Fishing License in PA

Do You Need a Fishing License in PA? Find Out Now!

Fishing is a beloved pastime for many in Pennsylvania, offering both relaxation and excitement. But before you cast your line into the Keystone State’s beautiful waters, it’s crucial to know whether you need a fishing license. This comprehensive guide will answer all your questions about fishing licenses in Pennsylvania, ensuring you’re fully prepared for your next fishing adventure.

Who needs a Pennsylvania fishing license?

If you’re planning to cast a line in the Keystone State’s abundant waters, it’s essential to know the rules. Anyone aged 16 and over must have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license, whether they’re a resident or non-resident. This requirement applies whether you’re angling for trout in a serene stream or seeking bass in a bustling lake.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Certain active-duty military personnel are exempt, as are all anglers on the specified “Fish for Free Days”. These special days allow anyone, resident or non-resident, to legally fish on Pennsylvania waterways with no fishing license required. In 2023, these days are Sunday, May 28, and Tuesday, July 4.

Fishing License in PA
Fishing License in PA

How and Where to Get Your Fishing License

Getting your fishing license in Pennsylvania is a straightforward process with multiple options available.

Online Purchase: You can buy licenses online at the PA HuntFish website or through the FishBoatPA app. This app is the official application from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, providing access to fishing and boating regulations, locating boating access points, stocked trout streams and lakes, and purchasing fishing licenses.

Phone and In-Person Options: Licenses are also available over the phone or at various retail stores throughout the state. More than 700 license-issuing agents, county treasurers offices, and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission offices offer licenses.

The cost of a fishing license varies depending on your residency status and age. For residents aged 16–64, the cost is $22.97, while non-residents aged 16 and up will pay $52.97. Senior residents aged 65 and up can purchase a license for $11.97.

Special Licenses and Permits

Pennsylvania offers several special licenses and permits for specific groups and fishing activities. For instance, a current Pennsylvania trout permit is required to fish for trout in Pennsylvania waters.

Military Personnel and Veterans: National Guard and Armed Forces Reserve licenses are available to those who provide documentation that within the previous 24 months, the person was deployed overseas for a period of 60 consecutive days or more or was released early from service due to an injury or disease incurred in the line of duty. Disabled Veterans Licenses are available for any disabled veteran who has a disability incurred in any war or armed conflict and is a resident of Pennsylvania.

Senior Residents: Senior resident and senior lifetime licenses are available to those persons at any time during the year in which they will reach the age of 65.

Replacement Licenses: If you lose your fishing license, a replacement can be obtained for a fee of $6.97. This fee includes all previously purchased permits or privileges.

Types of Licenses and Costs

Pennsylvania offers a variety of fishing licenses to cater to the diverse needs of its residents and non-residents. These licenses range from multi-year to annual and short-term options, each with its own unique pricing structure.

For instance, the annual resident license for individuals aged 16-64 costs $25.47, while the annual senior resident license for those aged 65 and up is priced at $13.22. For non-residents aged 16 and up, the annual license is priced at $56.97.

For those looking for a longer-term commitment, multi-year licenses are available. A 10-year resident license costs $236.97, while a 10-year non-resident license is priced at $551.97. There are also specific permits for Trout and Lake Erie, with a 10-year Trout Permit costing $106.97 and a 10-year Lake Erie Permit priced at $81.97.

Special rates are available for seniors, and there are different options for non-residents. For example, a 1-day tourist license, not valid from March 15–April 30, costs $29.47.

Special Permits and Regulations

Fishing in Pennsylvania is not just about having a license. There are additional permits and regulations that anglers need to be aware of. For instance, if you plan on fishing in Lake Erie or taking home Trout or Salmon, you’ll need additional permits.

The fishing seasons and regulations in Pennsylvania vary based on factors like the species of fish and the area. For example, the regular season for Trout and Salmon runs from 8 a.m. on the first Saturday in April to midnight on Labor Day. However, an extended season applies to all stocked trout waters, streams, lakes, and ponds from January 1 to February 19, 2023, and from 12:01 a.m. the day after Labor Day to December 31.

Displaying Your License

While fishing, your license must be either in digital or print form and provided upon the request of an officer. This applies to all types of licenses, whether they are annual, multi-year, or short-term.

Remember, visibility is key. You should always have your license on your person and be ready to present it when asked. This ensures that you are following the rules and regulations set by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Pennsylvania’s Agreements with Nearby States

Pennsylvania has agreements with neighboring states like Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio that allow fishing in specific areas with a PA license. For example:

  • A Pennsylvania or Maryland license is valid on the Conowingo Reservoir or Youghiogheny River Lake when fishing from a boat (excluding coves and tributaries).
  • A Pennsylvania or New York license is valid on the Delaware River (including West Branch) between New York and Pennsylvania when fishing from a boat or from either shore.
  • A Pennsylvania or New Jersey license is valid on the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania when fishing from a boat or from either shore.
  • A Pennsylvania or Ohio license is valid on the Pymatuning Reservoir when fishing from a boat.

However, no agreement has been established with New York for fishing in Kinzua Reservoir in McKean and Warren counties.

Lost Licenses and Replacements

If you lose your fishing license, a replacement can be obtained for a fee of $6.97. This fee includes all previously purchased permits or privileges. You can purchase a replacement license from any issuing agent or online at the PA HuntFish website.

Benefits of the License Fee

The fees collected from fishing licenses fund vital conservation efforts across Pennsylvania. These efforts include habitat restoration, fish population monitoring, and management, ensuring a thriving environment for local wildlife and providing better fishing opportunities for anglers.

Special Cases and Exemptions

There are several exemptions to the fishing license requirement in Pennsylvania:

  1. Assisting Children: Adults assisting children in fishing activities don’t need a license under certain conditions.
  2. Military Personnel: Special provisions exist for active-duty military personnel stationed in or outside Pennsylvania. Certain active-duty military personnel are exempt from Pennsylvania’s fishing license requirement if they are a bona fide Pennsylvania resident, on active duty, stationed outside Pennsylvania, and on authorized leave.
  3. Landowner Privilege: Landowners and their family members can fish on their land without a license.

Remember to follow Pennsylvania’s unique fishing regulations based on factors like season, area, and species.


Owning a fishing license in Pennsylvania is more than just a legal requirement; it’s a contribution to maintaining the state’s rich aquatic resources. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a first-timer, understanding the importance of these licenses ensures responsible and enjoyable fishing experiences. Remember, the joy of fishing comes with the responsibility of following regulations and contributing to conservation efforts. Happy fishing in Pennsylvania!

Similar Posts