Do Kids Need a Fishing License (Info for Each of the 50 States)


Perhaps the most important thing to bring with you while fishing, is your fishing license. Before any fishing trip, make sure that everyone who needs a license, has one! Depending on your state, sometimes children need a license, and sometimes they don’t.

So do kids need a fishing license? Younger children are often not required to possess their own fishing license. The age that kids are required to have a fishing license depends on the state you live in. There may be exceptions depending on where your kids legally have residency.

Below I have compiled the minimum age for each of the 50 states. Check it out so you can get out fishing with your kids as soon as possible!

Alabama

Residents of 16 – 65 years of age must have a fishing license. Once you are over 65 you no longer need a fishing license but you will need proof of residence and age.

Nonresidents 16 years or older are all required to purchase a fishing license

Active Duty Members do not need a fishing license. To go fishing an active duty member must just have proof of leave in their possession while fishing

Find More Info on Alabama Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Alaska

Residents under the age of 18 do not need a fishing license.

Nonresidents under the age of 16 do not need a fishing license.

Residents over the age of 60 after meeting the Fish and Game residency definition no longer need to purchase an annual fishing license. They can obtain a Permanent Identification Card after filling out an application.

Find More Info on Alaska Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Arizona

Both residents and nonresidents under the age of 10 years do not need to purchase a fishing license.

**Arizona has the lowest age limit for fishing licenses across the United States**

Blind residents do not a fishing license to fish in Arizona waters.

Find More Info on Arizona Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Arkansas

Residents and nonresidents 16 or older need a valid Arkansas fishing license.

Residents over 65 years of age can receive a discount on their fishing licenses.

Find More Info on Arkansas Fishing Licenses on their official website.

California

**California has the most expensive fishing licenses across the entire United States**

Both Residents and nonresidents 16 years or older need to possess the correct fishing license when fishing in California waters.

Residents with mobility impairment, blindness, or a developmental disability do not need to purchase a California fishing license. These special licenses can be obtained at a California Department of Fish and Wildlife License and Revenue Branch.

Low-Income Native Americans have no fee for fishing licenses in California. Their fishing licenses can only be obtained at California Department of Fish and Wildlife License Sales Offices.

Recovering Service Members, Low-Income Seniors, and Disabled Veterans receive a reduced fee when purchasing their fishing licenses.

Learn More Info on California Fishing Licenses on their official website. 

Colorado

Anyone above the age of 16 must purchase a Colorado fishing license.

Residents over the age of 65 years can receive their fishing licenses for $1.

Learn More Info on California Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Conneticut

Residents under the age of 16 will not need a fishing license to fish both inland and offshore in Connecticut.

All nonresidents will need to purchase a fishing license.

Residents who are blind, intellectually disabled, or who have certain handicaps are able to qualify for a special license. They must go to the town clerk’s office to obtain their licenses.

Residents over the age of 65 do not need to purchase a new fishing license each year; however, they do need to renew their license each year.

Find More Info on Connecticut Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Delaware

Residents and nonresidents under 16 years of age do not need to purchase a fishing license. They will need to obtain a free Fishing Information Network number.

Residents over the age of 65 are exempt from purchasing a fishing license. However, they still require the Fishing Information Network number.

Find More Info on Delaware Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Florida

Both residents and nonresidents under the age of 16 do not need to purchase a fishing license for both fresh and saltwater fishing.

Residents over 65 years of age only need proof of age and residency with them while fishing.

Residents who are in the Armed Forces on leave for 30 days or less do not need to purchase a fishing license.

Find More Info on Florida Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Georgia

Residents between the ages of 16 and 64 years are required to purchase a Georgia fishing license for both salt and fresh water.

Residents over the age of 65 are able to apply for a free lifetime license but automatically qualify for a reduced fee annual fishing license.

Nonresidents over the age of 16 need a fishing license in order to fish salt or fresh waters in Georgia.

Find More Info on Georgia Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Hawaii

**Hawaii is the only state to not have a license for marine fishing**

There are still some regulations and fees for fishing in Hawaii. However, these fees and regulations are specific to the water you are fishing in.

Find More Info on Fishing in Hawaii on their official website.

Idaho

Residents under 14 years of age do not need their own fishing license. However, they must be with a licensed adult and can keep their own bag limit.

Nonresidents under 14 years of age do not their own fishing license; however, they too must be with a licensed adult and any fish they catch counts towards the licensed adult’s bag count as well. If a nonresident under the age of 14 wishes to have their own bag count they can purchase their own fishing license.

Find More Info on Idaho Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Illinois

**Illinois has its own set of fishing rules and regulations. Check out the 2018 Fishing Information Guide to learn more!**

Nonresidents and residents under 16 do not need a fishing license.

Residents over the age of 65 qualify for a discounted fishing license.

Find More Info on Illinois Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Indiana

Residents and nonresidents under 18 years of age do not need a fishing license in Indiana Waters.

Residents over the age of 64 qualify for a reduced fee license.

Residents born before April 1, 1943, are exempt from fishing licenses for the public waters of Indiana.

Nonresidents over the age of 64 do not qualify for any special licenses and must pay full price.

Find More Info on Indiana Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Iowa

Residents and nonresidents alike below the age of 16 do not need to purchase a fishing license; however, if fishing for trout they will need to pay the trout fee.

Minor students of the State School for the Blind or student of the State School for the Deaf do not need a fishing license in Iowa.

Military Personnel who are residents of Iowa but who are stationed elsewhere do not need a fishing license when they are home on leave. Proof of leave and a current earnings statement that shows a tax deduction for Iowa income taxes must be on their person when fishing.

Find More Info on Iowa Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Kansas

Residents between the age of 16 and 74 years require a fishing license.

Nonresidents over 16 years of age require a fishing license unless on private property.

Residents between the ages of 65 and 74 qualify for a reduced license fee.

Disabled Veterans with at least 30% disability do not require a fishing license. They just need their disabled veterans entitlement papers to apply for their free fishing license.

Find More Info on Kansas Fishing License on their official website.

Kentucky

Residents and nonresidents under the age of 16 years do not need to purchase a fishing license.

Residents over the age of 65 only need proof of age and residency to obtain their license.

Kentucky offers two “Free Fishing Days” in which no license are required. These “Free Fishing Days” take place on the first Saturday and Sunday of June each year.

Find More Info on Kentucky Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Louisiana

Both residents and nonresidents under the age of 16 do not require a fishing license.

Residents who are disabled veterans qualify for a free fishing license.

Developmentally Disabled also qualify for the same free fishing license.

Find More Info on Louisiana Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Maine

Anyone (residents and nonresidents) under 16 do not need to purchase a fishing license for inland fishing.

Nonresidents between the ages of 18 and 24 who are enrolled in a college of Maine are eligible for resident license fees.

Find More Info on Maine Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Maryland

Residents and nonresidents under the age of 16 do not require a fishing license.

Maryland residents on leave from active duty do not require a fishing license.

Maryland holds three “Free Fishing Days” a year. For those three days, no fishing license is required of anyone. These “Free Fishing Days” take place on the first two Saturdays of June and on July 4th of each year.

Find More Info on Maryland Fishing Licenses on their official website

Massachussets

Nonresidents over 15 years of age need a fishing license, to fish in the freshwaters of Maryland.

Residents under 18 years of age will receive a free fishing license.

Residents over the age of 70 also will receive a free fishing license.

Residents who are blind or have an intellectual disability qualify for a free license after filling out the required application.

Anyone between the ages of 16 and 59 years needs either a Massachusetts saltwater fishing license or a saltwater fishing license from a state that is part of Massachusetts reciprocity agreement. State licenses accepted in Massachusetts waters from the reciprocity agreement are New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Anyone over the age of 60 needs a free permit to fish in saltwater.

Find More Info on Massachusetts Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Michigan

Both nonresidents and nonresidents under the age of 17 are not required to purchase a fishing license.

If you are an adult assisting a fisherman under the age of 17, you are still required to possess a valid fishing license.

Michigan offers a “Free Fishing Weekend” each year. That weekend there will be no license requirement for anyone fishing. Michigan’s “2019 Winter Free Fishing Weekend” will be February 16th and 17th.

Find More Info on Michigan Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Minnesota

Residents and nonresidents under the age of 16 are not required to possess their won fishing license.

Military personnel, veterans, and people with disabilities may qualify for a special license.

Find More Info on Minnesota Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Mississippi

Residents between the ages of 16 and 64 require a fishing license for both fresh and saltwater fishing in Mississippi.

Residents over the age of 64 require a license for saltwater fishing but do not require a license for freshwater fishing.

Nonresidents 16 years or older need to have a valid fishing license for both fresh and saltwater fishing.

Find More Info on Mississippi Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Missouri

Residents under the age of 15 do not need a fishing permit. However, without a permit they are only permitted to fish using pole and line, gig, bow, crossbow, snaring, grabbing, and snagging.

Members of the U.S. Military who are current patients of a Warrior Transition Brigade or Unit, or a patient at a military medical center do not need permits for fishing for the following: fish, live bait, clams, mussels, turtles, and frogs. However, permits or daily tags are still required in certain areas.

Residents who are over the age of 65 do not need a permit to fish in any waters; except when a daily trout fishing tag or trout permit is required.

Missouri also offers permit exceptions for those with certain physical disabilities.

Find More Info on Missouri Fishing Permits on their official website.

Montana

Anyone (nonresident or resident) under the age of 12 is not required to possess a valid fishing license. They are required to follow bag limits and regulations just as any other fisherman would.

Any person who has received a “Purple Heart” whether resident or nonresident can qualify for certain privileges in Montana. For example, a resident who has been awarded a Purple Heart are allowed to fish and hunt upland birds with a special conservation license. To apply (residents only) go to any Fish Wildlife and Parks office.

Each year of Father’s Day weekend, fishing is free in all Montana waters. However, there are exceptions when fishing for paddlefish and bull trout.

Find More Info on Montana Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Nebraska

Anyone under the age of 16 is not required to purchase a fishing license so long as they are accompanied by an adult with a valid fishing license.

Resident seniors qualify for a discounted combination fishing and hunting license. 

Find More Info on Nebraska Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Nevada

Residents and nonresidents who are under 12 years of age do not need a fishing license.

Residents who are over 65 years of age can receive a discounted fishing license.D

Disabled veterans or the severely disabled can apply for a special fishing license.

Find More Info on Nevada Fishing Licenses on their official website.

New Hampshire

Residents and nonresidents who are 16 years or older need to purchase a fishing license in order to fish in any New Hampshire waters.

Residents who are 68 years of age qualify for a significant discount when purchasing their fishing license in New Hampshire.

Find More Info on New Hampshire Fishing Licenses on their official website.

New Jersey

Residents or nonresidents who are under the age of 16 do not need to purchase a fishing license.

Residents who are 70 years of age or older are not required to purchase fishing licenses or trout stamps.

Find More Info on New Jersey Fishing Licenses on their official website.

New Mexico

Residents and nonresidents who are under the age of 12 are exempt from purchasing a New Mexico fishing license.

Both residents and nonresidents who are between the ages of 11 and 17 qualify for a discounted Junior Fishing License.

Residents who are over 65 years of age may qualify for a free fishing license.

Active duty military members and veterans can receive 50% off their fishing licenses in New Mexico.

Find More Info on New Mexico Fishing Licenses on their official website.

New York

Anyone over the age of 16 is required to purchase a New York fishing license when angling, spearing, hooking, using a longbow, and when using tip-ups.

Native Americans fishing on reservation land do not need to obtain a fishing license.

Active duty members, veterans with at least 40% disability, residents who are 70 years or older, the legally blind, and nonresidents attending a New York State college or university full-time all qualify for a free or reduced fee fishing license.

Find More Info on New York Fishing Licenses on their official website.

North Carolina

Anyone (resident or nonresident) under the age of 16 are exempt from purchasing both inland and saltwater fishing licenses.

Blind residents qualify for a free inland and coastal fishing license.

Find More Info on North Carolina Fishing Licenses on their official website.

North Dakota

Residents under the age of 16 are able to fish on their own without a fishing license.

Nonresidents under the age of 16 are able to fish as long as they are accompanied by someone with a valid fishing license.

Residents on leave from active duty are exempt from purchasing a North Dakota fishing license.

Residents who are 65 years or older, have permanent disabilities or are veterans with at least 50% service-related disability all qualify for a discounted fishing license in North Dakota.

Something unique North Dakota does is sell a “Husband/Wife Fishing License.” This license is only $22 compared to the $16 required for individual licenses (each).

Find More Info on North Dakota Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Ohio

Anyone who is under 16 years of age is exempt from the license requirement in Ohio.

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are on active duty while on leave are exempt from purchasing fishing licenses.

May 4th and 5th of 2019 Ohio will host the Free Fishing Days. On those days no one will be required to have a fishing license.

Find More Info on Ohio Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Oklahoma

Residents who are less than 16 years of age are not required to obtain a fishing license.

Residents over the age of 65 are exempt from any fees associated with fishing licenses.

Find More Info on Oklahoma Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Oregon

Anyone under 12 years of age is exempt from purchasing a fishing license, but may still be responsible for certain tags, stamps, or validations.

Residents who have lived in Oregon for at least 5 years and are over 70 years of age qualify for a slight discount on their fishing licenses.

For residents who have lived in Oregon for at least 50 years and are over 65 years old, Oregon offers a large discount on fishing and hunting licenses.

February 16th and 17th of 2019, Oregon is hosting a Free Fishing Weekend. No licenses, tags, or validations are required anywhere in the state for that weekend. It may be icy that time of year, but don’t overlook the great opportunity to take friends fishing!

Find More Info on Oregon Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Pennsylvania

Anyone who is less than 16 years of age is not required to purchase a fishing license.

Disabled Veterans qualify for a free or reduced fishing license.

Active duty members may qualify for a free fishing license.

Find More Info on Pennsylvania Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Rhode Island

Both residents and nonresidents who are over 15 years old are required to purchase a Rhode Island freshwater fishing licenses.

Residents who are over 65 years of age or who are 100% disabled qualify for a no-cost fishing license.

Active military members qualify for a no-cost saltwater fishing license.

Find More Info on Rhode Island Fishing Licenses on their official website.

South Carolina

Anyone under the age of 16 is not required to purchase a fishing license but is still responsible for any applicable tags.

Residents of South Carolina who are over the age of 64 are able to purchase a discounted lifetime fishing license.

Find More Info on South Carolina Fishing Licenses on their official website.

South Dakota

Residents under 16 years of age are not required to purchase a fishing license.

Nonresidents who are under 16 years of age are not required to purchase a fishing license. However, they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who has a valid South Dakota fishing license and their bag count goes towards their parent or guardians.

If they desire their own bag count, they will need to purchase a nonresident youth license.

Find More Info on South Dakota Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Tennessee

Youth who are under the age of 13 years are not required to purchase a fishing license.

Military members on leave are not required to purchase a fishing license. Proof of leave is the only documentation needed.

Like many states, Tennessee offers a Free Fishing Day each year. On this day there is no requirement for anyone to possess a valid fishing license.

Tennessee also offers a Free Fishing Week in which everyone 15 years old and younger is not required to have a fishing license for that entire week.

Find More Info on Tennessee Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Texas

Both residents and nonresidents under the age of 17 are not required to purchase a Texas fishing license.

Mentally disabled residents qualify for free fishing licenses.

Louisiana residents who are over the age of 65 and possess a valid Louisiana Fishing License are not required to purchase a Texas fishing license.

Oklahoma residents who are over 65 years of age are not required to purchase a Texas fishing license.

Find More Info on Texas Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Utah

Residents and nonresidents who are less than 12 years of age do not need to obtain a fishing license.

Disabled veterans can receive a great discount on their fishing licenses.

Utah, like other states, hosts a “Free Fishing Day.” On this day everyone is exempt from purchasing a fishing license; however, all the laws apply.

Find More Info on Utah Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Vermont

Any youth who is under the age of 15 is permitted to fish without a fishing license.

Youth who are between the ages of 15 and 17 qualify for a youth fishing license at a discounted price.

Residents who are blind, paraplegic or who are veterans with 60% service-related disabilities can qualify for a special fishing license which may come at a discount to them or for free.

Find More Info on Vermont Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Virginia

Residents and nonresidents who are over the age of 16 are required to purchase a fishing license for fishing in Virginia waters.

Residents who are over the age of 65 are exempt from purchasing a saltwater fishing license in Virginia.

Residents who are on active duty and are spending their leave at home are not required to purchase a fishing license and are only required to have proof of leave when trout fishing.

Legally Blind residents are not required to purchase a fishing license.

Find More Info on Virginia Fishing Licenses on their website.

Washington

Residents and nonresidents over the age of 15 need to obtain a fishing license.

Anyone fishing for common carp, crawfish, bullfrogs, or smelt does not need a fishing license in Washington.

Veterans who are 65 years of age and have a service related disability may qualify for a reduced fee on their fishing license.

Residents who are permanently in a wheelchair, are blind or visually impaired, or who have developmental disability may qualify for a reduced fee fishing license.

Washington holds a Free Fishing Weekend each year. In 2019, the free fishing weekend will be June 8th and 9th. For this weekend licenses are not needed; however, catch record cards are still needed for salmon, sturgeon, steelhead, Puget Soung Dungeness crab, and halibut.

Find More Info on Washington Fishing Licenses on their offcial website.

West Virginia

Anyone who is under the age of 15 years is not required to purchase a fishing license.

Residents who are 65 years of age are only required to carry their driver’s license while fishing.

Residents who are totally blind are only required to carry a physician’s statement while fishing.

Residents home on leave from active duty are only required to carry their leave number while fishing.

Find More Info on West Virginia Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Wisconsin

Residents and nonresidents under the age of 16 do not need to purchase a fishing license.

Youth who are 16 and 17 qualify for a cheaper Junior Fishing License.

Resident seniors who are over the age of 65 years qualify for a cheaper fishing license.

Find More Info on Wisconsin Fishing Licenses on their official website.

Wyoming

Residents under the age of 14 do not need to purchase a fishing license and can fish for free.

Nonresidents who are under the age of 14 do not need a fishing license so long as they have an adult with a valid fishing license accompanying them.

Find More Info on Wyoming Fishing Licenses on their official website.

United States Territories

Even the Territories of the United States have different fishing license requirements.

The Virgin Islands

Currently, the Virgin Islands do not require any fishing permits for anyone. However, there are restrictions on what fish and gear you can use.

For example, fishing with pots, traps, set-nets, and haul seines are all restricted.

To find more info on Fishing in the Virgin Islands take a look at their official website.

Puerto Rico

Similar to the Virgin Islands, fishing in Puerto Rico is open to everyone.

Fishing with a hook and line is permitted at all time in designated areas. There are certain standards for catch and release for small fish. Fishing with pots and nets in the Black Sea is restricted.

To find more info on Fishing in Puerto Rico take a look at their official website.

Related Questions:

If my child or I am exempt from a fishing license, do we need to follow the same rules as everyone else? If you are exempt from a fishing license in any state or territory, you will still be expected to follow the same bag counts and regulations that other fishermen do.

At what age can I teach my child to fish? You can begin teaching your child to fish as early as they are ready. The age at which kids are best prepared to begin learning how to fish is around 4 or 5 years old.

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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