New York Fishing License (2024): Cost, Types & How to Buy

Find out how much a New York fishing license costs in %currentyear%, who needs one, where you can buy one and more in this guide to fishing licences.

Many anglers think of stripers when you mention fishing in New York.

But New York has great fly fishing for trout, excellent smallmouth bass fishing, and more, as we explain below.

It is important to make sure you have a valid fishing license to make sure you are fully legal when fishing in New York.

This article breaks down the different types of licenses for visiting and resident anglers, how much they cost, and where to buy licenses.

Fishing in New York

Striped bass image credit facebook
Striped bass fishing is highly regarded in New York

New York has more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, and hundreds of miles of coastline.

The striped bass fishing on the Hudson is highly regarded, as are the trout streams of the Catskills Mountains.

You can go fishing for smallmouth bass on Lake Erie, brook trout in the Adirondacks  and even Pacific salmon on Lake Ontario.

How Much is a New York Fishing License?

For resident anglers, an annual New York fishing license costs $25. For non resident anglers, an annual New York fishing license costs $50.

There are a range of different types of licenses beyond that with varying pricing, which we have summarized in the tables below.

Who Needs a Fishing License in New York?

In New York, anyone who is 16 years of age or older needs a fishing license to fish in the state’s freshwater bodies, including rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. This applies to both residents and non-residents.

Here is the license fees page:

New York Fishing License Age

Children can fish in New York state without needing a fishing license up until age 16. After they turn 16 a fishing license is required. This is about average for all states.

Who Is Exempt From Needing a Fishing License in New York?

You don’t need a New York State fishing license if you are:

  • A resident landowner primarily engaged in farming (including lessees and members of their immediate families) when fishing on farm lands they are occupying and cultivating.
  • Anyone holding farm fish pond licenses and members of their immediate families, when fishing waters that are covered by the license.
  • A patient residing at a qualifying U.S. Veterans Administration hospital or facility in New York State.
  • Fishing on licensed fishing preserves.
  • Are fishing on one of New York’s free fishing days.
  • A Native American living and fishing on reservation land.
  • Fishing at a free learn to fish clinic.

See also:

New York State Fishing License Cost and Types

There are three types of fishing licenses in New York: the General Fishing License, Free/Reduced Fee Licenses, and Lifetime Licenses.

General Fishing Licenses grant individuals the ability to fish in freshwaters, excluding certain designated areas, for a specific duration with different pricing options based on residency and age.

Free/Reduced Fee Licenses are available to specific groups, such as military members, disabled veterans, Native American Indians, and individuals with developmental disabilities, allowing them to fish in designated areas without incurring any or reduced fees.

Lifetime Licenses offer avid anglers the opportunity to enjoy fishing in New York’s freshwaters for their entire lives by paying a one-time fee, with options available for both residents and non-residents, along with additional provisions for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Resident Fishing Licenses

New York state residents are eligible to obtain resident fishing licenses.

To qualify for a resident New York state fishing license, an individual must have a valid New York State driver’s license or non-driver ID card issued by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with a New York State address.

Proof of residency may be required. Resident licenses are available for both inland and all waters (including saltwater) fishing.

License TypePrice
Annual Fishing License (ages 16-69)$25
Annual Fishing License (ages 70+)$5
7-day Fishing License$12
1-day Fishing License$5

Non Resident Fishing Licenses

Non-residents, including out-of-state visitors and foreign individuals, can purchase non-resident fishing licenses. These licenses are available for both inland and all waters fishing.

License TypePrice
Annual Fishing License (ages 16-69)$50
Annual Fishing License (ages 70+)$50
7-day Fishing License$28
1-day Fishing License$10

Who Can Purchase Discounted New York Fishing Licenses?

Certain individuals are eligible for discounted fishing licenses in New York. These include:

  • Disabled veterans with a 40% or greater service-connected disability.
  • Active-duty military personnel stationed in New York but residents of states without reciprocal fishing license agreements.
  • Non-resident student attending a New York State college or university full-time.
  • Residents who are legally blind.
  • Residents aged 70 or older.
License TypePrice
Military/disabled Fishing License$5
Senior citizen (70 years or older)$5
Legally blindFree
Non-resident student attending a New York State college or university full-timeResident prices

Special Fishing Licenses in New York

New York offers various special fishing licenses, including:

  • Combination licenses: These licenses allow fishing as well as hunting or trapping within applicable seasons and regulations.
  • Heritage licenses: These licenses provide fishing privileges for the lifetime of the license holder and can be purchased by individuals who are at least 70 years old and have been residents of New York for the past five consecutive years.

Where Can I Buy a New York Fishing Licence?

To purchase a New York fishing license, you can choose from the following options:

NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Fishing licenses can be obtained in person from Department of Environmental Conservation offices located throughout the state. For a list of office locations, you can visit the NYS DEC website.


The easiest and most convenient way to purchase a New York fishing license is online. The NYS DEC provides an online portal where you can purchase licenses securely and quickly. Visit the NYS DEC website and follow the instructions to complete your purchase.

By Phone

you can call 1-866-933-2257 and place your order over the phone. If you order by phone, you’ll receive a confirmation code that will act as your license until it arrives in the mail.

Walmart and other Retail Outlets

New York fishing licenses are available at various retail outlets including Walmart, hardware stores, and sports stores. A comprehensive list of license retailers can be found on the NYS DEC website to find a nearby retailer.

What Happens With New York Fishing License Fees?

The fees collected from fishing licenses in New York are used to support the conservation and management of the state’s fisheries resources. These funds are vital for stocking fish, improving habitat, conducting research, and enforcing fishing regulations. 

By purchasing a fishing license, anglers contribute directly to the preservation and enhancement of New York’s fishing opportunities.

Does New York Have Reciprocal License Arrangements With Neighboring States?

New York State image

Yes, New York has reciprocal fishing license agreements with several neighboring states. These agreements allow residents of one state to fish in the waters of another state without obtaining an additional fishing license.

Currently, New York has reciprocal agreements with Connecticut (see here for Connecticut fishing license info), Massachusetts (see here for Massachusetts fishing license info), New Jersey (see here for New Jersey fishing license info), Pennsylvania (see here for Pennsylvania fishing license info), and Vermont. 

It is important to familiarize yourself with the specific terms and conditions of each reciprocal agreement before fishing in another state.

See also: How Much is a Fishing License in 50 States

Does New York Offer Lifetime Fishing Licenses?

Yes, New York offers a lifetime fishing license for residents, provided they meet specific criteria. The lifetime license provides fishing privileges for the duration of the license holder’s life and eliminate the need for annual license renewals.

To obtain a lifetime license, applicants must meet specific criteria, which typically include proof of residency and adherence to the state’s fishing regulations. It is important to consult the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website or contact their office directly to confirm the exact requirements and fees associated with obtaining a lifetime fishing license.

Lifetime licenses can be a convenient and cost-effective option for individuals who plan to fish in New York for many years.

License TypePrice
Lifetime Fishing License (ages 0-69)$460
Lifetime Fishing License (ages 70+)$65
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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.
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