Losing your fishing license can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you were planning a long-awaited fishing trip. But not to worry—with the right steps, you can obtain a replacement license and get back out on the water.
The first thing you’ll need to do is contact the agency that issued your license. This is usually your state’s department of natural resources, or fish and wildlife department. You can typically find contact information for your state’s licensing agency on their official website. For example, here is the contact page for obtaining a replacement license in California.
When you reach out, you’ll need to provide personal details like your name, date of birth, and license number, if available. Having a license number makes things easier, but even without it, they should be able to look up your file as long as you can confirm other identifying details.
There will likely be a small replacement fee you’ll have to pay, often $10–20. Some states allow you to replace licenses online for convenience, while others require you to visit an office or license agent in person.
To make replacing a lost license easier in the future, it’s wise to keep a digital photo or photocopy for your records. Some states have mobile apps that allow you to display a digital license on your phone in place of the physical copy.
And most importantly – store your license properly after obtaining a replacement! Keep it in a secure but easily accessible place like a lanyard, tackle box, or waterproof phone case. Taking those precautions will prevent you from having to replace it again.
With the right steps, getting a replacement fishing license doesn’t have to keep you off the water for long. Just contact your licensing agency right away, provide the key details, pay the fee, and you’ll be hooked up with a new license. Tight lines!