Do Minors Need a Fishing License? Your Guide to Fishing Laws for Kids

Do Minors Need a Fishing License? Your Guide to Fishing Laws for Kids

Fishing is a popular pastime for many families, offering a chance to connect with nature and each other. But when it comes to fishing laws, particularly for minors, things can get a bit murky. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on whether minors need a fishing license, with a detailed analysis of the laws in different states.

Do Minors Need a Fishing License? Your Guide to Fishing Laws for Kids


Fishing laws vary widely across the United States, with each state having its own regulations. Generally, minors under a certain age are not required to have a fishing license. However, the age limit and other conditions differ from state to state. This guide will help you navigate these laws, ensuring that your next family fishing trip is both fun and legal.

Fishing Laws for Minors: A State-by-State Analysis

Florida Fishing Laws for Minors

In Florida, minors under the age of 16 are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a recreational hunting, freshwater fishing, or saltwater fishing license . This means that children under 16 can enjoy fishing without needing a license, but they must still abide by all other fishing regulations, such as gear type, bag, and size limits .

Florida residents fishing in their county of residence on their homestead or a minor child fishing on the homestead of their parent are also exempt from the fishing license requirement . This exemption allows families to enjoy fishing on their own property without needing to purchase a license for their minor children.

Non-residents under the age of 16 are also exempt from needing a fishing license in Florida . This allows young visitors to the state to participate in fishing activities without the need for a license.

For more information on Florida fishing licenses and regulations, you can visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s official website . It is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest rules and regulations to ensure a fun and legal fishing experience for the whole family.

Remember, while minors under 16 may not need a fishing license, they must still follow all other fishing regulations and guidelines. This includes adhering to gear type restrictions, bag limits, and size limits for the fish they catch. By following these rules, young anglers can help protect Florida’s natural resources and ensure a sustainable fishing environment for future generations.

New York

New York, a state known for its bustling city life, also offers a rich and diverse fishing experience. With over 7,500 lakes and ponds, and approximately 70,000 miles of streams and rivers, it’s a paradise for fishing enthusiasts . This guide will provide you with detailed information about fishing laws for minors in New York, ensuring a safe and enjoyable fishing experience.

Age Requirement for Fishing License

In New York, anyone aged 16 and older is required to have a valid fishing license. This applies to both residents and non-residents, and includes those who are fishing on private waters not open to the general public, those who do not keep the fish they catch, and those assisting an angler (including a child under the age of 16) in the act of fishing .

Fishing License for Freshwater Fishing

A fishing license in New York entitles you to catch freshwater fish, frogs, or freshwater baitfish using several methods, including angling, spearing, hooking, longbow, nets, traps, and tip-ups . The license can be purchased online, over the phone, or from any registered vendor, including Walmart and tackle stores .

The cost of the license varies based on the type and duration. For residents aged 16-69, an annual license costs $25, while for those aged 70 and above, it costs $5. There are also options for 7-day and 1-day licenses costing $12 and $5 respectively. Lifetime licenses are also available, with prices ranging from $65 to $765 based on age .

Trout Season Dates

The trout season dates in New York vary depending on the region and the type of water body. It’s recommended to check the official New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Fishing License for New York City Parks

In New York City parks, everyone aged 16 and older needs a fishing license for freshwater fishing. The parks offer both freshwater and saltwater sport fishing opportunities. Freshwater fishing is subject to New York State DEC angling regulations and is catch and release only in NYC .

Exemptions from Fishing License

There are several exemptions to the fishing license requirement in New York. For instance, persons under 16 years of age, New York State resident owners, lessees, and members of their immediate families occupying and cultivating farmlands when fishing on their own lands, and persons holding farm fish pond licenses and members of their immediate families when fishing on waters covered by their licenses, do not require a fishing license .

While New York offers a wide range of fishing opportunities, it’s important to be aware of the laws and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Always remember to check the latest regulations from the official New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website before heading out for your fishing adventure.

Other States

In Alaska, residents under the age of 18 and nonresidents under the age of 16 do not need a fishing license . In California, both residents and nonresidents 16 years or older need to possess the correct fishing license when fishing in California waters . In South Carolina, anyone under the age of 16 is not required to purchase a fishing license but is still responsible for any applicable tags .


While this guide provides a general overview, it’s always a good idea to check the specific regulations in your state or the state you plan to fish in. Remember, fishing laws are in place to protect our natural resources and ensure that future generations can enjoy the same fishing opportunities that we have today. So, let’s fish responsibly and make sure we’re following the rules.


Q: Do minors need a fishing license?

A: Generally, minors under a certain age do not need a fishing license. However, the age limit varies from state to state.

Q: What is the age limit for a minor to fish without a license?

A: The age limit varies by state. For example, in Florida, the age limit is under 16 years, while in New York, it’s under 16 years, and in Alaska, it’s under 18 years for residents and under 16 years for nonresidents.

Q: Are there any exceptions to these rules?

A: Yes, there are exceptions. For instance, in some states, you do not need a fishing license if you are fishing on a licensed fishing preserve, during free fishing days, or at a free learn to fish clinic. Always check the specific regulations in your state.

Q: Where can I get a fishing license?

A: You can usually get a fishing license online, over the phone, or at an official License Issuing Agent in your state.

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