Do Kids Need a Fishing License in Texas?


The age at which children must have official fishing licenses varies from one state to the next. Your kids may need a license at an earlier age than you previously thought. If you live in Texas, there are very specific rules regarding when children will need fishing licenses.

So do kids need a fishing license in Texas? Kids are not required to purchase a fishing license in the state of Texas until they are 17 years of age or older. Before they are 17 years old, they may only need to purchase tags or stamps, but not a license. This rule applies to both residents and nonresidents of Texas.

Teaching your kids to fish can become a great family activity. Spending time in the outdoors is not only relaxing, but it can also help bring you all closer together by doing something you love. If this is something you want to do, you can (and should) start teaching your children to fish at a young age. Read on to learn more about fishing licenses in Texas.

Texas License Exemptions

When fishing in Texas, anyone who is attempting to catch fish, mussels, clams, crayfish, or any other aquatic species is required to possess their own valid fishing license.

However, there are certain people who are exempt from needing a fishing license. For instance, anyone under the age of 17 years (nonresident or resident) is exempt from purchasing their own fishing license.

However, this does not mean that they are exempt from all tags, stamps, or endorsements for fishing in certain bodies of water though.

While your kids are not required to obtain a fishing license before they reach the age of 18, catch and size limits still apply and will be enforced.

Besides children, there are some other exemptions from needing a fishing license while in Texas. Other exemptions for needing a Texas state fishing license include:

  • Louisiana residents 65 years or older who have a Louisiana Recreational Fishing License
  • Oklahoma residents over the age of 65 years
  • Those with mental disabilities for which fishing is part of their approved therapy
  • Those with mental disabilities who are accompanied by a licensed angler

Special discounts may apply for anyone fishing who is a military veteran, currently an active duty military member on leave, or who is considered a senior resident of Texas.

Texas Fishing Licenses

Now that you know whether or not you and your family members need a fishing license, you need to know how much it will cost you!

Be sure to check out the table below to know how much a fishing license will cost you.

Resident Fishing LicensesCost
Freshwater Package$30
Saltwater Package$35
All-Water Package$40
Senior Freshwater Package$12
Senior Saltwater Package$17
Senior All-Water Package$22
Special Resident All-Water License$7
Year-from-Purchase All-Water Package$47
One-Day All-Water License$11
Non-Resident Fishing LicensesCost
Freshwater Package$58
SaltWater Package$63
All-Water Package$68
One-Day All-Water Licese$16

Other special licenses or tags apply to fishing on Lake Texoma, using a Sport Oyster Boat, and specific types of fish.

While fishing in a Texas State Park you are not required to have a fishing license. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says they offer free fishing to increase everyone’s opportunity to experience fishing for the first time.

While fees to enter the park may still apply, taking your kids to fish in a state park is a great way for all of you to experience fishing at a cheaper rate without any of the tags or fees you would need elsewhere.

As well as free fishing in state parks, Texas offers one free fishing a year to once again increase the peoples chances to try fishing for the first time without too much of a price commitment.

On the first Saturday of June every year, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department waves the requirement for licenses and endorsements for everyone out on the water.

The rules and bag limits still apply to all waters.

Take advantage of free fishing in your area to teach your children how to fish at a lower cost. Since you will not need a license yourself the only cost to you will be the rods, line, and bait.

Be sure before you go fishing to purchase all the proper tags, endorsements, and licenses for everyone in your fishing group.

Fishing with Children (Education and Benefits)

Teaching kids to fish can begin at a young age. Many suggest starting your kids off as young as 4 years old. Begin teaching your kids about the basics of water safety as soon as possible.

For younger children who may not yet understand how to be safe in or around water, have them wear life jackets for added safety.

To help them best enjoy their fishing trip more be sure to include them every step along the way. Start by showing them how to fill the reel with line and how to bait the hook.

Starting your kids off on a simple bait caster or spin rod with a bobber on the line. Bobbers are a great way to teach your children to begin seeing a fish’s strike.

Help your kids cast out if they are not able to do so themselves. However, let your kids attempt to reel the line in themselves.

Reeling in the fish tends to be kids favorite part of a fishing trip. After all it is exciting and new for them! After reeling in the fish be sure to show them how to properly remove the hook and how to release fish when ready.

If your child does not want to touch the fish or bait do not force them to. Doing so might make them less likely to want to come fishing again (which is the opposite of what we want!).

Do not push your kids too much when they first begin fishing. The more they get used to all the steps of fishing the more comfortable they will be with baiting the hook themselves or touching the fish.

Fishing alongside with you kids is a great way to introduce your children to the skill and help them learn a life long activity that they one day can teach to their kids too!

Kid’s Fishing Gear

It is not important for kids to have the nicest or most expensive rod when they’re first learning how to fish.

Begin with one of the smaller “toy” rods. Since these toy rods often come with designs and characters from your kid’s favorite shows, your kids are more likely to stay interested in the fishing trip longer.

As well as purchasing a small toy rod for your kids to fish with, consider getting them a small tackle box (often toy rods will come with a small tackle box meant for holding a handful of hooks and bobbers) to keep track of their own fishing gear in.

The only other gear you needed for fishing with kids is some line weights and bait.

You do not need to use any fancy bait to get your kids started. Start off with some grasshoppers or worms. If those are not working, you can even try fishing with bread, corn, or some types of artificial bait.

Do make sure when you’re fishing with children that they have hats and the proper clothing to keep them protected from the sun, wind, or cold.

Related Questions

Can I help my child fish without a fishing license? While your kids may not need a fishing license, those who are assisting in the catch of a fish are not exempt. Anyone over the age of 17 needs to purchase their own fishing license. The only exceptions to this are those who are assisting fishermen with disabilities.

Can I purchase fishing licenses online? Most states do offer an online option to purchase fishing licenses from their official websites. For some specialty licenses, you may be required to physically go into one of their license retailers to purchase one.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Stripped Bass.

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