Reel it in: Get Your California Fishing License Online Today!

Fishing is a popular recreational activity in California, with abundant opportunities across the state to catch trophy fish in lakes, rivers, and along the extensive coastline. To legally fish in California, anglers ages 16 and over are required to have a valid California sport fishing license. Purchasing your license online is the most convenient way to access California’s world-class fisheries.

Why Do You Need a Fishing License in California?

California mandates fishing licenses to help ensure the sustainability of fish populations and aquatic habitats. License fees provide essential funding for conservation efforts, restocking programs, fish hatcheries, and public waterway access and maintenance. Getting a license also helps you understand and comply with regulations for size limits, catch limits, gear restrictions, and regional or seasonal closures.

Who Needs a California Fishing License?

All anglers ages 16 and older need a valid California sport fishing license to fish inland or ocean waters, whether you are a resident or not. Active duty U.S. military members stationed in California and dependents are exempt. Those younger than 16 or fishing from a public pier in ocean waters do NOT need a license.

Types of California Sport Fishing Licenses

California offers resident and non-resident licenses, with options for annual, short-term, lifetime, and free or reduced-fee licenses. Prices vary based on duration and residency status.

Annual licenses are valid for the calendar year, expiring Dec 31.

  • Resident: $58.58
  • Non-resident: $158.25

Short-term licenses provide flexibility if you only fish occasionally. Rates are the same for residents and non-residents.

  • 1-day: $19.18
  • 2-day: $29.42
  • 10-day (non-resident only): $58.58

Lifetime licenses offer great value for dedicated anglers:

  • Ages 0-9: $644.50
  • Ages 10-39: $1,054.25
  • Ages 40-61: $949.75
  • Ages 62+: $644.50

Free and reduced-fee licenses provide discounted or free licenses for qualifying seniors, disabled veterans, recovering military, disabled, or low-income individuals.

Purchase Your California Fishing License Online

Purchasing your California fishing license online through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website is fast, convenient, and enables you to access your license from any mobile device.

Here are the steps to purchase online:

  1. Create a User Account
    If you don’t already have a CDFW account, you will first need to create one and obtain your GO ID number that will be printed on your license documents.
  2. Select License Type
    Choose from resident, non-resident, short-term and annual licenses, plus any validations or report cards needed for special species or regions.
  3. Checkout & Print License
    Enter your payment details, review your order, and print your license documents and receipts.

Benefits of Online Purchase

Buying online enables you to access useful features and services:

  • Access license on mobile devices
  • Store payment information for future purchases
  • Enroll in text/email notifications and license renewal reminders
  • Submit harvest reports online
  • Apply for permit drawings and preference points

License Regulations & Responsibilities

Make sure you understand and follow all license guidelines to avoid citations. Key regulations include:

  • Carry license when fishing: You must have license in your possession, either printed or digital on mobile device
  • Report cards: Required for Steelhead, Sturgeon, Lobster, Salmon
  • Display license properly: Do not laminate licenses to prevent damage

You must also follow all size limits, gear restrictions, catch limits, and regional or seasonal closures. Know before you go!

Get Started Fishing Today!

Getting started fishing is easier than ever with California’s convenient online license sales and abundant fisheries from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Pacific coastline. Review the CDFW sport fishing guide for tips and resources to plan your next memorable fishing adventure. With your license in hand, you’ll be set to reel in trophy catches while responsibly enjoying our incredible outdoors.

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