Discover TN's Freshwater Fishing License Cost

Discover TN’s Freshwater Fishing License Cost – Ultimate Guide 2024

Fishing in Tennessee’s pristine lakes, rivers, and streams is a beloved pastime for anglers of all ages and skill levels. However, before you can cast your line, it’s essential to obtain a valid fishing license. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to understand the different types of fishing licenses available in Tennessee, their costs, and how to purchase them hassle-free.

Tennessee offers a variety of fishing licenses to cater to different needs, including short-term licenses for visitors, annual licenses for frequent anglers, and lifetime licenses for those who plan to fish in the state for many years. The cost of these licenses varies based on factors such as residency status, age, and the type of fishing desired (e.g., trout fishing). Additionally, some bodies of water require special permits in addition to a regular fishing license.

Introduction to Tennessee Fishing Licenses

In Tennessee, anyone aged 13 and older is required to have a valid fishing license to fish in public waters, with a few exceptions for residents born before March 1, 1926, and those who are legally blind or developmentally disabled. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is responsible for issuing fishing licenses and enforcing regulations to ensure the sustainable management of the state’s aquatic resources.

Fishing license fees contribute to various conservation efforts, including habitat restoration, fish stocking programs, and public access to fishing opportunities. By obtaining a fishing license, anglers not only comply with the law but also support the preservation of Tennessee’s rich fishing heritage for future generations.

Types of Tennessee Fishing Licenses

Tennessee offers a variety of fishing licenses to cater to different needs and preferences. Here are the main types of licenses available:

Short-term Licenses

If you’re planning a short fishing trip or want to test the waters before committing to an annual license, Tennessee offers the following short-term options:

  • One-day Fishing License (Residents): $6.50 for all species except trout, $11.50 for all species including trout.
  • Three-day Fishing License (Non-residents): $20 for all species except trout, $40 for all species including trout.
  • Ten-day Fishing License (Non-residents): $30 for all species except trout, $61 for all species including trout.

Annual Licenses

For frequent anglers or those planning to fish throughout the year, annual licenses offer a more cost-effective option:

  • Annual Hunting & Fishing Combination (Residents): $33, covers fishing and small game hunting.
  • Annual Trout License (Residents): $22, required in addition to the Annual Hunting & Fishing Combination for trout fishing.
  • Annual Sportsman License (Residents): $165, an all-inclusive license covering hunting, trapping, and sport fishing without additional permits.
  • Annual Senior Citizen Hunt/Fish/Trap (Residents aged 65+): $4, covers hunting, fishing, and trapping.
  • Annual Senior Citizen Sportsman (Residents aged 65+): $49, an all-inclusive license for seniors.
  • Annual Fishing License (Non-residents): $49 for all species except trout, $98 for all species including trout.

Lifetime Licenses

For those who plan to fish in Tennessee for many years, a Lifetime Sportsman license can be a wise investment. These licenses cover hunting, trapping, and sport fishing without any additional state supplemental licenses or permits. The cost of a Lifetime Sportsman license varies depending on your age:

  • Infant (Under 3 years): $320
  • Toddler (Ages 3-6): $659
  • Youth (Ages 7-12): $988
  • Adult (Ages 13-50): $1,976
  • Older Adult (Ages 51-64): $1,153
  • Senior (Ages 65 and over): $329

Purchasing Tennessee Fishing Licenses

Tennessee offers several convenient options for purchasing fishing licenses, including online, in-person, and through authorized agents. Here are the details:

Online Purchases

You can purchase your Tennessee fishing license online through the website or the Go Outdoors Tennessee mobile app. This option allows you to purchase and store your license on your smartphone, making it easily accessible during your fishing trips.

In-Person Purchases

If you prefer to purchase your license in person, you can visit any TWRA regional office or authorized license agent. These agents can be found at various locations throughout the state, including sporting goods stores, hardware stores, marinas, and county clerks’ offices.

Additional Fishing Regulations

In addition to having a valid fishing license, anglers in Tennessee must also adhere to a set of fishing regulations. These regulations include limits on the number and size of fish that can be caught, as well as restrictions on the types of bait and tackle that can be used.

Some bodies of water in Tennessee, such as Gatlinburg, Tellico-Citico, Agency Lake, and Bedford Lake, require special permits in addition to a regular fishing license. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with these regulations before heading out on your fishing trip to ensure compliance with the law.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a resident and non-resident fishing license?

Resident fishing licenses are available to individuals who possess a valid Tennessee driver’s license or Tennessee state ID issued by the Department of Safety. Non-resident licenses are for those who do not meet the residency requirements.

Can I use my fishing license in other states?

No, your Tennessee fishing license is only valid within the state of Tennessee. If you plan to fish in other states, you will need to obtain the appropriate fishing license for that state.

Do I need a separate license for trout fishing?

Yes, if you plan to fish for trout in Tennessee, you will need to purchase an additional trout license or an all-inclusive license that covers trout fishing, such as the Annual Sportsman License or Lifetime Sportsman License.

Can I purchase a fishing license for someone else?

No, fishing licenses are non-transferable. Each individual angler must purchase their own license.

How long are fishing licenses valid?

Most annual licenses and permits are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. However, some licenses, such as Lifetime Sportsman licenses, are valid for the lifetime of the holder.


Obtaining a Tennessee fishing license is a straightforward process that allows you to enjoy the state’s rich fishing heritage legally and responsibly. By understanding the different types of licenses, costs, and requirements, you can choose the option that best suits your needs and budget.

Remember, fishing licenses not only ensure compliance with the law but also contribute to the conservation efforts that help maintain healthy fish populations for future generations to enjoy. So, whether you’re a resident or a visitor, make sure to get your Tennessee fishing license before casting your line into the state’s beautiful waters.

For more information and to purchase your Tennessee fishing license, visit the official TWRA website or the website.

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