Everything You Need To Know About How To Get One Day Fishing License Info - Deep Water Fishery

Everything You Need To Know About How To Get One Day Fishing License Info

One of the most fundamental and important things to do before anyone goes fishing is to obtain a fishing license. Fishing rules, regulations, and requirements may vary depending on multiple conditions and by state. So, make sure to check out this fishing license guide before you hit the water!


1/Historical licensing

What Is Crappie

What Is Crappie

As early as 1729 in China, the Tanka or boat people in Guangdong were required to get fishing licenses. By 1765, all operators of fishing boats needed to have fishing licenses under the aojia system of the Chinese Qing Dynasty government which regulated the coastal populations.

These licenses were made of wood and had to be displayed on the stern or bow of a boat. It contained the name and age of the boat owner, whether the ship is a commercial or a fishing vessel, its home port, the family members and crew on board, the date of issuance, and the license registration number.

2/Types By Country

Depending on the authority, fishing permits or licenses may be required by the property owner, the government, or both. There are also different types and specifications based on the country.

United States

Here in the United States, commercial fishing licenses were first required by the Oregon government since 1899 upon the collapse of the state’s sturgeon fishery because of over-harvesting. Recreational fishing licenses were required in 1901.

The same year, Indiana also started to issue hunting licenses which in 1913 included fishing privileges. Pennsylvania then issued licenses for non-residential recreational fishing in 1919 and for state residents in 1922.

Unlike in other countries like the United Kingdom where people older than 12 years old are already required to have a fishing license, most states in the U.S. only requires youths 16 years old and older to acquire a license. However, both may require special licenses from the individual, local government, or organization that owns the right to fish in a certain lake, canal, estuary, river or stream.

These entities and private institutions may also usually impose regulations and rules or deny you from fishing in a body of water even if you have a license from the state government.

United Kingdom

Spinner Bait

Spinner Bait

In the U.K., rod licenses are required for anyone older than the age of 12 and who fishes in Wales, England, or the Border Esk area in Scotland. This applies to the fishing of salmon, smelt, trout, eels, or freshwater fish.

Also, for someone to be able to fish in a canal, lake, or non-estuarine stream, one needs to secure a permit from the landowner, organization, or local angling club owning the fishing rights to the water body.


The rights to fish in freshwater in Ireland are also owned by either the government or private institutions like a local angling club. The origin of the boundaries and owning these fishing rights came all the way back from the British Crown’s land confiscations during the 17th century.

3/License Free Fishing

Some places do not require fishing licenses for specific conditions. These are the conditions when you need and do not need a license in different countries:


    • No license is needed when fishing in certain parts of the sea although you need to follow size limits of fish.
    • A freshwater permit is required for fishing on some seadocks


    • Spearfishing and sea angling without equipment can be done license-free, but some species of turtles, dolphins, and seals are protected.


    • All Estonians have the right to fish in waters owned by the local government or the state for as long as they live, provided that they use only one simple hand line and they follow size, season, and species regulations.

New Zealand

    • Recreational sea fishing does not call for a license, but many detailed regulations about fishing methods, fish species, size limits, and prohibited areas must be followed.


    • Visitors and residents can both fish from a boat or from the coast freely, but some regulations and fishing rules apply.


    • Fishing in public waters does not require a license.
    • Foreign citizens can only fish license-free when using a hand gear.
    • Fishing license-free is legal along the sea coast, including most private lands and also in the five large lakes namely Storsjön, Vänern, Hjälmaren, Vättern, and Mälaren.

United Kingdom

    • Most places do not require a sea fishing license.
    • Sea trout and salmon game license is needed regardless of location.
    • Complicated regulations and licenses may be needed in places where freshwater and saltwater crossover.

United States

    • Different states and localities have different rules, regulations, and requirements for saltwater and freshwater, commercial and recreational fishing.
    • In some states like Maryland, free registration of all anglers are required, but there are designated license-free fishing areas.
    • In some states like Florida, there are scheduled license-free fishing days in all waters and for both non-residents and residents. However, regulations regarding the season, bags, size limits, numbers, and total catch still apply.

4/Why You Need To Have A License

There are several reasons why governments require fishing licenses. These include:

  • For wildlife protection and management to avoid marine resources from becoming depleted and prevent species endangerment.
  • To generate money for supplemental fish stockings into lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams.
  • For habitat programs like cleanups to remove pollutants, trash, and other debris from bodies of water and to create structures to help fish spawning.
  • Part of licensing sales go to fishing surveys, researches, and studies to improve the number and health of the fish.
  • To pay for educational programs, pamphlets, and books for new anglers under free workshops and clinics.
  • To improve boating and fishing access.
  • Through your license purchase, you are helping protect, enhance, and preserve the sport and practice of fishing today and for the future generations. You are also contributing to the state’s conservation or management programs to protect fish habitats, educate fishers, and sustain our resources.

5/How Do I Obtain A License?



A fishing permit or license can be purchased in a couple of ways:

1. By buying online with a credit card.

You may have to fill up an online registration form, print or save a copy of your proof of purchase, and pay certain fees depending on the duration of your license. Typically, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit cards are accepted.

One of the benefits of having an online fishing license is that you can easily print out a new one in case you lose it. By buying from license issuing agents, government offices, retail businesses, fish and boat commission offices, county treasurer offices, or private organizations that own the rights for fishing in your target body of water. You may be required to show a proof of residency or photo IDs.

Note that depending on the method you prefer, varying requirements and costs may be necessary. Different states also have varying rules when it comes to getting a fishing license.

6/Plastic licenses

Top Water Lures

Top Water Lures

Most fishing licenses are standard paper licenses. However, you can obtain a much more durable plastic or laminated card license upon request or payment of an upgrade.

Plastic recreational fishing licenses valid for 1 to 3 years bought online are delivered via mail with ten to seven working days upon purchase. You will also receive an electronic PDF copy of your license immediately after purchasing online. You can save or store this electronically on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

However, one-day, 3-day or 28-day licenses purchased online usually do not come with plastic cards and are only issued in the form of an electronic copy. You still have the option of printing a hard copy of this document or storing it electronically.

Plastic licenses can also be bought from outlet stores, issuing agents, and certified issuing offices.

7/Who Is Exempt?

Before you purchase a license, make sure to read and review the following exemptions because license purchases and payments are non-refundable.

Different countries and states have different rules about fishing license exemptions. These are just examples of the most common ones that apply to Victorian fishers:

  • Children or youths under the age of 18 years old
  • Senior Citizens who are 70 years old or older
  • People who are holders of:
    • Seniors Card or interstate equivalents
    • Veterans’ Affairs Repatriation Health Card coded (TPI)
    • Veterans’ Affairs Pensioner Card
    • Commonwealth Pensioner Card coded (AGE), (AGE BLIND), (CAR), (DSP), or (DSP BLIND)
  • Members of a traditional owner group with natural resource agreements regarding a certain subject fishing area.

In Pennsylvania, a military waiver can be issued for certain active duty military personnel to exempt them from the state’s fishing license requirement. This applies to anyone who is:

  • A bona fide resident of the state
  • On active military duty
  • Stationed outside the state
  • Present in the state under authorized leave.

A fishing license is also not necessary for people below the age of 16 and for landowners and their family members who reside on the land within which the subject body of water is completely located.

This does not apply to temporary settlers, tenants not related to the owner, and servants or employees of the owner.

Individual homeowners or club members, however, are not exempted from a fishing license requirement for fishing in lakes or pond located wholly within a land owned by the club or the association.

These exemptions also come with exemptions for a Lake Erie Permit and Trout/Salmon permit.

​In Florida, there are certain detailed exemptions regarding saltwater, freshwater, and hunting licenses.

  • A Florida Resident is exempted if he or she is:
    • 65 years old or older and has a complimentary license from the tax collector office
    • Certified as being totally and permanently disabled
    • A member of the armed forces on an authorized leave for 30 days or less with a copy of orders
    • A holder of a freshwater license and is fishing for mullet in freshwater
    • Fishing from land or a structure attached to the land
    • Determined eligible for temporary cash assistance, Medicaid program, or food stamps by the Department of Children and Families.
    • Fishing in a county of residence on the homestead of your spouse, minor child, or yourself.
    • A minor child fishing on a parent’s homestead
    • Fishing non-commercially in his or her home country using only natural or live bait and lines or poles without a retrieval mechanism except in fish management areas.
  • A resident or out-of-state resident of Florida is exempted if he or she is:
    • A child under 16 years of age
    • Fishing during free fishing days
    • Accepted as a client developmental services under the Agency for Persons with Disabilities
    • A participant in a permitted military or disabled veterans event who( disabled reserve, active, or veteran military member or an immediate family member or assistant of such military member)
  • Some additional exemptions are for people who are:
    • Fishing from a licensed pier or a vessel whose operator has a valid license in his name or the vessel’s name

Other additional exemptions may also apply.

In Texas, fishing licenses are not needed for people who are:

  • Under the age of 17 years old
  • Bona fide Texas residents born before 1931
  • Fishing within a State Park of Texas
  • Mentally disabled but should be supervised and participating in a recreational fishing under a part of medically approved therapy.
  • Mentally disabled and is fishing under the direct supervision of a family member or someone permitted by the disabled person’s family to take him or her fishing provided that the supervising adult is a licensed angler.
  • Fishing on free fishing day held annually every first Saturday of June
Buzz Bait

Buzz Bait

Other states or countries may have different exemption rules and regulations.

8/What Happens If I Don't Have A License?

If you fisheries officers on patrol catch you fishing without a valid license or within an area where your license does not apply, you will be held liable and made to pay the appropriate penalties.

9/Guide To Bays And Inlets As Defined In The Fisheries Regulations 2009

This guide to fishing rules and practices are from the Victorian Fisheries Authority Website. The guide was first introduced in 2009 but has since undergone several modifications, additions, and amendments that are included here.




  • Catch limit - any limit on possessing or catching of fish including possession limits and bag limits.
  • Bag limit - the largest number of a certain fish type or species that a person can acquire within any single calendar day while on, inside, or near Victorian waters
  • Possession limit - the highest number of a certain fish type one can possess at any given time period while inside, on, or beside Victorian waters. A person is allowed to possess a multiple day’s catches as long as it can be proven that the catch limit for each particular day is observed. This does not apply to priority or protected fish species. People who fish for more than one day should separate each day’s catch into separate individual containers or bags marked with their address, name, and the date of catching the fish.
  • The carcass of a scale fish- a fish’s body that has not been mutilated or cut in any way other than to remove its scales, gills, or guts.
  • The carcass of sharks and elephant fish - the body of an elephant fish or shark that has not been mutilated or cut in any way besides for the removal of the head and gut as well as clear the gill slit located farthest along its rear.
  • Crayfish carcass - the body of spiny freshwater crayfish that has not been cut or mutilated in any way besides to remove its claws or legs.
  • Scale fish - fish species with fins except for rays, skates, and sharks.
  • Seasons- periods during which catching, possessing, or taking of fish species are either allowed or prohibited. During a “closed season”, one must not catch, attempt to catch or possess the subject fish species. The only time to do so is during the species’ “open season”. It also applies that if you accidentally catch a fish during the closed season for its species, it must be returned to the water with minimal to no harm.
  • River and Lake Boundaries - to regulate waters properly, the boundary between a river and a lake is defined as the point at which the flowing river waters meet the stagnant lake waters regardless of the lake’s water level.
  • Inland waters of freshwater are defined as:
    • Any waterway extending from the mouth to the source,
    • Any connected lagoon or inlet, and
    • Any lagoon, swamp, backwater, lake, river, dam, stream, billabong, or public water reservoir.
  • Not included as inland waters are:
    • Wingan Inlet
    • Gippsland Lakes
    • Lake Tyers (map 7)
    • Lower Lake of Mallacoota Inlet (map 5)
  • Marine waters are defined as:
    • All Victorian waters that are not considered inland waters including, but not limited to the Western Port and Port Phillip Bay.
  • Mouth - this is an imaginary line along the banks of a lake, estuary, or river towards the sea where:
    • The water meets the sea (maps 1 and 2)
    • Waters flow into a lake, inlet, or bay defined as a marine water (map 3)

Map 1. Example of a marine and inland water boundary

Map 2. Another example of a marine and inland water boundary

Map 3. Another example of a marine and inland water boundary

The location of such boundaries are different in the next examples of waterways (maps 4 to 9)

Map 4. Curdies inlet inland and marine water boundary

Map 5. Mallacoota Inlet marine and inland water boundary

Map 6. Merri River water marine and inland boundary

Map 7. Lake Tyers marine and inland water boundaries

Map 8. Barwon River marine and inland water boundary

Map 9. Yarra River marine and inland water boundary

10/Recreational Fishing License Privacy Statement

Government agencies are subject to protecting the personal information you provided by the Fisheries Act 1995 and the Privacy Act of 2000. Information like your email address, contact information.

And others shall be used solely for the purpose of managing and issuing your recreational fishing license and shall not be disclosed to any third party except when it is authorised or required by or under the order of law or during instances where research consultant services may be allowed to use your contact details under strict privacy conditions in order to advise you or seek your opinion regarding matters related to recreational fishing such as legislation, fishery management plans, and recreational programs.

11/Free/Reduced Fee & Lifetime Licenses

The following qualifications may deem you eligible for a free or reduced fee yearly fishing license in the state of New York. Similar or slightly different rules may apply in other states.

  • Active Military Duty

You get a free fishing license if you are:

    • A military member of the U.S. Reserve forces or the NYS Organized Militia
    • A resident active military member of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed outside your home state or are home on an authorized leave for 30 days or less.

You get a resident price license if you are a:

    • Nonresident military member stationed in New York for less than 30 days
  • Resident military veteran with 40% or more service-related disability
    • When you purchase one of either a $5 fishing, trapping, or hunting license, you get the other two for free
    • Senior Citizenship
    • If you are a 70-year-old or older state resident, you get the base hunting license fee of $5 and free muzzleloading and bowhunting privileges
    • Disabilities
    • Residents and citizens who are legally blind get a free fishing license
    • Full-time nonresident students
    • Nonresident students attending a State university or college full time can get fishing licenses for a resident price.
    • Lifetime licenses
    • Lifetime fishing licenses are available only to state residents.
    • This lifetime license only includes fishing for freshwater species and baitfish and excludes recreational marine fishing.
    • Resident fees for different age groups will apply.

12/License Requirements For Border Waters

When fishing in border waters, some states require you to get licenses from all parties involved while in some cases, licenses issued by either party may be recognized by any of the parties.

Either way, general fishing laws and all fishing regulations regarding catch limits, seasons, daily limits, fishing techniques, and equipment shall apply.

13/General License Information

​According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, you can get stamp endorsements and fishing and hunting licenses from thousands of locations around the state aside from TPWD parks and offices.

These include department stores, grocery stores, sporting goods stores, bait and tackle shops, gun shops, and many others. However, some commercial licenses are only available at the Austin Headquarters and Law Enforcement offices. If you’re not from Texas or do not intend to fish there, other states may issue licenses similarly.

14/How To Buy Licenses And Permits

Recreational fishing permits and licenses for both residents and nonresidents can be availed from local State websites, fishing websites, retail agents, sports goods stores or any store selling hunting and fishing equipment, at county tax collectors’ offices, and through the phone. All fees are subject to change depending on the legislation.

Before you purchase any recreational freshwater fishing permit or license, make sure you understand the residency qualifications of the state and that you are really in need of a license based on the established exemptions.

To get your license online, you may visit the official websites and fill up a form that will require you to input your contact details and other personal information. Otherwise, you may need to visit a store or county tax collector or treasurer’s office and bring identification cards, proof of residency, and other necessary supporting documents.

A hard card or a credit-card style license can be bought on top of your annual, 3-year, or 5-year license for an additional fee of at least $5. Each of these hard cards can hold more than 7 different permits or licenses. However, if you have multiple permits and licenses and want them on the same card, you will still need to pay $5 for each license or permit. Aside from the costs of the actual permit or license, the seller may also charge an additional issuance fee.

15/Frequently Asked Questions And Answers

Is a license really needed?

Unless you qualify for the specified exemptions, you need a Recreational Fishing License (RFL) to cover all forms of recreational fishing in state inland, estuarine, and marine waters. This also allows you to catch or attempt to catch any fish species using any method without being penalized or punished.

When do I need to get a saltwater license, freshwater license, or both?

Generally, if you intend to fish in purely freshwater without any saltwater species, a freshwater license may suffice, and likewise, you need a saltwater license if you want to fish in the ocean unless your situation makes you eligible for at least one of the exemptions specified.

However, for areas of estuarine waters where freshwater and saltwater along with the fish found in both combine, you might need either a saltwater license, a freshwater license, or a combination license. You also need the appropriate license for the gear you are using and your target species. Otherwise, you need the right type of license to take or keep your catch and shall be forced to immediately release any species for which you do not have the license to take.

For how long will my license be valid?

It depends on the type of license. Annual licenses expire after a year of issuance, and so on. Expiration dates are clearly stated or printed in all types of licenses. Therefore, you should renew accordingly.

Where can I know the status of my fishing licenses?

You can go to online licensing sites to see current and expired licenses.

If I am already included in the National Saltwater Angler Registry list, do I still need a license for recreational saltwater fishing in Florida?

Yes, unless you are qualified to be exempted from the state’s recreational saltwater fishing license requirements.

What if I lose my license or if it got stolen?

Replacing a lost or stolen license can be done by reprinting it online for free or at certified license vendors for a minimal fee. If you have downloaded and saved your license in your smartphone, you may use this temporarily until you get a replacement.

With a long-term fishing license purchased by phone or online, you will receive a temporary license number (TAN) that will be recognized for 30 days upon your purchase and can serve as your license from the date your license begins. For short-term licenses purchased less than a week before the license starts, you TAN can serve as your license. So, it’s important to write down, remember, or print your TAN and have it with you whenever you are fishing.

Where can I get a fishing license?

The cheapest is from your tax collector’s office. The most convenient are sports retail stores or bait-and-tackle shops that sell licenses for a low fee. If you are a credit card user, you can also purchase licenses from the internet or a toll-free phone call for an added convenience fee.

Where do the licensing fees go?

With the exception of issuance fees from agents or tax collectors, all of the money from fishing licenses goes to state conservation and wildlife resources departments.

Do all people boarding a recreational fishing boat need to be licensed?

No. Not everyone in a recreational fishing boat needs a fishing license unless they are fishing themselves. Non-anglers, however, should not help with fishing in any way, including removing the fish from hooks, attaching lures, or netting fish.

The daily bag limits of species will also apply only for persons with a current license and those who are members of the legally exempt group.

What are the benefits of a senior license certificate and where can I get one?

Senior citizens or those who are 65 years old and older or 70 years old or older, depending on the state, may only need Identification Cards to prove their residency and age and are exempted from fishing licenses.

A complimentary senior card may be acquired from your county tax collector’s office but is in some cases unnecessary. This card or proofs of age and residency should always be with resident seniors while fishing.

Can a youth fish legally? How?

Young people under 16 years old do not need a fishing license but should still abide by fishing regulations like bag limits, gear type, and size limits. They may also be asked to provide identification cards and proof of their age.


Getting a fishing license is very important and often easy and cheap. However, there are many instances when licensing becomes a little complicated depending on your situation, residency, or the waters in which you are fishing.

Make sure to purchase the necessary permits and review all the rules that apply to have a legal, safe, and enjoyable fishing experience.

Thank you for reading and please share if you like it or leave a comment in the comment box below!

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Louella Trump

Hi there, I’m Louella Trump, an adventurous young lady who loves exploring our beautiful nature by traveling and fishing. I write so as to share my passion and experiences with fellow readers who enjoy fishing and traveling as one of their recreational activities. My primary objective in sharing my experiences while traveling and fishing is to basically inspire any like-minded person out there to stop at nothing and leave no stone unturned in ensuring that they explore their passion as much as they can.

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