof of age, disability status, or military service. Check your state’s exact requirements beforehand.
In some states, Bass Pro Shops may allow using a smartphone to display a digital fishing license after purchase rather than issuing a paper copy. However, always verify the legality of digital licenses in your destination state before relying solely on them.
Carefully check the license duration when purchasing. Some licenses provide year-long coverage while others may only be valid for a few days. Planning repeat fishing trips may call for longer-term licenses.
Out-of-State Fishing Licenses
For anglers traveling to other states, non-resident fishing licenses can also be obtained from Bass Pro Shops. As one TripAdvisor reviewer shared of their Dania Beach, FL location:
“We purchased an out of state fishing license. They sell all kinds of frozen bait – we bought squid for $5 a box/lb. Large nice store.”
However, be aware that out-of-state licenses generally have a higher fee than resident licenses. They may also have special regulations like restricted fishing locations or harvest limits.
Consult the destination state’s official wildlife agency website for complete non-resident license details. For convenience, Bass Pro Shops can then provide the necessary non-resident documents at time of travel.
Key Takeaways on Purchasing Fishing Licenses
As an authorized license provider for multiple states, Bass Pro Shops eliminates the hassle out of securing a legal fishing license. With convenient retail locations across America featuring expert guidance and huge gear selection, they have cemented themselves as a go-to fishing license outlet.
To recap the key benefits:
- Over 120 retail locations across the U.S.
- Resident and non-resident state fishing licenses
- Expert staff guidance on regulations
- Support conservation efforts
- One-stop shop for gear and licenses
This 2024 fishing season, save yourself wasted trips and headaches by buying your state-approved fishing license at America’s favorite outdoor store, Bass Pro Shops. Just don’t forget to grab the bait and a stylish shirt for good measure!