Is Your Fishing License Valid? Find Out Here!

Many people enjoy fishing, but before you reel in your big catch, it’s crucial to make sure your fishing license is valid. Let’s dive into the scenarios where you might not need a license and how to verify your license’s validity.

When is a Fishing license not required?

Not every angler needs a license to enjoy fishing. Here’s the lowdown on when you can skip the license:

  • Age: In some states, young fishers under 16 or 18 might be off the hook for a license. Always check your state’s fishing regulations to see if you’re in the clear.
  • Veterans and active military: Hats off to our service members! Many states cast a line of gratitude, offering free or discounted licenses. Your state’s Department of Natural Resources is the place to get the details.
  • Free Fishing Days: Mark your calendars! States often designate days where anyone can fish license-free. It’s a great time to test the waters if you’re new to fishing.

How To Check If Your Fishing License Is Still Valid

To avoid the bait-and-switch of fines or legal trouble, here’s how to check your license status:

  • Look at the expiration date on your license. If it’s been a while since you’ve fished, confirm your license hasn’t gone belly up.
  • Can’t find your license or are you unsure about its expiration? Your state’s Department of Natural Resources website is your fishing buddy here. They usually have an online system to check your license status.

Remember, fishing without a valid license is no small feat; it can lead to penalties.

Special Fishing Events

Sometimes, you can cast a line without a license during special events aimed at promoting fishing. Keep an eye out for:

  • National Fishing and Boating Week: Every June, this event makes a splash with free fishing days and activities nationwide.
  • National Hunting and Fishing Day: On the fourth Saturday in September, this event celebrates the great outdoors and conservation.

Local DNR offices will have the scoop on events where you can fish without a license.

In Conclusion

Before you set sail on your fishing expedition, make sure your license is current. It’s the best way to ensure your fishing story is about the one that didn’t get away—including you—from the law! Happy fishing!


How do I check if my fishing license is valid?
Visit your state’s fishing department’s official website. There’s typically a section where you can enter your license number and check its status. Or, call customer service for a quick verification.

Can I fish with an expired license if I renew it later?
No, that’s fishing for trouble. An expired license is a no-go, and you could be fined or face legal action. Renew before it expires to keep your fishing days carefree.

Can I use my fishing license in another state?
It’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Some states have agreements allowing you to use your license elsewhere, but others require a separate license. Always check with the state you plan to fish in for their rules on licenses.

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