Discover if Florida freshwater bank fishing needs a license

Fishing is a beloved pastime in the Sunshine State, with its abundance of freshwater lakes, rivers, and canals teeming with diverse fish species. However, before you cast your line from the shoreline, it’s crucial to understand Florida’s fishing license requirements to ensure you’re complying with the law and contributing to conservation efforts. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the nuances of freshwater fishing licenses in Florida, covering exemptions, costs, and the importance of supporting the state’s natural resources.


In general, both Florida residents and non-residents aged 16 and above need a valid freshwater fishing license to fish from shore (bank fishing) or a boat in freshwater bodies like lakes, rivers, and canals. However, there are several exemptions to this requirement based on age, residency status, fishing method, and location.

Exemptions for Florida Residents

Florida residents may be exempt from needing a freshwater fishing license in the following scenarios:

  • Children under 16 years old
  • Seniors aged 65 and older with proof of age and residency, such as a Florida driver’s license or ID card
  • Fishing from a licensed pier or dock
  • Fishing on your own property (homestead) or that of your spouse or child
  • Using a cane pole or line without a reel, fishing for non-commercial purposes in your county of residence
  • Certified as totally and permanently disabled with proof
  • Member of the U.S. Armed Forces on leave for 30 days or less with orders
  • Accepted for developmental disability services by the state agency

It’s important to note that even if you’re exempt from needing a license, you must still carry proof of age, residency, and applicable exemptions while fishing.

Exemptions for Non-Residents

Non-residents may be exempt from needing a freshwater fishing license in the following cases:

  • Children under 16 years old
  • Fishing with a valid Georgia license in the St. Mary’s River or Lake Seminole

Other Exemptions

Regardless of residency status, you may be exempt from needing a freshwater fishing license in the following situations:

  • Fishing in a private pond of 20 acres or less entirely within the owner’s property
  • Fishing in a private pond over 20 acres if the owner has a pond license ($3/acre)
  • Fishing on designated license-free freshwater days (first weekend of April and second weekend of June)
  • Possessing a valid Florida commercial freshwater fishing license

Purchasing a License

If you don’t fall under any of the exemptions, you’ll need to purchase a freshwater fishing license. Florida residents can choose between an annual ($17) or 5-year ($79) freshwater fishing license. Non-residents have the option of a 3-day ($17), 7-day ($30), or annual ($47) non-resident freshwater license.

Licenses can be purchased online at, by phone at 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA (347-4356), at tax collectors’ offices, or from licensed vendors with a small processing fee. It’s important to note that all license sales contribute to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s efforts to conserve and manage the state’s natural resources.

Key Reminders

While navigating the various exemptions and requirements, keep these key points in mind:

  • Always have proof of age, residency, and applicable exemptions while fishing.
  • Separate licenses are required for saltwater fishing from shore or a vessel.
  • Purchasing a license contributes to conservation efforts even if you’re exempt.
  • Consult the FWC website or local authorities for the latest regulations, as they may change over time.

By understanding and adhering to Florida’s freshwater fishing license requirements, anglers can enjoy the state’s abundant fishing opportunities while playing a vital role in preserving these natural resources for future generations.

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