How to Get a NY Fishing License

How to Get a NY Fishing License: Step-by-Step Guide

New York State offers a variety of fishing opportunities, from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and numerous lakes, rivers, and streams in between. To enjoy these fishing experiences, you need to obtain a New York fishing license. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of obtaining a fishing license, including the types of licenses available, fees, and where to purchase them.

Types Of Fishing Licenses And Fees in New York

New York State offers a variety of fishing licenses, catering to both residents and non-residents. The fees for these licenses vary based on their duration and the age of the applicant.

Here’s a quick rundown of the general fishing licenses and their associated fees:

License Type Resident Fee Nonresident Fee
Annual $25 (ages 16-69) $50
7-day $12 $28
1-day $5 $10

The annual license is valid for one full year (365 days) from the date of purchase or renewal.

Free or reduced-fee licenses are also available for certain groups. For instance, seniors aged 70 and above, disabled veterans, and legally blind residents may qualify for these licenses.

How to Get a NY Fishing License
How to Get a NY Fishing License

Special Licenses and Discounts

New York State also offers special licenses and discounts for certain groups:

  • Active-duty military members: Resident military members of NYS Organized Militia or U.S. Reserve Forces can get free fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses. Nonresident military members stationed in New York for more than 30 days can get resident prices for these licenses.
  • Military veterans (residents only): Those with 40% or more service-related disability can get a fishing, hunting, or trapping license for $5. If one license is purchased, the other two are free.
  • Seniors (70+): Senior citizens who are New York State residents can get each fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses for $5.
  • Persons with Disability: Citizens who are legally blind and residents of New York State can get a free fishing license.
  • Nonresident students: Those attending a New York State college or university full-time can get resident prices for fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses.

Who Needs a License?

In general, you need a fishing license if you are 16 years and older and fishing for freshwater fish species by angling, spearing, hooking, longbow, and tip-ups. You also need a license if you are catching frog species by spearing, catching with the hands, or by use of a club or hook, and if you are catching freshwater baitfish for personal use.

However, there are exceptions. You do not need a fishing license if you are fishing on a licensed fishing preserve, fishing during the free fishing weekend, fishing at a free learn to fish clinic, a resident landowner primarily engaged in farming (including lessees and members of their immediate families) when fishing on farm lands they are occupying and cultivating, a farm fish pond license holder (including members of their immediate families) fishing on waters covered by the license, a Native American living and fishing on reservation land, or a patient residing at a qualifying U.S. Veterans Administration hospital or facility in New York State.

How to Purchase a Fishing License

You can purchase a New York fishing license through the following methods:

  1. Online: Visit the official DECALS website to purchase your fishing license online.
  2. By phone: Call 1-866-933-2257 to order your fishing license.
  3. In-person: Visit a License Issuing Agent, such as a local tackle shop or Walmart, to purchase your fishing license.

When purchasing a fishing license, you will need to provide proof of residency (for reduced in-state fees) and proof of hunting or trapping eligibility.

Fishing License Requirements And Exemptions

Fishing is a popular pastime for many, but it’s important to understand the licensing requirements before you cast your line. In New York, most people aged 16 and older need a New York State Fishing License to fish for freshwater fish species, frog species, and freshwater baitfish for personal use.

Getting Your License

There are three ways to get a fishing license in New York. You can visit an official License Issuing Agent, order over the phone, or order online through the official DECALS website. Be aware of fraudulent websites claiming to sell NYS Freshwater Fishing Licenses. The only legitimate method to purchase your NYS fishing license online is through the official DECALS website.

License Fees

The cost of a fishing license varies depending on your residency status and the duration of the license. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Type Resident Fee Nonresident Fee
Annual (ages 16-69) $25 $50
Annual (ages 70+) $5 $50
7-day $12 $28
1-day $5 $10
Lifetime (ages 0-69) $460 N/A


There are certain situations where you do not need a fishing license. These include:

  • Fishing on a licensed fishing preserve
  • Fishing during free fishing weekends
  • Fishing at a free learn-to-fish clinic
  • A resident landowner primarily engaged in farming (including lessees and members of their immediate families) when fishing on farm lands they are occupying and cultivating

Saltwater Fishing

For saltwater fishing, anglers aged 16 and older must enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. This registry is valid for one full year (365 days) from the date you register, and there is no lifetime registration.

Reciprocal Agreements

New York has reciprocal agreements with certain states, allowing you to fish in their waters with a New York State marine registration only. For example, you can fish in Connecticut and Rhode Island waters, but not in New Jersey waters.

New York Fishing Regulations and Licenses

When planning a fishing trip in New York, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the state’s fishing regulations. The New York Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide is a comprehensive resource that provides up-to-date information on fishing rules and regulations. This guide is provided with your fishing license and is also available for download online.

Fishing licenses are mandatory for anyone fishing in New York State, with a few exceptions. Licenses can be purchased for different durations, including annual, 7-day, and 1-day licenses. For New York State residents, the cost of an annual fishing license is $25.00, a 7-day license is $12.00, and a 1-day license is $5.00. Non-residents can also purchase fishing licenses, with an annual license costing $50.00, a 7-day license costing $28.00, and a 1-day license costing $10.00.

Fishing Tips and Techniques

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, understanding different fishing techniques can enhance your fishing experience. The choice between trolling or casting, for instance, depends on your environment and personal preference. Casting is recommended for shallow waters to avoid startling the fish, while trolling allows you to reach more fish in a shorter amount of time.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provides a wealth of information on fishing basics, ice fishing, and where to find fish in streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. They also offer species-specific fishing tips for bass, carp, catfish, chain pickerel, crappie, muskellunge, panfish (sunfish, crappie, perch), steelhead, trout (brook, brown, rainbow), and walleye.

Safety Guidelines for Fishing

Safety should always be a priority when fishing. For instance, when fishing in Lake Ontario, it’s recommended to have a boat that can handle rough waters. Additionally, purchasing a marine radio can provide frequent weather reports and up-to-date fishing information.

When fishing on the Hudson River, using non-offset circle hooks and natural baits can increase the chances of fish surviving after catch-and-release.

Fishing Resources and Organizations in New York

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is a valuable resource for anglers. They provide information on fishing licenses, regulations, places to fish, stocking information, and more. They also offer a HuntFishNY app, which provides waterbody-specific information on stocking, boat launches, fishing regulations, and more.

New York is home to numerous popular fishing spots. Some of these include:

  1. Lake Ontario: Known for trout and salmon, this lake is a hotspot for anglers. During the summer, trout and salmon come close to the shore, making it an ideal location for shore fishing.
  2. Hudson River: The Hudson River is famous for its striper season during the summer. It’s also known for the occasional shark sighting.
  3. Oneida Lake: Oneida Lake is another popular fishing spot, known for its walleye fishing.
  4. Canadice Lake: The smallest Finger Lake, Canadice Lake, offers opportunities to catch chain pickerel, brown bullhead, bluegill, black crappie, yellow perch, lake trout, brown trout, and rock bass.
  5. Cayuga Lake: Cayuga Lake is one of the premier walleye fisheries in New York. Walleyes are abundant throughout the lake, reaching trophy sizes.

Remember, each fishing location may have specific regulations, so it’s essential to check the local rules before you start fishing.


Fishing in New York State offers a diverse range of opportunities for anglers. To enjoy these experiences, make sure to obtain a valid NY fishing license and follow the state’s fishing regulations. With the right license and knowledge, you can have a fantastic time exploring New York’s abundant fishing spots.

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