When Do Fishing Licenses Expire in KY? Your Complete Guide

When Do KY Fishing Licenses Expire? The Ultimate Guide

If you’re an avid angler in Kentucky, it’s crucial to understand the state’s fishing license requirements and expiration dates. Staying informed about when your fishing license expires ensures you can enjoy your favorite pastime without any legal issues. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Kentucky fishing license expiration dates and related regulations.

Kentucky Fishing License Expiration Dates

In Kentucky, most fishing licenses are valid from the date of purchase until the last day of February the following year. For example, if you purchase an annual fishing license on July 1, 2023, it will remain valid until February 29, 2024. This applies to both resident and non-resident annual fishing licenses.

However, there are some exceptions to this general rule:

  • Short-term licenses: Kentucky offers 1-day and 7-day fishing licenses for both residents and non-residents. These licenses are valid only for the specified number of days from the date of purchase.
  • Joint married couple licenses: The joint married couple annual fishing license, available only to residents, follows the same expiration date as regular annual licenses (last day of February the following year).
  • Multiyear licenses: Kentucky also provides 3-year fishing licenses for residents, which can only be purchased online at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources website. These licenses expire three years from the date of purchase.

Exemptions from Fishing License Requirements

While most anglers in Kentucky need a valid fishing license, there are some exemptions:

  • Children under 16: Resident and non-resident youth under the age of 16 can fish without a license.
  • Resident owners of farmlands and their spouses and dependent children: They may fish on their own land without a license. This exemption also applies to tenants, their spouses, and dependent children who live and work on the farmland.
  • Resident servicemembers on furlough for more than three days: They may fish statewide without a license but must carry proper identification.
  • Residents and non-residents fishing during Kentucky’s free fishing days: Each year, Kentucky designates a weekend as “free fishing days” when anyone can fish without a license.

Where to Purchase a Kentucky Fishing License

You can buy a Kentucky fishing license through several methods:

  1. Online: Visit the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources website to purchase a license securely.
  2. In-person: More than 900 license vendors across the state sell fishing licenses, including sporting goods stores, county clerk offices, and some chain stores.
  3. By phone: Call 1-877-598-2401 to purchase a license using a credit card. A small convenience fee applies.

When buying a license, be prepared to provide personal information such as name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number (for residents).

Fishing Regulations in Kentucky

In addition to having a valid fishing license, anglers must follow Kentucky’s fishing regulations. These include:

  • Size and creel limits: Kentucky enforces specific size and daily catch limits for various fish species. Familiarize yourself with these regulations to ensure you’re fishing legally.
  • Fishing methods: Certain fishing methods, such as snagging and jugging, are prohibited or restricted in Kentucky waters.
  • Bait restrictions: There are limitations on the use of live bait in some waters to prevent the spread of invasive species.
  • Special regulations for specific waters: Some lakes, rivers, and streams have additional regulations that differ from statewide rules.

Always consult the current Kentucky Fishing & Boating Guide for the most up-to-date regulations.


Understanding when your Kentucky fishing license expires is essential for enjoying your angling adventures without running into legal trouble. Most annual licenses are valid until the last day of February the following year, while short-term licenses have specific expiration dates. Remember to follow all fishing regulations, including size and creel limits, to help preserve Kentucky’s fisheries for future generations.

What happens if I fish with an expired license in Kentucky?

Fishing with an expired license is a violation of Kentucky law and may result in fines and other penalties. Always ensure your license is valid before heading out to fish.

Can I renew my Kentucky fishing license online?

Yes, you can renew your fishing license online through the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources website.

Do I need a trout permit to fish for trout in Kentucky?

In addition to a valid fishing license, anglers who want to keep trout must have a trout permit. The permit is included in the resident Sportsman’s License.

Can I use my Kentucky fishing license to fish in other states?

No, a Kentucky fishing license is only valid for fishing within the state’s borders. If you plan to fish in another state, you’ll need to obtain a license from that state’s fish and wildlife agency.

How much does a Kentucky fishing license cost?

The cost of a Kentucky fishing license varies depending on the license type and residency status. For example, as of 2023, an annual resident fishing license costs $23, while a non-resident annual license costs $55.

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