Get Hooked: Your Guide to Panama City Fishing Licenses

Panama City, located in Bay County along Florida’s Emerald Coast, is a world-renowned fishing destination boasting excellent saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities. As an angler, obtaining proper licensing is essential for legally fishing these fertile waters while supporting fisheries conservation efforts. This comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know about fishing licenses in Panama City.

Saltwater Fishing Licenses

A saltwater fishing license is required for all anglers, including visitors, ages 16 and older to recreationally harvest or attempt to harvest marine species in Panama City. Saltwater licenses allow you to fish from shore, private vessel, or charter boat in saltwater areas like the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay.

Annual resident licenses cost $17 while non-resident licenses are $47. Short-term non-resident licenses are also available for 3 days ($17) or 7 days ($30). Additional permits for popular species like snook or lobster may be needed. Licenses can be easily obtained 24/7 online through the FWC website or their mobile app.

Exemptions exist for those fishing from properly licensed fishing piers or charter vessels, or during temporary license-free fishing days. Children under 16 do not need a license. Visit the FWC saltwater licensing page for a full list of license options and exemptions.

Freshwater Fishing Licenses

A freshwater fishing license allows you to fish inland lakes, ponds, rivers and canals in Panama City. A $17 annual resident or $47 non-resident freshwater fishing license is required for those ages 16 and older. As with saltwater licenses, short-term non-resident versions are available along with exemptions for fishing piers or children.

Combination licenses covering both freshwater and saltwater fishing, or fishing and hunting privileges, can offer savings for anglers. Military Gold Sportsman’s Licenses provide affordable licensing for active duty and retired military personnel.

Fishing License Costs and Fees

Below are the base costs for common Panama City fishing licenses. Additional taxes, agent fees, and processing charges may also apply:

  • Annual Resident Saltwater Fishing – $17
  • Annual Non-Resident Saltwater Fishing – $47
  • Annual Resident Freshwater Fishing – $17
  • Annual Non-Resident Freshwater Fishing – $47
  • 3-Day Non-Resident Saltwater Fishing – $17
  • 7-Day Non-Resident Saltwater Fishing – $30
  • Annual Snook Permit – $10
  • Annual Lobster Permit – $5

Panama City offers world class fishing for numerous sport fish species. Understanding the rules and regulations for popular game fish helps ensure compliance.


  • Minimum Size Limit: 18″-27″ slot
  • Daily Bag Limit: 1 per harvester

Speckled Trout

  • Minimum Size Limit: 15″-20″ slot
  • Daily Bag Limit: 3 per harvester


  • Minimum Size Limit: 12″
  • Daily Bag Limit: 10 per harvester

See FWC regulations for full details on minimum sizes and bag limits for other species.

Abiding by fishing regulations protects Panama City’s fisheries. Key regulations include:

  • Circle Hooks – Required for live/dead bait fishing in federal waters
  • Dehooking Devices – Must be carried on board in federal waters
  • Seasonal Closures – Apply for some species like snook
  • Possession Limits – Cannot exceed daily bag limit while in transit
  • Fishing Gear – Regulations on allowable gear like nets, traps apply

FWC provides a full list of legal and prohibited gear for recreational anglers. Common legal gear includes rods, reels, hooks, dip nets, cast nets, and crab traps. Spearfishing allows using Hawaiian slings or pole spears.

Responsible Fishing Practices

Practicing responsible catch-and-release fishing helps sustain Panama City’s bountiful fisheries for generations while reducing waste.

  • Carefully handle fish to minimize injury
  • Use proper dehooking tools
  • Gently release fish back into the water
  • Limit harvest to what you will use

Following fishing regulations, using legal gear, and obtaining required licensing supports the conservation of Panama City’s precious marine resources while allowing anglers to enjoy the fishing experience. With this guide’s help, visitors can Get Hooked on Panama City’s amazing fishing while complying with local rules!

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