How Old Do You Have To Be To Need A Fishing License?

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In the hustle-bustle of everyday busy lives, people try to find a peaceful escape for relaxation. Fishing is considered one of the best getaways from busy schedules to spend some time with family and friends. Often people do wonder, is fishing free? Or do they need a license?

Fishing is a great hobby to relax your mind and get some bonus seafood for your stomach. But if you want to go angling, you must have a fishing license to fish in the state waters. Everyone loves fishing, be it small children or the elderly; however, you must know how old do you have to be to get a fishing license. Even if you want to go fishing and don’t know the essentials, you can learn how to start fishing very easily.

We have built a simple guide for the beginners on how old do you have to be to need a fishing license, so you don’t end up in unwanted situations.

Minimum Age Limit

Each state in the USA has a different minimum age limit that a person must have to get a fishing license. The age requirement differs from state to state, whereas in Hawaii, you don’t need to have a fishing license if you are angling for fun.

We have listed all the states with their minimum age requirement that a person must have to get a fishing license apart from commercial uses.

States Minimum Age Required for Fishing License
Arizona 10



New Mexico



California 13







West Virginia




















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota




Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota









Hawaii No minimum age for non-commercial fishing

Besides knowing how old you have to be to need a fishing license, you must keep all the other affecting factors in mind. Few things are a must-know before acquiring a fishing license.

Things You Must Know About Fishing License

1. Maximum Age

Few states practice a maximum age requirement for fishing. Individuals older than 65 do not need a fishing license in some states. Whereas some states don’t have a max-age limit, you must have a fishing license if you have crossed the minimum age requirement of the particular state.

2. Exemptions

The states have few exemptions for the license owners that apply anyways besides your age. A person would be exempted to need a license, in case of –

  • Legally blind resident
  • Resident born before a certain date (Indiana exempts the residents born before April 1, 1943, to need a fishing license)
  • Disabled as defined by the state regulations
  • Full-time military service engagement
  • Any undergoing treatment in the state rehabilitation
  • House income lower than the federal poverty guidelines

3. Public Parks & Private Properties

You don’t need a fishing license to fish on private property or public state parks. If you are the owner of the property, then you are free to go angling. The best fishing hooks, along with the best fishing rod and reel, will enhance your overall experience.

However, if you want to fish on some other person’s property, you will need the permission of the owner to legally fish in their private waters.

4. Underage Fishing Limitations

The underage individuals don’t require a fishing license, but some limitations might be imposed on them, such as

  • Limitation on the species of the fish that can be caught
  • Fishing techniques limitations
  • Few areas are not open for an underage individual for fishing
  • Few states require training or certification before fishing
  • Adult supervision is mandatory in some states

5. The Validity of a Fishing License

The fishing licenses expire after a certain period. The validity of your license depends on its validity type. They are of two types, Annual licenses, and Multi-year licenses.

The annual licenses are valid from 1st December of the year preceding the year embossed on the license ID. For example, an annual fishing license for 2021 allows you to fish from 1st December 2019.

Whereas the multi-year licenses are for the long term, specifically for the people who love fishing more often and don’t want to waste any time getting a license each year. The validity of a multi-year fishing license depends on purchased validity. For example, if you buy a 6-year license on 1st January 2019, ‘24’ will be printed on your license. This means the license is valid till 31st December 2024.

6. Youth vs. Senior Fishing Licenses

The fishing licenses for youth differ in certain ways from senior licenses. The senior licenses are often available at a discounted price. The limitations and the benefits of both the licenses depend on the state guidelines for where you have to fish.

Resident and Non-Resident Licenses

Several states have a different set of rules for commercial and personal fishing for the residents and non-residents. Each state rule differs from the other for the non-residents.

The non-residents need to get a fishing license in a much younger age to fish in the state waters, whereas few states treat the residents and non-residents equally.

The non-residents of the state also face a few limitations, along with a higher license fee. You must go through the state fishing limitations and requirements for your own safety. Also, if you have a resident fishing license of one state, the same license won’t be useful in another. You will need to get a non-resident license of the other state to go angling.


Fishing is one of the great ways to relax your mind and stay apart from the worldly-worries for a few hours. Even if you need a license to fish, it is worth the cost and time. However, you must know how old you have to be to get a fishing license.

We hope that this guide helps you to learn how old do you have to be to need a fishing license and the things you must know about a fishing license.

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Donald Patt

Donald Platt, our founder, is a fishing enthusiast who has almost 10 years of experience in fly fishing. While Donald works hard to put up the most informative articles, he still keeps his Sundays free for a quick fishing trip.

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