FishingRegulations.org
YOUR BEST SOURCE FOR FLORIDA FISHING INFORMATION

Fishing in Florida requires a Florida Fishing License for Fishing in both Salt Water and Fresh Water. Below is the Florida Fishing License information and how to obtain a Florida Fishing License, Remember, nothing ruins a day on the water like a game warden discovering that the fish you were so proud of catching was actually in violation of some regulation of which you were unaware.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED LICENSING QUESTIONS

Who sets license fees?  License fees are set by the Florida Legislature for hunting and fishing (both freshwater and saltwater) and are subject to change, along with stipulations on exemptions. In addition to the cost of a license or permit given in this section, an issuance fee of $0.50 may be charged by the subagent selling the license or permit.

What will my license cost?  There are many options based on where you fish, where you buy your license, whether you are a resident and if any exemptions apply. 

Where do I get a license?  The least expensive place to buy is at your tax collectors office.  For added convenience, many bait-and-tackle shops and sports retailers (e.g., Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Sports Authority) sell licenses, for a small additional fee.  Instant licenses are also available via the Internet or a toll free call to credit card users, for an additional convenience fee.

What are my fees used for?  Except for the fees charged by the tax collector ($1.00) or agent ($0.50), and processing surcharges listed above, all of the money spent on fishing and licenses goes to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to provide optimum sustained use of Florida's fish and wildlife resources. In addition, each license holder that buys a license, helps the FWC to recover excise taxes from the Federal government, which you spend on items such as fishing tackle, boats, and for motor boat fuel taxes, through the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration program.

What special incentives are there?  At various times the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management arranges special bonus offers and incentives to encourage anglers to purchase a fishing license and support conservation.  Although youth under 16 and seniors over 65, or anglers fishing in their county of residence with a cane pole do not need licenses, by buying one they contribute to conservation, and help the state recover more of your Federal tax money for sport fish restoration. 

Do I need a freshwater or saltwater fishing license or both?  In general, you need a freshwater license to take freshwater fish and a saltwater license to take saltwater fish, unless one of the exemptions specified on this Web site applies to your situation. Obviously if you are fishing in pure fresh water where no saltwater species live, you need a freshwater license and likewise if you are fishing in the ocean you need a saltwater license.
However, when you get into estuarine type areas where salt and fresh water commingle and fish of both types can be found the issue becomes less clear. The interpretation of the rule is:

  1. You need either a freshwater, saltwater or combination license (or appropriate exemption) to take fish (take is legally defined as taking, attempting to take, pursuing, molesting, capturing, or killing any fish, or their nests or eggs by any means whether or not such actions result in obtaining possession of such fish or their nests or eggs).

  2. If you are using species specific gear, your license should be appropriate (e.g., freshwater or saltwater) to the species you are targeting, and

  3. Otherwise you need an appropriate type license to keep your catch and must immediately release any species for which you are not licensed. License requirements follow the species of fish, regardless of where they are caught. In other words, if you only have a freshwater license and are primarily fishing for largemouth bass or bream (freshwater species) in a river, but happen to catch a red drum (a saltwater species), you must immediately release the red drum.

 

Does everyone on board a recreational fishing boat need a license?  No. Anyone onboard that is not fishing does not need a fishing license - even if they are on a vessel which has people fishing. However, you should not be surprised if an officer asks a few questions to ensure the people who are fishing are in fact properly licensed. The officer may have more questions should there, for instance, be more fishing lines in the water than there are licensed (or legally exempt) anglers. Also remember you may only keep the daily bag limit (of species with bag limits) for those persons with a current license (or who are legally exempt). Also non-anglers should not in any way help with fishing, such as attaching lures, netting fish or removing fish from the hooks.

What does a senior license certificate cover and where do I get it?  A resident permanent senior license for those 65 years old and older, authorizes the holder to take or attempt to take or possess freshwater fish and game consistent with state and federal regulations and the rules of the Commission at the time of taking. The holder of this license may engage in all activities authorized by a management area permit, a muzzle-loading gun permit, a turkey permit, an archery permit, and a Florida waterfowl permit.  Although these certificates are available, all a senior needs is proof of age and residency to fish for free.  Many seniors, however, choose to buy a resident license in order to contribute to conservation.  This is one of the simplest ways to help ensure the future of fishing in Florida and is encouraged by the agency.  (See Heritage ad.)

 

These licenses should be issued by the Tax Collector's offices only.

What does a youth need to do to fish legally?  Youth under the age of 16 do not need a fishing license, although they must abide by all other fishing regulations such as gear type, bag and size limits. They may, however, be asked to provide proof of age.

How do I get a replacement license?   A replacement license or permit may be obtained at any location that sells hunting and fishing licenses and permits, including on line.

The FWC has several services enabling you to buy hunting or fishing licenses with a credit card online or via a toll-free phone call, using these methods requires a major credit card and allows you to begin fishing right away. Starting dates for licenses may be designated by you for up to two months (60 days) from the date of purchase, to help you with trip planning.

Order On-Line for instant service; a fee of $2.25 per person, plus 2.5% of the total sale, will be added to your license fee.

If you prefer, you can also order an instant license via a toll-free phone call by dialing 1-888-FISH-FLOrida (347-4356) from anywhere in the United States or Canada, and within minutes you'll have a temporary license number enabling you to hunt (in season) or fish right away. Your permanent license will be mailed within 48 hours.
Please note, in addition to the cost of the license, a fee of $3.25 per person plus 2.5% of the total sale, will be added to your license fee.

Licenses may also be purchased from county tax collectors or their subagents, who are generally located at tackle shops, fish camps, hardware stores and sporting goods stores. In addition to the license stamp fees listed above, agents are entitled to a $0.50 fee. License fees are set by the Florida Legislature and are subject to change, watch this Web site for updates.

 


Definition of Resident: (Up to Index)
For the purpose of fishing in Florida, a person is a resident if he or she has lived in Florida for six continuous months prior to applying for licenses and claims Florida as his or her primary residence. Active military personnel stationed in Florida, including their spouses and dependent children residing in the household, are considered residents when purchasing fishing licenses.

Resident 12-Month Freshwater Fishing
(Valid for 12 months from specified beginning date)-$13.50

64 or Older Hunting and Fishing: includes Freshwater Fishing and Hunting licenses; and Type I WMA, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Turkey permits and waterfowl permit-$13.50

Sportsman's License: includes Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, and permits for Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Turkey, Florida Waterfowl
(Valid 12 months from specified beginning date)-$72.50

Gold Sportsman's License (includes Hunting, Saltwater Fishing and Freshwater Fishing licenses; and Type I Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Turkey and Florida Waterfowl, Snook and Crawfish Permits)--$83.50

7-Day Freshwater Fishing
(Valid seven days from specified beginning date)-$16.50

12-Month Freshwater Fishing
(Valid for 12 months from specified beginning date)-$31.50

Although the following exemptions apply, individuals may always choose to purchase a license as a way to contribute to fish and wildlife conservation. Purchasing a license also helps the FWC receive more of the excise taxes spent on fishing tackle and motor boat fuels under Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration.

fish shaped bullet Any child under 16 years of age.

fish shaped bullet Any person hunting or fishing in the person's county of residence on the person's homestead or the homestead of the person's spouse or minor child, or any minor child hunting or fishing on the homestead of her or his parent.

fish shaped bullet Any resident who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, who is not stationed in this state, when home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders.

fish shaped bullet Any resident when fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines which are not equipped with a fishing line retrieval mechanism, and fishing for noncommercial purposes in the county of her or his residence. A valid Fishing License is required to fish by any method in a Fish Management Area.

fish shaped bullet Any person fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or less which is located entirely within the private property of the fish pond owner. A fish pond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters.

fish shaped bullet Any person fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or more, where the pond owner has purchased a fish pond license at a fee of $3 per surface acre.

fish shaped bullet Any person fishing who has been accepted as a client for developmental services by the Department of Children and Family Services, which department shall furnish such person proof thereof.

fish shaped bullet Any resident 65 years of age or older, who has in her or his possession proof of age and residency. A free license may be obtained from any tax collector's office upon proof of age and residency. A Florida Senior Citizen Hunting and Fishing Certificate is accepted in Georgia, but a trout stamp may be required. (Note: a senior may purchase a regular license to help contribute to conservation both directly and by enabling us to count them as a paid license holder when Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration appropriates money to the states.)

fish shaped bullet Georgia residents 65 years of age or older who have in their possession a Georgia Honorary Combination Hunting and Fishing License and proof of age.

fish shaped bullet Florida residents certified as totally and permanently disabled, who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate (see application, requires PDF).   See also ADA

fish shaped bullet Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License (Series RC) holders.

fish shaped bullet Anyone fishing in the St. Mary's River or Lake Seminole (but not including tributary creeks in Florida, see MAP), who has a valid Georgia fishing license.

fish shaped bullet Anyone fishing in public waters during the first weekend of April, which is designated as free-fishing weekend to encourage new anglers to try the sport, and for families to share some quality time together relaxing in the outdoors. 

Resident Sportsman's License: includes Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, and permits for Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Turkey, Florida Waterfowl
(Valid 12 months from specified beginning date)-$72.50

Resident Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing and Hunting: A combination freshwater and saltwater fishing and hunting license for a resident to take freshwater and saltwater fish and game. (Does not include the permits provided by a Sportsman's License). (Valid 12 months from specified beginning date)-$35.50

Resident Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing: A combination freshwater and saltwater fishing license for a resident to take freshwater and saltwater fish. (Valid 12 months from specified beginning date)-$25.50

Resident Freshwater Fishing and Hunting: A combination fishing and hunting license for a resident to take freshwater fish and game. (Valid 12 months from specified beginning date)-$23.50

Gold Sportsman's License (includes Hunting, Saltwater Fishing and Freshwater Fishing licenses; and Type I Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Turkey and Florida Waterfowl, Snook and Crawfish Permits)--$83.50

Lifetime and Five-Year licenses are available to Florida residents for hunting, freshwater and saltwater fishing. The Lifetime and Five-Year licenses will remain valid for use in Florida even if you move out of state. The cost of a Lifetime License is less than what would be spent on annual licenses, permits and fees.

The Lifetime License is for parents, grandparents and family friends who want to pass on the joys of outdoor recreation to young people and help ensure that today's youth have the natural resources to share hunting, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing with their children. Funds generated from the sale of these licenses will be invested, creating an endowment to support the long-term conservation of Florida's wildlife and fisheries resources. Only interest from the trust will be appropriated. The principal will be held in perpetuity to fund fish and wildlife programs to ensure your family's hunting and fishing tradition will be passed down to future generations. For more information or for applications for Lifetime and Five-Year licenses, contact your county tax collector's office or the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Lifetime Sportsman's License includes: Hunting, Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing licenses; and Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Turkey, Florida Waterfowl, Snook, and Crawfish permits:
4 years or younger-$401.50
5-12 years-$701.50
13 years or older-$1,001.50

Lifetime Freshwater Fishing License:
4 years or younger-$126.50
5-12 years-$226.50
13 years or older-$301.50

Lifetime Saltwater Fishing License
(includes snook and crawfish permits):
4 years or younger-$126.50
5-12 years-$226.50
13 years or older-$301.50

Five-Year Freshwater Fishing License-$61.50
(no permits required) 

Five-Year Saltwater Fishing License-$61.50
(does not include snook or crawfish permits)

 

 

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