What Is The Price Of A Fishing License? (2021 Comparison Of All States)


by Robert Ceran

Fishing is one of the most popular sports in America. It’s not just a fun hobby, but it can also be an educational experience you’ll enjoy for years to come.

That being said, there are some fundamental rules for recreational fishing you need to follow – so make sure you know what these are before heading out onto the water.

The first rule to follow is making sure you get a valid fishing license. One of the most common questions I hear from people thinking about getting their feet wet with angling is: how much does a fishing license cost?

Let’s cover this topic in full detail below.

How much is a fishing license?

The cost of a fishing license is different in every US state. On average, the price of an annual license is $24.41 for residents, and $56.65 for non-residents. If you want to get the details for your state specifically, check the table below, which covers all the states.

Since the exact figures vary depending on the state you want to fish in, we compiled a list of all fifty states in the table below.

Price of fishing license in all 50 states

StatePrice of Resident Fishing License (Annual)Price of Non-Resident Fishing License (Annual)
Alabama$13.55 (Freshwater)
$23.80 (Saltwater)
$52.00 (Freshwater)
$50.95 (Saltwater)
$20.50 (with trout permit)
$70 (with trout permit)
Connecticut$28 (Freshwater)
$32 (All waters)
$55 (Freshwater)
$63 (All waters)
Florida$17 (Freshwater)
$17 (Saltwater)
$32.50 (All waters)
$47 (Freshwater)
$47 (Saltwater)
Hawaii$6 (freshwater)
Free (saltwater)
$26 (freshwater)
Free (saltwater)
Louisiana$9.50 (Freshwater)
$22.50 (All waters)
$60 (Freshwater)
$90 (All waters)
Maryland$20.50 (Freshwater)
$25.50 (With trout stamp)
$15 (Saltwater)
$30.50 (Freshwater)
$40.50 (With trout stamp)
$22.50 (Saltwater)
Massachusetts$27.50 (Freshwater)
$10 (Saltwater)
$37.50 (Freshwater)
$10 (Saltwater)
Mississippi$12.29 (Freshwater)
$12.29 (Saltwater)
$64.29 (Freshwater)
$34.29 (Saltwater)
$22 (With trout stamp)
$59 (With trout stamp)
New Hampshire$45 (Freshwater)
$11 (Saltwater)
$63 (Freshwater)
$11 (Saltwater)
New Jersey$22.50
$33 (With trout stamp)
$54 (With trout stamp)
New Mexico$25$56
New York$25$50
North Carolina$25 (Freshwater)
$16 (Saltwater)
$41 (All waters)
$45 (Freshwater)
$32 (Saltwater)
North Dakota$18$48
$32.94 (With trout stamp)
$62.94 (With trout stamp)
Rhode Island$18
$23.50 (With trout stamp)
$40.50 (With trout stamp)
South Carolina$10 (Freshwater)
$10 (Saltwater)
$35 (Freshwater)
$35 (Saltwater)
South Dakota$28$67
$56 (With trout stamp)
$99 (With trout stamp)
Texas$30 (Freshwater)
$35 (Saltwater)
$40 (All waters)
$58 (Freshwater)
$63 (Saltwater)
$68 (All waters)
Virginia$23 (Freshwater)
$17.50 (Saltwater)
$39.50 (All waters)
$47 (Freshwater)
$25 (Saltwater)
$71 (All waters)
Washington$29.50 (Freshwater)
$30.05 (Saltwater)
$55.35 (All waters)
$84.50 (Freshwater)
$59.75 (Saltwater)
$124.65 (All waters)
West Virginia$19
$29 (With trout stamp)
$53 (With trout stamp)
$30 (With trout stamp)
$60 (With trout stamp)

Table 1

Table 1 above lists the cost of annual fishing licenses for all fifty states of the USA, and compares them for both residents and non-residents.

Where applicable, we also listed the cost for both freshwater and saltwater licenses. Also, in some states you need a trout permit if you want to fish for trout, and in those cases we listed the total cost of a license with or without a trout stamp.

What is the best place to buy a fishing license?

The best place to buy a fishing license is the local Fish & Wildlife Department of your state. You can visit their website, where you’ll find detailed information about the different licenses available, and what each of them costs. The great thing about this is that their website usually allows you to order online, and you’ll get the license delivered by mail. To get more information on this, check out our article Can you buy a fishing license online?

But if you’re in a rush, or really want to get the license in person, another good option is to go to the sporting department of your local Walmart or Cabela’s where you can get a fishing license at the same price as you would at the Fish & Wildlife authority of your state. Finally, you can also buy a fishing license in many tackle shops that are authorized vendors.

How much is a fishing license at Walmart?

Walmart charges a processing fee of 50 cents, which is added to the regular price of a state fishing license. So the cost of a fishing license at Walmart is almost the same as what you would pay at the Fish & Wildlife department of your state, with a 50 cent processing fee added to it. If you want to know how much you need to pay for a license at the Walmart in your local area, refer to table 1 above, which covers all 50 states, and simply add the $0.50 extra to come up with the total cost.

An important thing to note here is that the price you’ll pay is determined by the state the Walmart store is located in. For example, if you want to buy your fishing license in Florida, the price you’ll pay at any Florida Walmart is the same as set by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (plus the $0.50 processing fee).

In most cases, Walmart also provides a small booklet that covers the pricing for the different types of licenses you can choose from (such as 1-day, 7-day, annual, etc.). This information is identical to what you can find on the website of your local Fish & Game department.

You might be wondering, why does Walmart sell licenses if they don’t really make any profit from it? Well, once you’re inside their store, you’ll probably end up buying additional fishing tackle and other items that you might need for your fishing trip, so it makes good business sense for them to do this. They also get a lot of positive publicity among anglers by providing this service.

Can you get a lifetime fishing license?

It’s possible to get a lifetime fishing license in some states, but not in others, since each has its unique set of rules on recreational fishing. Currently it’s possible to get a lifetime license in 32 states (see below).

What states have a lifetime fishing license?

The following 32 states have a lifetime fishing license in one form or another:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.

It’s important to note that the details of who is eligible for a lifetime fishing license (as well as the pricing of the license), can vary widely between the states.

The majority of states only offer a lifetime license to their residents (though some let you keep it, if you move away at a later date). Currently only 4 states (Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Virginia) offer a lifetime license to non-residents.

How much does a lifetime fishing license cost?

StatePrice of lifetime fishing license
AlabamaAge 0-2 (freshwater): $178.75
Age 2-11 (freshwater): $238.10
Age 12-49 (freshwater): $297.45
Age 50+ (freshwater): $178.75

Age 0-2 (saltwater): $297.45
Age 2-11 (saltwater): $356.75
Age 12-49 (saltwater): $416.05
Age 50+ (saltwater): $297.45

Age 0-2 (all waters): $475.40
Age 2-11 (all waters): $593.95
Age 12-49 (all waters): $712.60
Age 50+ (all waters): $475.40
ArizonaAge 0-13: $629
Age 14-29: $666
Age 30-44: $592
Age 45-61: $555
Age 62+: $296
Arkansas$1000 (hunting and fishing license combo)
CaliforniaAge 0-9: $533.25
Age 10-39: $871.25
Age 40-61: $785
Age 62+: $533.25
Colorado$9.85 (only available to low-income senior citizens)
FloridaAge 0-4 (freshwater): $126.50
Age 5-12 (freshwater): $226.50
Age 13+ (freshwater): $301.50

Age 0-4 (saltwater): $126.50
Age 5-12 (saltwater): $226.50
Age 13+ (saltwater): $301.50

Age 0-4 (all waters): $401.50
Age 5-12 (all waters): $701.50
Age 13+ (all waters): $1,001.50
GeorgiaAge 0-1 (fishing & hunting): $500
Age 2-15 (fishing & hunting): $600
Age 16-49 (fishing & hunting): $750
Age 50-59 (fishing & hunting): $375
Age 60-64 (fishing & hunting): $315
Age 65+ (fishing & hunting): $70
IdahoAge 0-1: $601.75
Age 2-50: $841.75
Age 51+: $481.75
Indiana$17 (only available to people over 64)
Iowa$61.50 (only available to people over 65)
$42.50 (only available to people over 64)
LouisianaAge 5-13: $200
Age 14+: $300
MaineAge 0-5: $150
Age 6-15: $300
Age 65+: $50

Non-resident age 0-5: $450
Non-resident age 6-15: $900
MinnesotaAge 0-3: $344
Age 4-15: $469
Age 16-50: $574
Age 51+: $379
MississippiAge 0-12: $500
Age 13+: $1000

Non-resident: $1500
MissouriAge 0-15: $275
Age 16-29: $400
Age 30-39: $350
Age 40-59: $300
Age 60-64: $35
Age 65+: FREE
NebraskaAge 0-15: $616
Age 16-45: $710
Age 46+: $616
New HampshireStarts at $1,246.64 at the age of 16, and goes down by about $13 for every year of age after that
New YorkAge 0-69: $460
Age 70+: $65
North CarolinaAge 0 (saltwater): $106
Age 1-11 (saltwater): $159
Age 12-64 (saltwater): $265
Age 65+ (saltwater): $16

Age 12-64 (freshwater): $265
Age 65+ (freshwater): $16

All waters: $477 (same for all ages)
OhioAge 0-15: $430.56
Age 16-64: $468
Age 65+: $84.24
Pennsylvania$51.97 (only available to seniors over 65)
Rhode IslandFREE (only available to seniors over 64)
South Carolina$9 (only available to seniors over 64)
TennesseeAge 0-2 (fishing & hunting): $200
Age 3-6 (fishing & hunting): $659
Age 7-12 (fishing & hunting): $988
Age 13-50 (fishing & hunting): $1,976
Age 51-64 (fishing & hunting): $1,153
Age 65+ (fishing & hunting): $329
VirginiaAge 12-44 (freshwater): $265
Age 45-50 (freshwater): $215
Age 51-55 (freshwater): $165
Age 56-60 (freshwater): $115
Age 61-64 (freshwater): $65
Age 65+ (freshwater): $25

Age 12-44 (saltwater): $276
Age 45-50 (saltwater): $132
Age 51-55 (saltwater): $99
Age 56-60 (saltwater): $66
Age 61-64 (saltwater): $35
Age 65+ (saltwater): $5
West Virginia$552
$782 (with trout permit)
$496.50 (with conservation stamp)

Table 2

Table 2 above lists the price of a lifetime fishing license for all 35 states that currently offer this type of license.

As you can see, the price of a lifetime license is very different between states. Also, keep in mind that eligibility also varies a lot. In some states, only seniors can get a lifetime fishing license, while in others, people of any age are eligible.

How much is a one day fishing license?

StatePrice of 1-day resident fishing licensePrice of 1-day non-resident fishing license
Arizona$15 (hunting and fishing combo)$20 (hunting and fishing combo)
LouisianaN/A$5 (Freshwater)
$17 (Saltwater)
New Hampshire$10$15
New Mexico$12$12
New York$5$10
South Dakota$8$16
West VirginiaN/A$3
$18 (with trout stamp)

Table 3

Table 3 above lists all 35 states that currently offer a 1-day fishing license. 

The cost of 1-day fishing licenses ranges from $3 (in West Virginia) to $26.97 (in Pennsylvania), and on average is $7 for residents and $14 for non-residents. In some cases, a one day license is only offered to residents, and in others it is only offered to non-residents. If you want to go on a short fishing trip, but can’t get a one-day license in your state, go for a 2-day or 3-day license instead.

How much is a non resident fishing license?

The cost of non-resident fishing licenses currently ranges from $30.50 in Maryland to $130.42 in California (with the national average at $56.65). For more detailed information on your state, refer to table 1 above. 

How much is a freshwater fishing license?

The cost of a freshwater fishing license depends on the state you’re in, and also differs for residents and non-residents. It ranges from $6 for an annual license (for residents in Hawaii) to $130 (for non-residents in California). On average, the annual cost is $24.41 for residents, and $56.65 for non residents. For more detailed information on a specific state, refer to table 1 above. 

How much is a saltwater fishing license?

The cost of saltwater fishing licenses vary by state, and also depending on whether you’re a resident or not. On average, the annual cost for a saltwater license is $16.97 for residents, and $31.27 for non residents. For more detailed information on a specific state, refer to table 1 above. 

Can you get a discounted fishing license?

Yes, there are several ways to get a discounted fishing license, though it’s important to note that the details can be different between states, so we suggest that you look up the website of your local Fish & Game Department to see what fishing license discounts are available in your state specifically.

In general, the following people can get a discount fishing license in some states:

  • Veterans
  • Seniors
  • People with disabilities
  • Actively deployed military personnel
  • Students
  • Married couples

In addition, many states also offer combination licenses that are cheaper than each license purchased individually. For example, Texas, Virginia, and Washington offer saltwater/freshwater license combos that are cheaper than buying each license separately. Similarly, many states also offer combos that include both hunting and fishing licenses, which provides another opportunity to get a discount.

Finally, most states also offer multi-year licenses that are cheaper than getting your license renewed every year. Again, the details of this can differ between states, so you’ll need to check with your local state authorities to find out what license discounts are available to you. 

What state has the most expensive fishing license?

California has the most expensive fishing license in the US, charging $48.34 for an annual resident license, and $130.42 for an annual non-resident license. For the resident license, this is 98% above the national average of all states, and for the non-resident license, it is 130% higher than the national average. 

Is there a national fishing license?

Currently there is no national fishing license that covers the whole USA. So if you want to fish in multiple states, you’ll have to get a state license for each of them individually. 

There is a petition underway aiming to get enough signatures to pressure the government to introduce a national US fishing license that would cover all states, but so far there’s nothing to indicate that this will happen in the foreseeable future.

Can you get a multi state fishing license?

While you can’t get an actual multi state fishing license, some states have reciprocity agreements with each other, which means you’ll be able to fish in the territorial waters of several different states if you have a fishing license from one of them.

For example, Massachusetts allows anglers with a saltwater fishing license from Connecticut, Rhode Island, or New Hampshire to fish in its coastal waters, and there are several other cases of reciprocity like this. For more details, check out this guide from US Harbors.

This is especially important if you plan to fish in the coastal waters of New England, where many states border each other. On a fishing trip like that, you may end up angling in the waters of three or four different states on the same day.

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