Alabama Fishing License (2023): Cost, How To Buy & Who Needs One?

Alabama offers some great freshwater and saltwater fishing, with the state famous for big largemouth bass in particular. Both resident and visiting anglers require licenses for fishing in the ocean …

Alabama offers some great freshwater and saltwater fishing, with the state famous for big largemouth bass in particular.

Both resident and visiting anglers require licenses for fishing in the ocean and inland waters.

In this post, we’ve summarized the costs for various categories of fishing licenses for both resident anglers and non-resident anglers.

Fishing in Alabama

Readers can scroll down to see the current license, but we first wanted to list a few of the angling highlights Alabama has to offer

Who Needs a Fishing License in Alabama?

Residents aged 16 years and over and all non-residents need a fishing license to fish in salt and fresh waters in Alabama, with some exemptions (see below).

See here for info on how old you can be until you need a fishing license in other states.

Who Is Exempt From Needing a Fishing License in Alabama?

  • Residents 65 and older with valid proof of residence and age
  • Resident landowners and their immediate family
  • Residents who are home on military leave with ID and paperwork in their possession
  • Residents fishing from the bank in their county of residence with a hook and line (live bait only)
  • Children up to and including age 15

How Much Does a Fishing License Cost in Alabama?

We’ve put together the key information on license types and costs here. Note also that all licenses run through to August 31, when they have to be renewed, regardless of the date that they were purchased.

Freshwater Fishing License

Freshwater licenses in Alabama and most states are divided into resident and non-resident or foreign licenses. (‘Foreign’ just means out of state – i.e. that the purchaser lives in another state). We’ve summarized the main categories of freshwater fishing licenses in Alabama here below and listed the prices listed by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Residency, for the purposes of issuing fishing licenses, is determined by the address listed on the buyer’s driver’s license, so if you have a valid Alabama driver’s license, you will qualify for the resident rates, along with any applicable discounts or exemptions.

Resident Licences

These are the current prices for a resident fishing license in Alabama.

Fishing License TypeAnnualDailyLifetimeDisabledVeterans (disabled)Senior
Cost (resident)$14.05$6.45varies$3$3.15Exempt
Source: http://www.outdooralabama.com/freshwater-fishing-licenses/fw-rec-fishing-licenses-resident

Non-Resident (Foreign) Licenses

Non-resident licenses are typically more expensive than resident licenses, and some of the discounts and exemptions that apply to veterans, the disabled, and seniors don’t usually apply to non-resident license holders.

Fishing License TypeAnnualDailyFamily 3-day trip
Cost (non resident)$54.80 (Louisiana residents $62.20 and Mississippi residents $66.49)$30.70 (Florida residents $32.20 and Georgia residents $33.20)$30.70 (Florida residents $32.20 and Georgia residents $33.20)
Source: https://www.outdooralabama.com/freshwater-fishing-lic/fw-fish–nr

Saltwater Fishing Licenses

A saltwater fishing license is required for all persons fishing or possessing fish in saltwater areas of Alabama. The same exemptions apply to freshwater licenses. Prices are below. Source: Outdoor Alabama, the website of the Alabama Department of Natural Resources.

Resident Fishing Licences

Saltwater resident fishing license pricing varies according to the type of license and duration. The prices and relevant discounted licenses are set out below.

Fishing License TypeAnnualTripPierSpear fishingDisabledDisabled veteransSenior
Cost (resident)$25$10.40$6.50$6$3.05$3.15Exempt
Source: https://www.outdooralabama.com/licenses/saltwater-recreational-licenses

Non Resident (foreign) Fishing Licenses

As for freshwater fishing licenses in Alabama, non-residents do pay higher prices than Alabama resident anglers. Prices are listed below. The discounts for disabled military veterans, the disabled, and seniors don’t apply to non-resident licenses.

Fishing License TypeAnnualTripPierSpear fishing
Cost (resident)$53.70
($48.10 for Florida residents and $91.10 for Louisiana residents)
$10.40$6.50$6
Source: https://www.outdooralabama.com/licenses/saltwater-recreational-licenses

What Fishing License Discounts Apply in Alabama?

The relevant discounts for resident fishing license holders are listed in the tables above, but essentially, they apply to disabled people, disabled veterans, and seniors (exempt).

Serving members of the armed forces on active duty can fish for free when they are home on leave.

See also:

Where Can I Buy an Alabama Fishing Licence?

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

You can purchase an Alabama fishing license at the department’s district offices in Tanner or Jacksonville.

Online

You can buy a license from the state’s Outdoor Alabama site: https://www.outdooralabama.com/license-information

Walmart and Other Retail Outlets

There are more than 300 places where you can buy an Alabama fishing license in person, including Walmart stores, sporting retailers, hardware and outdoor goods stores, and various government offices such as your local probate office.

Here is a full list of where you can buy an Alabama fishing license in person.

What Happens to Alabama Fishing License Fees?

The fees from all fishing licenses sold in Alabama go into enhancing and protecting the natural environment in the state, as the department confirms: 

“Except for the issuance fees and Internet or telephone convenience fees, 100% of your license fee goes to management of, protection of, and education about Alabama’s natural resources.” 

What Is the Alabama Wildlife Heritage License?

Alabama also offers a Wildlife Heritage License that costs $11.70 a year, or $240.90 annually, and allows for freshwater fishing in various waterways administered by the department. The license allows the state to gain matching federal funds at the rate of $3 for each dollar in license fees, so it is a way that people can amplify their financial support for wildlife conservation.

Does Alabama Have Reciprocal License Arrangements With Neighboring States?

Yes, in some waters that span the borders of neighboring states Mississippi (see here for info on Mississippi fishing licenses) and Tennessee, licenses from these states are honored. Here is a map of those waters: https://www.outdooralabama.com/freshwater-fishing-licenses/ala-miss-tenn-reciprocal-fishing-license-areas

Does Alabama offer Lifetime Fishing Licenses?

Yes, it is possible to purchase a lifetime license. Costs vary according to your age. Check here for more details.

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AUTHOR
Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.