Getting a fishing license is step number one before embarking on your fishing adventure. But, rest assured, it’s not as daunting as it may sound. There is no boat-driving test, no written exam, no fish species quiz and no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you can bait a hook. It takes one simple purchase through your state agency and you’re ready to hit the water. Here are the basics you need to know about getting a fishing license.

Why Get a Fishing License

Getting a fishing license is the angler’s way of giving back to the state and contributing to resource protection. A percentage of license sales goes toward state conservation efforts, research, educational programs and maintaining public recreational areas. Plus, it’s illegal to fish without one. In some cases, children are exempt, but the laws vary by state so it’s important to do your research.

How To Get a Fishing License

If you are wondering how to get a fishing icense, your license can easily be purchased online through your state’s agency website. If you’re not sure where to look, visit our states page which provides details and information about all 50 states. Once ordered, you may receive an email confirmation that can be used until your license arrives by mail.

If you prefer to talk to someone in person, your local outdoor retailer can provide you a license onsite or you may call your state agency to purchase your license over the phone.

Types of Fishing Licenses

There are various types of license options you can choose from. If visiting another state, look into the non-resident options. Most states offer 1-day, annual, family and even lifetime licenses. When learning why get a fishing license, also consider how often you may want to fish. A long-term license is worth the investment if you plan to fish often.

If you already purchased one online, you’re ready to fish! Check out where to fish and boat using our interactive map. Tight lines and good fishing!

Alycia Page

Alycia Page is a writer, avid sportsman, and Southwest Florida native where her roots were planted four generations ago. Alycia works as a contributing blogger to numerous organizations promoting tourism, conservation, fishing and outdoor involvement. When not casting lines along the Gulf Coast, she can be found hunting, camping or chasing new adventures. For more outdoor inspiration, visit her personal blog at or on Instagram @tideandtale.

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