Do Your Kids Need a Fishing License? Find Out Now!

Imagine this: It’s a sunny Saturday morning, and you’ve decided to take your kids out for a fun-filled day of fishing. You’ve packed the fishing rods, bait, and a picnic lunch. But just as you’re about to head out, a thought crosses your mind: “Do my kids need a fishing license?”

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you’re not alone. Many parents are unsure about the rules and regulations surrounding fishing licenses for children. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this often confusing topic.

Do Kids Need a Fishing License?

The short answer is: it depends on the state. Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding fishing licenses, including age requirements.


In Ohio, children under 16 years of age are not required to purchase a fishing license. This applies to both residents and non-residents. However, anyone over the age of 16, including those fishing with a guide or charter, needs a license to fish in Ohio.


In California, children under 16 years of age do not need a fishing license. However, they do need a valid report card if they fish for certain restricted species. Even when a fishing license is not required, such as when fishing from a public pier, a report card may still be necessary.


In Missouri, the rules are slightly different. If you are a member of the U.S. military currently assigned as a patient to a Warrior Transition Brigade, Warrior Transition Unit, or a military medical center, you may take fish, live bait, clams, mussels, turtles, and frogs without a permit. However, a trout permit or daily tag is still required in areas where prescribed.


In Iowa, any resident or nonresident born after January 1, 1972, must have completed an approved hunter education program in Iowa or another state to buy a hunting license. This rule may not directly apply to fishing, but it’s worth noting as it indicates that Iowa has specific requirements for outdoor activities.

How to Obtain a Fishing License

If your child is of the age where a fishing license is required, you can typically purchase one online or at a local retailer. In Ohio, for example, you can buy a fishing license online or at any of the state’s license retailers. In California, fishing licenses can be purchased online, at any Department of Fish and Wildlife office, or at licensed agents like sporting goods stores or tackle shops.

Contact Information

Here are the contact details for the fishing departments in the states mentioned:

  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources
    • Address: 2045 Morse Rd, Columbus, OH 43229, USA
    • Phone: +1 800-945-3543
    • Website:
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
    • Address: 2901 W Truman Blvd, Jefferson City, MO 65109, USA
    • Phone: +1 573-751-4115
    • Website:
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources


While the rules vary by state, the general rule of thumb is that children under 16 do not need a fishing license. However, it’s always a good idea to check the specific regulations in your state before heading out. Remember, fishing is not just about the catch – it’s about spending quality time with your kids and teaching them about the great outdoors. So, grab those fishing rods and enjoy a day at the water!

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