This article provides a table with the up-to-date cost of a fishing licenses in all US states and links allowing you to purchase a license online in each state.
(There is no single national fishing license as recreational fishing in waterways is regulated by the states).
We all also provide information here on choosing what type of fishing license you need in each state and where you can buy one.
How much is a fishing license – all states’ prices in one table with online purchase links
Every state sets its own price for fishing licenses and the price of a fishing license varies depending on the duration of license required and whether or not you are a resident of that state.
The actual price of an annual fishing license in each state for residents and non residents is tabulated below. The median and average costs of a fishing license at the bottom of the table. As you can see, based off the average price, you can expect to pay $25 for an annual fishing license if you are a resident and $60 for an out-of-state fishing license.
|State (click to purchase)||Resident license fees|
|Non resident license fees|
|Arkansas||$22.50 with trout stamp||$70.00 with trout stamp|
|Louisiana ||$9.50 (Freshwater)|
|New Hampshire||$45.00 (Freshwater)|
|New Jersey||$33.00 with trout stamp||$54.00 with trout stamp|
|North Carolina||$25.00 (Freshwater)|
|Pennsylvania||$32.94 with trout stamp||$62.94 with trout stamp|
|Rhode Island||$23.50 with trout stamp||$40.50 with trout stamp|
|South Carolina ||$10.00 (Freshwater)|
|Tennessee||$56.00 with trout stamp||$50.00 ($99 with trout stamp)|
|West Virginia||$29.00 with trout stamp||$53.00 with trout stamp|
|Wisconsin||$30.00 with trout stamp||$60.00 with trout stamp|
Fishing license FAQs:
What are the different types of license?
All states have a freshwater fishing license. Some states also require a saltwater fishing license. It is worth noting that in some cases, the saltwater fishing license is only required for certain waterways.
In a few cases, states offer a combination fishing licenses that allows you to do both freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing in that state.
The annual fishing license is the most common type sold because it is the best value for money, particularly if you are resident in the state.
However you can buy temporary fishing licenses too:
One day licenses
Multi-day licenses (most commonly 3-day, 5-day and 10-day licenses)
Multi-day fishing licenses are valid for consecutive days starting on a date specified at the time of purchase. You can get a 1 day or multi-day fishing license but at some point it is cheaper to just buy the annual fishing license.
Temporary licenses are a great way for non-resident angler to fish while on vacation in other states. Temporary licenses usually cost less than $30 for non-resident anglers and less than $20 for residents of the state.
Can you buy a fishing license online?
The only place to buy licenses online are the government website in the state you are fishing in – usually the fish and wildlife department’s site site. We’ve included the right link to the relevant department in each state in our table above. You can use these links to buy a fishing license if you are a resident or a non resident.
There have been warnings of several illegitimate websites that pretend to sell licenses to unsuspecting anglers. Most of these sites get shut down quickly but they can pop up from time to time.
At what age do you need to buy a license?
The legal age at which you have to purchase a fishing license varies between 12 and 16 depending on what state you are in. Youth licenses are usually significantly cheaper to help encourage children to fish. Kids under 12 can fish free in most states – but just check local regulations just to be sure.
What other groups of people don’t need a license?
Some states have exemptions from license fees for veterans, the disabled and people aged 65 and over.
People on active service in the US armed forces don’t need a fishing license in some states.
Some states don’t require a license when you fish for species perceived as undesirable such as common carp.
Additional license fees you may see
Some states require extra “endorsement” permits for specific species of fish like trout, salmon and paddlefish. These are listed in the table above and usually cost around $5 to $15 (on top of the normal license fees) depending on the state.
Does Walmart sell fishing licenses?
Yes, Walmart sells fishing licenses at thousands of stores around the the US. As we detail in this article on buying a fishing license at Walmart, you can purchase it from the team at the hunting and fishing department. Walmart applies a small surcharge to the price charged by the local fish and wildlife department, but it is minimal. The guys at Walmart will also give you a copy of the latest fishing regulations for the area you plan to fish.
Why do you need a license to fish?
Fishing licenses help fund restocking programs, stream and bank rehabilitation efforts, fisheries enforcement and many other initiatives that benefit recreational anglers. $20 or $30 in license fees a year is a small price to pay for the ongoing sustainability of recreational fishing in your area.
Do you need a fishing license for catch and release?
Yes, you do. As a general principle, catch and release fishing is encouraged in areas where the fish species you are catching is threatened. Remember to keep them wet if you are fishing catch and release.
Do you need a fishing license to fish on private property?
In most states, you can fish on a private pond without a fishing license as long as the lake or pond does not have any inlets or outlets and is privately stocked with fish.
We hope this guide has helped you find out how much a license costs in your state (or the stat you are planning to fish) and provided you with the best type of license to purchase along with some ideas on how and where to get it.