GA Fishing Laws: Does Your Child Need a License?

Fishing is a popular pastime in Georgia for both residents and visitors alike. With an abundance of lakes, rivers, and coastal waters, there are ample opportunities to reel in trophy bass, trout, catfish, and other species. However, before heading out with your kids, it’s important to understand Georgia’s fishing regulations as they relate to children and licensing.

Licensing Exemptions for Kids

The first question many parents have is: do my kids need a fishing license? The answer depends on the child’s age:

  • Children under 16 years old do not need any type of fishing license. They can fish license-free in freshwater and saltwater. This includes non-resident children visiting Georgia.
  • 16 and 17 year olds need to purchase an annual fishing license. A basic resident license costs $9. Non-residents in this age group would need a non-resident license.

So kids can legally fish without a license until they turn 16, making it easy to get them started at a young age.

Additional License Options

While children under 16 don’t need a license, there are some optional licenses that offer perks:

  • A Youth License is available for $3.50 per year. This multi-year license is valid until the child turns 17. It includes mountain trout fishing privileges.
  • A 1-day license can be purchased if only fishing for a day. This costs $3 for residents.

Purchasing these optional licenses allows your child extra fishing opportunities, like trout fishing. The multi-year license also skips needing to buy a new one annually.

Licensing Regulations at Age 16

Once a child turns 16, licensing regulations change:

  • They must purchase an annual fishing license, just like an adult angler. For residents, this starts at $9 for a basic freshwater fishing license.
  • Additional licenses may be needed, like trout licenses or saltwater licenses. Make sure you get all necessary licenses to legally cover the type of fishing you’ll do.
  • Non-residents age 16+ need a non-resident license. These are more expensive than resident licenses in Georgia.

So while the license-free fishing ends at 16, licenses are still reasonably priced for resident teens. Make sure they are prepared to buy the applicable licenses when they hit this age.

Accompanying Adult Supervision

While kids can fish independently without licenses under 16, keep in mind:

  • Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult 18+ while fishing. The adult should remain close at hand to provide adequate supervision.
  • Children 13-15 can fish unaccompanied, as long as they carry fishing permission from a parent or guardian.

Proper adult supervision, based on age, is still an important requirement while fishing license-free.

Teaching Kids About Fishing Regulations

As a parent, be sure to teach kids about fishing laws in Georgia. Go over license requirements by age so they know what to expect. Also cover daily limits, size restrictions, and other regulations for the type of fishing they’ll do. Instilling ethical, lawful fishing practices young will set them up for a lifetime of enjoying the sport.

So in summary – no license needed under 16, optional licenses with added benefits available, licenses required at age 16, adult supervision still needed under 13. Understanding GA fishing regulations for kids will let everyone have more fun out on the water!

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