Do You Need a License to Fish in Florida?

When planning a trip to Florida, fishing is often at the top of the to-do list. But before you gear up and get ready to cast your line, you need to make sure you are in compliance with Florida’s fishing regulations. While you don’t have to be a Florida resident to fish in the Sunshine State, you do need a visitor’s fishing license. 


Fishing licenses are legal mechanisms that maintain fisheries and directly contribute to conservation efforts. As with most states, Florida does not accept out-of-state fishing and hunting licenses. This means non-residents must get Florida licenses and permits to hunt or fish. Whether you’re practicing catch and release or taking any marine organism from fish to crabs and marine plants, you’ll need a fishing license. Even someone who is passively participating by baiting hooks or tending a rod is required to have one.


There are two types of fishing licenses: freshwater and saltwater. Freshwater fishing licenses cover rivers and lakes while saltwater licenses cover ocean and gulf fishing. Non-residents have to purchase a 3-day, 7-day, or annual non-resident fishing license in order to land any and every species—if it’s anything that’s more alive than a seashell, don’t touch it without the proper documentation. It’s best to keep your visitor’s fishing license with you so you can show it and a photo ID to any game officials that may approach you. If you’re planning to fish in both saltwater and freshwater, you’ll need to purchase both types of licenses. Prices range from about $17 to $47. You can go to https://myfwc.com/license/ to purchase your Florida Fishing license. 


Fortunately, you aren’t required to have a saltwater fishing license or permit if you fish from a guide or charter that has a valid license. This is yet another reason to hire an experienced guide for a fishing trip—not only will they enhance the overall experience, but they unburden you from complicated fishing and hunting legalities. The only other ways non-residents can fish without recreational licenses and permits in Florida is if they are a child under the age of 16, are fishing from a pier with a saltwater pier license, are fishing in a pond that’s smaller than 20 acres, or are fishing during a free saltwater fishing day (which only happen a handful of times every year).


Fishing outside of your native stomping grounds can be an unforgettable experience when done by the book. To make the most out of your vacation time and budget, we recommend booking a guided fishing trip. With a professional guide, you’ll experience less worry and likely reel in more catches. Tapping into the expertise of a native Floridian whose job is to ensure you have a great day on the water will take the guesswork out of when, where, and how to fish. Yentna can help you connect with the right guide, book a date, and make a secure payment all in one place. Our low-cost solution streamlines the entire process and allows you to book confidently every time, so you can spend less time with the logistics and more time on the water.

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