Do Kids Need a Fishing License in Oregon? Exploring the Rules & Regulations

Do Kids Need a Fishing License in Oregon? Exploring the Rules & Regulations

Fishing is more than just a pastime in Oregon; it’s a family affair. But before you head out to the Columbia River with your tackle box and rods, there’s an essential question to answer: Do kids need a fishing license in Oregon? This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on the fishing license requirements in Oregon, focusing on the rules that apply to young anglers.

Do Kids Need a Fishing License in Oregon? Exploring the Rules & Regulations

Understanding Oregon’s Fishing License Requirements

What is a Fishing License and Why Do You Need One?

In the state of Oregon, a fishing license is not just a piece of paper; it’s a gateway to the rich aquatic life that the state’s rivers, lakes, and ocean waters offer. Issued by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), this license serves a dual purpose. First, it’s a legal requirement for anyone who plans to fish for personal use in Oregon’s waters. Second, the fees collected from these licenses contribute to conservation efforts, ensuring that future generations can also enjoy the state’s abundant fishing resources.

The ODFW uses the data collected through licensing to generate recreation reports, which offer valuable insights into fish populations, angler activities, and more. These reports are crucial for both the department and anglers, as they help in understanding the health of various fish species and the overall fishing environment.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Oregon

When it comes to fishing in Oregon, one size doesn’t fit all. The state offers a variety of licenses to meet the diverse needs of its angling community. Here are some of the options:

  • Annual Angling License: For residents, this license costs $44.00, while non-residents have to shell out $110.50.
  • Sports Pac: This is a combination license or sports pac that includes fishing, shellfish, and hunting licenses, along with a combined angling tag. The cost for residents is $196.50, and if you add a Columbia River Basin Endorsement, it’s $206.25.
  • Combined Angling and Hunting: This license is available only for residents at $73.00.
  • Endorsements and Validations: If you plan to fish with two rods, you’ll need a Two-rod Validation, which costs $28.00. For fishing in the Columbia River Basin, an endorsement will cost you $9.75 when purchased with an angling license.
  • Youth Licenses: For youth aged 12 to 17, the Annual Combination License includes fishing, hunting, and shellfish licenses, along with a Columbia River Basin Endorsement, all for just $10.00.
  • Daily/Multi-Day Licenses: These are available for both residents and non-residents, ranging from $23.00 for a one-day angling license to $93.50 for a seven-day license.

It’s important to note that these fishing licenses are valid from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, and you can start buying your next year’s license on Dec. 1 of the prior year. If you have any questions, ODFW license vendors are available, or you can buy online.

Age Requirements for a Fishing License

In Oregon, the age at which you need a fishing license varies, but the rules are quite straightforward. Youth aged 12 to 17 need a Youth License, which is a comprehensive package that includes Angler, Hunter, Shellfish, and Columbia River Basin Endorsement. This license is a steal at just $10.00. For those under the age of 12, no license is required to fish for most species, making it easier for families to enjoy kids fishing activities.

By understanding these requirements, you’re not just following the law; you’re also contributing to the state’s conservation efforts. So the next time you plan to fish, make sure you have in possession a valid Oregon fishing license.

Special Provisions for Youth Anglers

Opportunities for Youth in Oregon Fishing

Oregon is a haven for young anglers, offering a plethora of fishing opportunities specifically designed for youth. The state hosts various free fishing days and youth angling events, which are excellent platforms for introducing kids to the joys of fishing. These events often waive the license requirements, allowing children to catch fish without any legal hassles. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) also provides the latest recreation report to keep everyone updated on the best fishing spots and times.

Free Licenses and Endorsements for Kids

For children aged 11 and younger, Oregon offers a unique advantage: they do not need a license to fish for trout, warmwater fish, and other marine species, except for salmon and Pacific halibut. For these specific species, a Free Youth Angling License is required. This is a fantastic way for families to fish together without worrying about the costs or legalities involved.

The Youth Angling License and the Juvenile Combined Angling Tag

When it comes to youth aged 12 to 17, the rules become a bit more specific. They are required to purchase a Youth License and a Juvenile Combined Angling Tag if they plan to fish for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and Pacific halibut. This comprehensive package costs only $10 and includes Angler, Hunter, Shellfish, and Columbia River Basin Endorsement. It’s a small price to pay for the wealth of fishing opportunities it unlocks.

By understanding these special provisions, young anglers and their families can fully enjoy the fishing opportunities that Oregon has to offer. So, the next time you plan to fish, make sure you are well-informed about the licenses you must have in possession. This not only keeps you on the right side of the law but also contributes to the state’s conservation efforts.

How to Obtain a Youth Fishing License in Oregon

Where to Buy a Youth Fishing License

Purchasing Options

: In Oregon, you have multiple avenues to buy a fishing license for youth. The most straightforward method is to make an online purchase through the official website of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Alternatively, you can visit an ODFW license vendor in person to secure the license.

Convenience Factor: The rise in online purchases, especially since the onset of the pandemic, indicates a trend towards digital convenience. However, some may prefer the traditional route for various reasons, such as immediate access to fishing tackle or personalized service.

Required Documents for License Application

Proof of Age and Residency

: When applying for a license, especially a youth license, you’ll need to provide valid identification that confirms the applicant’s age and that they have resided in Oregon. This is crucial for both online and in-person applications.

Additional Requirements: For youth aged 12 to 17, a Juvenile Combined Angling Tag is also required if they plan to fish for salmon or steelhead. This tag is a part of the comprehensive Oregon angling license package and is essential for specific fishing activities.

Online vs In-Person: What’s More Convenient?

Digital Ease

: The online method offers the comfort of making a purchase from your home. If you already have an online profile with ODFW, the process becomes even more streamlined. Online permits are available, and you can even find fishing resources to enhance your fishing skills.

In-Person Benefits: Opting for an in-person purchase allows you to engage directly with ODFW offices that sell licenses. This is particularly useful if you need this information clarified or have specific questions about fishing laws or living with wildlife.

The Final Verdict: Both methods have their merits. The online option is quick and often more convenient, especially for those who are tech-savvy. On the other hand, the in-person route provides a more personalized experience, which can be invaluable for first-time anglers or those with specific queries.

Note: Regardless of the method you choose, always ensure that you have all required documents in possession. This is crucial for a smooth application process and to avoid any legal complications.

When it comes to obtaining a youth fishing license in Oregon, you have multiple options. Whether you choose to buy online or in person, each has its own set of advantages and requirements. Always make sure to have the necessary identification and, if applicable, the Juvenile Combined Angling Tag. By following these steps, you’ll ensure a smooth and lawful fishing experience for the youth angler in your life.

For a more detailed guide, you can refer to the latest recreation report provided by ODFW.


Understanding the fishing license requirements in Oregon is crucial, especially for families who love to fish. Youth aged 11 and below generally do not need a license, while those aged 12 to 17 must obtain a Youth License and a Juvenile Combined Angling Tag for specific species. With this information in hand, you’re now ready to plan your next family fishing trip in Oregon responsibly.

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