2023 KY Fishing License: How Much Does It Cost?

2023 KY Fishing License: How Much Does It Cost?

In the heart of the United States, the state of Kentucky offers a rich tradition of outdoor recreational activities, and fishing stands as one of the most popular among them. Whether you are a resident or a non-resident, understanding the nuances of obtaining a KY fishing license is essential. This guide, updated to 2023, aims to provide you with all the necessary information to ensure you are legally equipped to enjoy fishing in Kentucky’s diverse water bodies.

2023 KY Fishing License: How Much Does It Cost?

Understanding the Different Types of Licenses and Permits

In the state of Kentucky, the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources oversees the issuance of various licenses and permits that are essential for hunting and fishing activities. The details of these licenses and permits are meticulously described to cater to different groups of individuals based on their residency status, age, and the kind of activities they wish to engage in. Let’s delve deeper into understanding the different types of licenses and permits available.

Annual and Short-Term Licenses

Whether you are a resident angler or a visitor in Kentucky, it is imperative to understand the different options available for both short-term and annual licenses. The Kentucky fishing license year begins on March 1 and continues through the last day of February of the following year, requiring new licenses annually.

Resident and Nonresident Licenses

Residents and nonresidents have distinct licenses tailored to their needs. While the exact fees can vary, it is essential to note that there are options like the 1-day fishing license and the 7-day fishing license, which cater to short-term fishing needs. These licenses are available online, and it is advisable to purchase your license well in advance to ensure a hassle-free fishing experience.

Youth and Senior Licenses

Special provisions are available for young anglers below the age of 12, who are not required to purchase licenses or permits to fish. Moreover, youth anglers aged 15 and below enjoy the privilege of fishing without the necessity of licenses or permits. However, it is important to note that individuals who are 12 are license exempt but those between the ages of 12 and 15 can benefit greatly from a Youth Sportsman’s License, which is a tremendous value offering a combination of various permits at a discounted rate.

Special Licenses for Youth and Seniors

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources offers special licenses for both youth and senior citizens to encourage participation in fishing and hunting activities.

Senior Lifetime Sportsman’s License

For residents who are 65 years and older, the Senior Lifetime Sportsman’s License is available, allowing them to enjoy the benefits authorized by both a hunting and a fishing license. This license also permits the holder to take trout, deer, turkey, and other migratory game birds without any additional state permits. However, it is mandatory for the license holder to complete the HIP survey each year and to purchase the Federal Duck Stamp if they intend to hunt waterfowl.

Youth Sportsman’s License

Young enthusiasts between the ages of 12 and 15 can avail themselves of the Youth Sportsman’s License, which is a comprehensive package offering a range of permits including those for deer and turkey hunting, among others, at a substantial discount, fostering a nurturing ground for young anglers and hunters.

Combination Licenses: Hunting and Fishing

For individuals who are keen on both hunting and fishing, Kentucky offers combination licenses that provide a cost-effective solution to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Sportsman’s License

One of the standout offerings is the Sportsman’s License, which encompasses all the necessary state licenses and permits for deer and turkey hunting, in addition to other types of hunting and fishing activities, exclusively for Kentucky residents at a substantial discount. This license is a boon for avid outdoorsmen, providing a one-stop solution for all their hunting and fishing needs.

How to Purchase

Licenses and permits can be purchased online through the official website, where payment can be made using various forms of payment including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. It is important to carry proof of the license or permit while in the field, which can be a paper license/permit or a license authorization number obtained online.

Table: Kentucky Fishing and Hunting Licenses and Permits

License/Permit Type Eligibility Benefits Fees Validity
Annual Resident Fishing License Kentucky residents Allows fishing in all Kentucky waters for a year To be determined March 1 to last day of February
1-Day Resident Fishing License Kentucky residents Allows fishing for a single day To be determined 1 day
7-Day Nonresident Fishing License Non-Kentucky residents Allows fishing for a consecutive 7-day period To be determined 7 days
Youth Sportsman’s License Residents aged 12-15 Includes various permits for hunting and fishing at a discounted rate To be determined License year
Senior Lifetime Sportsman’s License Residents aged 65 and above Allows hunting and fishing without additional state permits, but requires additional federal permits for certain activities To be determined Lifetime

A Detailed Look at Permit Fees

Trout and Deer Permits

To indulge in the serene activity of trout fishing in Kentucky, both residents and non-residents can avail themselves of the trout permit at a nominal fee of $10. This permit is essential for those who wish to explore the rich trout habitats that Kentucky’s waters have to offer.

When it comes to deer hunting, the statewide deer permit is your gateway to a thrilling hunting experience. This permit, which costs $35 for residents and a substantial $185 for non-residents, allows the holder to hunt up to four deer, providing a generous opportunity for both novice and experienced hunters to engage in deer hunting. The youth deer permit for young hunters aged 12-15 is priced at $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents, encouraging young enthusiasts to learn and enjoy hunting responsibly.

Bird Hunting Permits

Bird hunting in Kentucky offers a diverse experience with a range of permits available. The Kentucky migratory bird/waterfowl permit is priced at $15, granting the holder the right to hunt various bird species, including waterfowl. However, to hunt waterfowl, one must also purchase the Federal Duck Stamp available at post offices and online for $25. This ensures adherence to the federal regulations governing migratory bird hunting.

For turkey hunting, the state offers different permits for spring and fall seasons. The spring turkey permit allows hunting two turkeys at $30, while the fall permit, priced the same, permits hunting up to four turkeys. Special provisions are made for young hunters aged between 12 and 15, with a youth turkey permit priced at $10.

Elk and Bear Permits

Kentucky’s rich wildlife also offers opportunities for elk and bear hunting, each requiring specific permits. The elk hunting permits are obtained through a drawing process, with the application fee set at $10. Various elk permits are available post the drawing, with prices ranging from $30 to $550, depending on the type of permit and whether the applicant is a resident or non-resident.

Bear hunting in Kentucky is regulated through different permits, including the bear permit priced at $30 for residents and $250 for non-residents. Special youth bear permits are available at $10, encouraging young hunters to participate under guidance.

Table: Kentucky Hunting and Fishing Permits (2023)

Permit Type Cost for Residents Cost for Non-Residents Species Allowed to Hunt/Fish Additional Details
Trout Permit $10 $10 Trout Valid for one year; required for individuals aged 16 and older
Statewide Deer Permit $35 $185 Deer (up to 4) Includes two tags for taking antlered deer and two for antlerless deer
Youth Deer Permit $10 $15 Deer (up to 4) Available for young hunters aged 12-15
Kentucky Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit $15 $15 Various bird species including waterfowl Federal Duck Stamp ($25) required for waterfowl hunting
Spring Turkey Permit $30 $30 Turkey (up to 2 in spring) Separate permit required for fall season
Fall Turkey Permit $30 $30 Turkey (up to 4 in fall)
Youth Turkey Permit $10 $10 Turkey Available for young hunters aged 12-15
Elk Drawing Application Fee $10 $10 Fee for entering the drawing for elk permits
Elk Permits (post-drawing) $30 – $550 $30 – $550 Elk Various permits available depending on the type and residency status
Bear Permit $30 $250 Bear
Youth Bear Permit $10 $10 Bear Available for young hunters aged 12-15

Additional Information

Where to Buy Your KY Fishing License

Purchasing a KY fishing license is a straightforward process facilitated by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. You have the option to purchase your license online, which is the most efficient and convenient method. When buying online, you will receive an authorization number that you can print and carry with you while fishing. Payment can be made using Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Fish and Wildlife gift certificates. Some licenses, such as the Shooting Preserve License and the Temporary Hunter Education Exemption Permit, are exclusively available online.

For those who prefer a tangible copy, you can opt for a paper license or permit, but remember to sign it before heading out. It is essential to carry proof of your license while in the field to avoid any legal complications.

Understanding the Regulations

Before you head out with your fishing gear, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations in Kentucky to ensure a lawful and enjoyable fishing experience. The regulations encompass various aspects including size and creel limits. It is advisable to stay updated with the latest regulations to avoid being on the wrong side of the law. The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources website is a reliable source for the most current regulations, helping you to fish responsibly and sustainably.

Special Area Permits

In Kentucky, there are special area permits designed for different wildlife management areas. These include the Peabody WMA User Permit and the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) Hunter User Permit. These permits are essential for maintaining the rich biodiversity in these special areas and ensuring sustainable hunting and fishing practices.

To enhance your understanding, it is recommended to visit the official website of the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources for detailed descriptions of each permit, including the areas covered and the species that can be hunted or fished.

Permit Type Cost for Residents Cost for Non-Residents Species Allowed Additional Notes
Trout Permit $10 $10 Trout species Valid for one license year
Statewide Deer Permit $35 $185 Up to 4 deers Includes additional deer permit options
Migratory Bird/Waterfowl Permit $15 $15 Various bird species including ducks, geese Federal duck stamp required for hunting waterfowl
Elk Draw Permit Varies based on draw Varies based on draw Elk Application process required
Bear Permit Varies Varies Bear Specific seasons apply
Peabody WMA User Permit $20 $20 Various species Required for all users age 16 and older
LBL Hunter User Permit $25 $25 Various species Required for hunting in the Land Between the Lakes area


In conclusion, obtaining the right KY fishing license is the first step towards a legal and enjoyable fishing experience in Kentucky. Whether you are a resident or a non-resident, a youth or a senior citizen, understanding the different licenses and permits available can help you make an informed decision. Remember to always adhere to the regulations to ensure a sustainable fishing environment for future generations.

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