2023 California Fishing License Prices: Detailed Guide and Tips

2023 California Fishing License Prices: Detailed Guide and Tips

Fishing in the golden state of California is a dream for many anglers. But before you can cast your line, you’ll need a fishing license. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the 2023 California fishing license prices. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Who Needs a California Fishing License?

If you’re 16 years or older and want to fish in California’s freshwater or saltwater bodies, you’ll need a fishing license. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as during free fishing days, but generally, a license is a must-have.

2023 California Fishing License Prices: Detailed Guide and Tips

Types of California Fishing Licenses

California offers a variety of fishing licenses to suit different needs:

  • Freshwater Fishing License: This license allows you to fish in freshwater bodies like lakes and rivers.
  • Saltwater Fishing License: With this license, you can fish in saltwater bodies like the Pacific Ocean.
  • Combination Hunting and Fishing License: This is a dual-purpose license for those who enjoy both hunting and fishing.

Each license type has its own set of rules and limitations, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your fishing plans.

How to Purchase a California Fishing License

Getting a California fishing license is a straightforward process. You can purchase one online from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website, or in person at sporting goods stores, convenience stores, and other authorized agents.

Who Is Eligible for Reduced-Fee Fishing Licenses?

California offers reduced-fee fishing licenses for certain groups of people, such as:

  • Low-income Californians who are receiving public assistance, such as Medi-Cal, CalFresh, or General Assistance.
  • Disabled veterans with a 50% or more service-connected disability.
  • Recovering service members who are participating in a recreational therapy program.

If you’re eligible for a reduced-fee fishing license, you can apply online or in person at a CDFW office. The cost of the reduced-fee fishing license is $7.56 for a resident license and $15.12 for a nonresident license. You’ll need to provide proof of eligibility, such as a current award letter or a letter from a qualifying organization.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

In addition to having a valid fishing license, there are other rules and regulations you need to follow when fishing in California. Here are some examples:

  • You need to know the fishing limits and restrictions for the bodies of water where you plan to fish. These limits vary depending on the species, size, and location.
  • You need to use appropriate fishing gear and techniques that are legal and safe for the fish and the environment.
  • You need to respect private property and obtain permission from the landowner before fishing on their land.
  • You need to follow the California Fish and Game Code and the California Code of Regulations.

For more information on fishing regulations, visit the CDFW website or pick up a copy of the California Freshwater and Saltwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet at a CDFW office or a licensed agent.

2023 California Fishing License Prices

The cost of a California fishing license varies depending on whether you’re a resident or non-resident, and the type of license you’re purchasing. Here’s a rough breakdown:

  • Resident Sport Fishing License: $51.02
  • Nonresident Sport Fishing License: $137.73
  • One-Day Sport Fishing License: $16.46
  • Two-Day Sport Fishing License: $25.10
  • Ten-Day Nonresident Sport Fishing License: $49.94

Remember, the fees listed do not include the agent fee, which is an additional charge.

Special Licenses and Discounts

California offers special licenses and discounts for certain groups, including veterans, disabled anglers, and low-income seniors. It’s worth checking out these options if you qualify.

Regulations and Requirements

When you’re fishing in California, you must always have your fishing license with you. You can display an electronic license or permit instead of a physical paper one. Fishing without a license can lead to penalties, so it’s best to stay on the right side of the law.


Getting a California fishing license is a simple process, but it’s important to understand the different types and what they allow you to do. With this guide, you’re now equipped with the knowledge you need to get out there and start fishing. Remember, always follow the guidelines and regulations when fishing in California. Happy fishing!


How much does a California fishing license cost for residents?
For the 2023 fishing season, a resident annual fishing license in California costs $52.66. However, there are also options for short-term licenses ranging from one day to ten days, with prices starting at $15.12.

What is the cost of a California fishing license for non-residents?
Non-resident anglers must pay more for a California fishing license. The 2021 cost for a non-resident annual fishing license is $142.05, with short-term licenses starting at $49.94 for one day.

Are there discounts available for senior citizens or disabled persons?
Yes, California offers reduced prices for senior citizens 65 years or older and disabled veterans. A resident annual fishing license for seniors and disabled persons costs $7.98 for the 2023 season. Short-term licenses for these groups are also available at reduced prices.

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