Discover the Cost of a One Day Fishing License in the USA

Discover the Cost of a One Day Fishing License in the USA for 2024

The cost of a one-day fishing license in the United States varies by state but typically ranges from $5 to $20 for residents and $10 to $30 for non-residents in 2024.

For example, a one-day resident fishing license in New York costs $5, while non-residents pay $10 [Source:]. In California, both residents and non-residents can purchase a one-day license for $20.26 [Source:].

Most states offer short-term fishing licenses valid for 1-day, 3-days, 5-days or 7-days at varying costs. Check with your state’s wildlife agency website for current fees and regulations before purchasing, as prices and requirements can change annually.

Why You Need a Fishing License

Recreational fishing remains a beloved outdoor activity across the United States. To ensure sustainable management of fish populations, most states require anglers to purchase a fishing license before casting a line in public freshwater or saltwater areas. While a valid license allows you to legally fish and avoid potential fines, the fees generated also fund critical conservation efforts and educational programs that promote responsible angling practices.

License fees support initiatives like habitat restoration, fish stocking, pollution control, and research into improving fishery management. This helps maintain healthy ecosystems and fish populations for future generations. The fees also go towards teaching safety classes, ethical fishing methods, and instilling an appreciation for nature’s aquatic resources.

Who Needs a Fishing License?

The age requirements for needing a fishing license vary across states, but generally:

  • Kids under 16 can fish for free
  • Anglers 16 and older must purchase an annual or temporary license

There are also some exemptions that allow fishing without a license in certain situations, such as:

  • Free fishing days hosted by the state (typically a couple days per year)
  • Fishing on private ponds
  • Native Americans fishing on tribal lands
  • Disabled anglers who qualify for free licenses

Be sure to check your state’s specific rules, as the details on who needs a license and any exceptions can differ.

Where to Buy Fishing Licenses

Most states make it easy to purchase fishing licenses online through their wildlife agency’s website. You can also buy licenses from approved sporting goods retailers, bait and tackle shops, or certain large outdoor stores like Bass Pro Shops and Walmart.

Some allow phone orders as well. Fees may vary slightly depending on the purchase method.

Many states now offer affordable temporary licenses valid for 1-day, 3-days or 7-days for anglers just visiting or trying fishing for the first time. Annual licenses provide better value for frequent local anglers.

Resident vs Non-Resident Fees

As you’d expect, residents of each state pay lower fees for fishing licenses compared to non-resident costs. For example, here are the 2024 resident and non-resident fees for a one-day license in a few states:


  • Resident: $6.79
  • Non-Resident: $16.79


  • Resident: $11
  • Non-Resident: $16


  • Resident: $10
  • Non-Resident: $10

Some states like Michigan charge the same rate for residents and non-residents for short-term licenses. But annual licenses almost always have a higher non-resident fee.

Be sure to have proof of residency handy when purchasing, as requirements vary. Most accept a state-issued ID or driver’s license.

Free Fishing Days

As a way to promote the sport and allow unlicensed anglers to try fishing, most states designate a couple “Free Fishing Days” each year when anyone can fish without a license, regardless of age or residency status.

For example, New York State’s 2024 free fishing days are:

  • June 24-25
  • September 23
  • November 11 (Veterans Day)

Check with your state’s wildlife agency for their annual free fishing day calendar. These can be great opportunities to take a friend or family member fishing for the first time without worrying about licenses.

Wrap Up

From affordable temporary passes for visitors to annual licenses for avid local anglers, U.S. states provide a variety of fishing license options to suit every angler’s needs. The fees, while modest, play a vital role in funding fisheries conservation, education, and ensuring a sustainable resource for generations to come.

Before wetting a line, be sure to purchase a valid fishing license according to your state’s regulations. With the proper license, you can enjoy your time on the water knowing you’re doing your part to preserve this cherished outdoor tradition.

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