Pennsylvania Fishing License Cost: Everything You Need to Know

Fishing is a popular outdoor recreational activity in Pennsylvania with over 85,000 miles of rivers and streams, along with thousands of lakes, to explore. To legally fish these waters, anglers age 16 and up need to purchase the proper fishing license and permits based on residency status and intended catch.

This comprehensive guide covers key details on 2024 Pennsylvania fishing license and permit costs, types, exemptions, and more to know before hitting the water this season.

Types of PA Fishing Licenses

Pennsylvania offers various license durations and types depending on factors like age, residency status, and intended fishing location:

Resident Licenses

  • Annual: $26.97 – valid 12/1/2023 through 12/31/2024
  • 3-Year: $64.47
  • 5-Year: $96.97
  • 10-Year: $191.97
  • Senior Annual (age 65+): $12.50
  • Senior Lifetime (age 65+): $85

Non-Resident Licenses

  • Annual: $59
  • PA Student Annual (with student ID): $26.97

Tourist Licenses

  • 1-Day: $12.50
  • 3-Day: $30
  • 7-Day: $37.50

Additional Licenses

PA Fishing Permit Costs

Along with a fishing license, additional permits are needed to fish certain waters:

  • Trout Permit: $13 – required to fish for trout and salmon
  • Lake Erie Permit: $9.97 – required to fish Lake Erie and tributaries
  • Combo Trout/Lake Erie Permit: $19 – covers both trout and Lake Erie

Where to Buy a PA Fishing License

Pennsylvania fishing licenses, permits, and gift vouchers can be purchased:

Licenses purchased online can be printed at home or saved digitally on your phone to serve as proof of possession while fishing.

PA Fishing License Discounts

The following anglers are eligible for discounted or free PA fishing licenses with proper documentation:

  • Senior residents (age 65+)
  • Disabled veterans who are PA residents – apply here
  • Former POWs who are PA residents

PA Military Fishing License Exemption

Qualifying active duty military personnel who are PA residents and stationed outside the state while here on leave do not need a fishing license. They should carry proof of residency, military ID, and assignment/leave orders while fishing to confirm exemption status if checked by an officer.

Fish for Free Days

The last Sunday in May (May 28, 2023) and July 4th are designated “Fish for Free Days” in Pennsylvania when anyone from any state can fish public waters without needing a license or permits.

Where Does Fishing License Money Go?

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission depends on fishing license and permit sales to fund critical programs and maintenance efforts related to:

  • Fisheries management
  • Hatcheries
  • Public fishing access
  • Conservation enforcement
  • Aquatic education
  • Boating safety

So purchasing a license helps conserve PA fisheries for future generations to enjoy.

2024 PA Fishing Season Key Dates

  • December 1, 2023 – 2024 licenses go on sale
  • March 30, 2024 – Statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day
  • April 6, 2024 – Statewide Opening Day of Trout Season
  • November 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024 – Mandatory life jacket requirement for boaters in effect

Check the annual PA Fishing Summary Book for specific regulations on seasons, sizes, and creel limits based on location and species.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a new trout permit each year?

Yes, you need to purchase a current year trout permit annually even if you have a multi-year fishing license.

Where can I get a free copy of fishing regulations?

The annual PA Fishing Summary book can be accessed for free on the Fish & Boat website or mobile app. Printed copies are also available at many fishing license issuing agents.

Can a non-resident student get a discounted license?

Yes, non-resident students enrolled in a PA school can purchase an annual non-resident student license for $26.97 with a current student ID.

Do kids need a license?

Anglers under 16 can get a Voluntary Youth Fishing License for $2.97 or a free Mentored Youth Permit to participate in special youth fishing events. No license is needed otherwise.


I hope this guide has helped explain key details on getting properly licensed for fishing Pennsylvania’s abundant waterways. Let me know if you have any other questions! Tight lines!

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