Last year I discovered the joy of getting a fishing license online. Until 2020, many states did not provide access online to get your fishing license. But after a nasty experience in a local store (twice!!!), while getting my license, I discovered it was really easy to just go on the internet instead to get my annual license. I fish in several different states per year, so this was a practical choice. And, a fishing license makes a great fishing gift.
This post has all of the links to get your fishing license or stamp online in every state. These links are also good for buying hunting licenses online by state. The links also contain information on local and state regulations, and where to purchase a license in person. Be sure to pin or save this post for when you need it.
It might be easier for some to go to their closest sporting good store, Fish and Game office, or local tackle shop (where available). Check your local wildlife service for a license agent near you.
Why Do I Need a Fishing License?
Every state requires a valid fishing license. It gives you permission to fish. And, it funds conservation programs, just like duck stamps. Fishing licenses also fund habitat protection, habitat restoration, and studies. Many states also designate funds from fishing licenses towards education programs for youth and the public. Fishing without a valid license can result in fines, getting your fishing privileges revoked, and even jail time. Each year requires a new fishing license, which is purchased annually.
Check The Licensing Rules for Each State
Every state has different fishing laws, so be sure to check the license guidelines. Most children do not require a license if accompanied by an adult. There are also several free fishing days. Fishing licenses are not transferable to other states. Special endorsements might be required in certain areas or at certain times of the year. Some states will include your fishing license in general conservation licenses so you may not need a separate license for fishing.
If you need a non-resident license, make sure that is the one you get. Youth licenses may or may not be required and can be free. The annual fishing license term varies from state to state. In Montana, a license is valid from April 1st through March 31st. A license year may not necessarily be for a calendar year. Short-term licenses may be available. Some states also have lifetime licenses.
What is the Cost of a Fishing License Online?
License fees vary from state to state. t is usually the same price online as it is to purchase in person. Some states may require a special processing fee. Check the state regulations regarding veterans, active duty members of the armed forces, indigenous people, and seniors who may not be required to pay a fee. Purchasing an annual license can be more affordable if you are purchasing a license for consecutive days.
What do I Need for Online License Purchases?
You will be required to provide your personal information when purchasing an online fishing license. When you purchase your first license online as a new customer, you’ll have to provide detailed information and create a customer account. However, it saves your information for the next time your purchase a license. The following is usually needed to get your fishing license online for the first time (some states vary):
- Valid driver’s license/ picture ID
- Credit card
- Social Security Number
- Proof of residency
- Date of birth
Download your license to your phone or print it. I like having a screen shop and a hard copy. I keep my hard copy in a fishing license holder clipped inside my bag or to my vest. However, some states mandate a hard copy so make sure you check the policies because every state is different.
Wherever you go fishing, keep a fishing log book of where you go. You can also keep your old fishing licenses in there, and write down where and how you purchased your license. That is how I keep track of my logins for buying my license online for each state. I also use onX hunt or onX off-road to locate fishing access points in other states.
Don’t forget to have fun! Fishing can be so calming, but also creates good memories. Whether it’s fly fishing, bobber fishing, or spinner fishing, get out there. Fish responsibly and have a good time.