Inland Fishing License Guide: All You Need to Know

Fishing, a cherished pastime, is a ticket to tranquility for millions across the United States. But, before you cast your line into the serene waters, it’s crucial to understand the fishing license requirements, which, like the fish themselves, vary from state to state. This guide is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about obtaining an inland fishing license in each state.

Alabama to Florida: The First Ten

Whether you’re in Alabama or Florida, or any state in between, you’ll need a fishing license. You can snag one online, over the phone, or at your local bait and tackle shop. In Alabama and Connecticut, they’ve got different licenses for residents and non-residents, so make sure you get the right one.

Alaska offers licenses for freshwater, saltwater, or both, depending on where you plan to cast your line. Arizona has a unique “Community Fishing” license for those who only fish in designated community fishing waters. And in Delaware, if you’re under 16, you’re in luck – no license needed!

Georgia to Louisiana: The Middle Ground

From Georgia to Louisiana, a fishing license is a must, but there are some exceptions. Georgia and Hawaii, for instance, give a free pass to anglers under 16 and over 65.

Idaho offers a variety of licenses depending on the type of fishing and the duration of the license. Illinois has a “Joint Waters” license, covering both Illinois and Wisconsin waters. And if you’re in Kentucky and just want to try your luck for a day, they’ve got a “1-Day Fishing License” just for you.

Maine to Nebraska: The Northern States

In the northern states from Maine to Nebraska, you’ll need a fishing license if you’re over 16. Michigan is a bit more generous, exempting those under 17, while Mississippi gives a break to those over 65.

You can get your license in Maine online, over the phone, or at local retailers. Minnesota offers a variety of licenses, including a “Family Fishing License.” And if you’re just passing through Montana, you can grab a 2-day license.

Nevada to Oklahoma: The Heartland

In the heartland states from Nevada to Oklahoma, a fishing license is required, but there are some exceptions. For instance, in Oklahoma, if you’re under 16 or over 64, you’re off the hook.

New Jersey offers different licenses for freshwater and saltwater fishing. New Mexico residents meeting certain criteria, like being a disabled veteran or living on tribal land, can get a “Free Fishing License.”

Oregon to Vermont: The Western States

In the western states from Oregon to Vermont, you’ll need a fishing license, but there are some nuances. For example, in Oregon, if you use a wheelchair or are blind, you can fish without a license.

Pennsylvania offers different licenses for residents, non-residents, and seniors. South Carolina residents can purchase a “Lifetime License” for children under 1. And in Texas, they’ve got different licenses for saltwater and freshwater fishing, plus “All-Water Packages.”

Virginia to Wyoming: The Final Stretch

In the final stretch from Virginia to Wyoming, a fishing license is required, but there are some exceptions. In Virginia, if you’re over 65, you don’t need a license. In West Virginia, if you’re under 15, you’re good to go.

Wisconsin offers different licenses for residents, non-residents, and seniors. And if you’re just passing through Wyoming, you can grab a “1-Day Fishing License.”


No matter where you plan on fishing in the United States, it’s important to know the specific license requirements. Always check with your state’s fish and game department before embarking on your next fishing adventure. Remember, obtaining a fishing license ensures the conservation and sustainability of our nation’s fish populations, so it’s our responsibility as anglers to follow the rules and regulations set forth by each state.


Q: What is an inland fishing license? A: An inland fishing license is your golden ticket to fish in the rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds within the state or territorial boundaries of the United States.

Q: How much does an inland fishing license cost? A: The cost of an inland fishing license can vary as much as the fish in the sea. Generally, it ranges from $10 to $50 or more, depending on the duration of the license and whether you’re a resident or non-resident.

Q: Do I need an inland fishing license if I am fishing from shore? A: Yes, you generally need an inland fishing license even if you’re fishing from shore. Fishing licenses are required whether you’re fishing from a boat or from shore, as long as you’re fishing in inland waters. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your local fish and wildlife agency to see if there are any exceptions in your area.

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