Do You Need A Fishing License For Catch And Release?

Do You Need A Fishing License For Catch And Release?

Responsible fishing ensures the health of fish populations and enables other anglers to enjoy this in the future. One of the best ways to control fishing is to issue fishing licenses. In addition to selling licenses, local authorities also determine fishing closures, allowed equipment and baits, and everything else that affects specific fish populations.

But do you need a fishing license? Or why do you need a fishing license to fish? Find answers to these questions and many others in the chapters that follow!

Do You Need A Fishing License To Fish?

Do you need a fishing license at all times? Are there exceptions?

In 99% of cases, you will need a license to fish in all waters. There are some exceptions, which I will mention later.

All waters that are not privately owned are subject to some kind of regulation (whether those regulations are national or national), which means a permit is required.

Of course, the type of license, price, and other applicable rules and regulations vary from state to state. If the body of water is between two states, in most cases, you can use a permit issued by one of these two agencies.

For the most part, the prices are pretty reasonable, and you can buy annual licenses, tourist licenses, or some special category of licenses that I’ll mention later. It’s worth mentioning that even if you’re just helping your friends and not fishing yourself, you still need a license, even if you’re just preparing their bait.

The only exception is when local authorities declare free fishing days. At this point, anyone can fish without a license, but the rules about what is allowed to fish still apply. This doesn’t mean you can fish with 10 rods and bring as many fish as possible. California is one of the states in the United States that offers free fishing days, the exact dates can be found on the official website.

Do You Need a Fishing License for Catch and Release?


It’s a common problem that you need a fishing license to fish and release, as some people find it illogical to get a license if they don’t plan to keep fish. However, the truth is, you absolutely need one.

Fishing licenses are not only for those who keep fish but also for all those who intend to fish. It doesn’t matter if you don’t fish well and catch nothing. Once you put the bait in the water, you are an angler and all anglers need a license.

The same applies to capture and release. Of course, if you plan to keep your catch, make sure to keep only the allowed amount, and release fish that are too small or accidentally caught (check the percentage of fish caught and released that die). Anglers can get all of these details about permitted fishing online, or at local bait stores and establishments, where Anger can buy licenses.

Do You Need Fishing Licenses For Every State?

Every state has its own rules and regulations. A license in one state will not necessarily be honored in another. However, there are some states that share the same body of water and, therefore, share licenses. For example, if you have a saltwater fishing license in Virginia, it will be honored in Maryland.

Why Do You Need A Fishing License To Fish?

Many people ask why you need a fishing license to fish and think it’s ridiculous to pay for the license if they catch a panfish.

The truth is, there are a lot of irresponsible people out there who have to be controlled somehow. Keeping fish populations healthy will enable us all to fish successfully for years to come.

Here’s why you need a license:

1. Stocking fish – As you know, many glasses of water have fish that do not occur naturally. The money earned from the licenses is used to catch fish and raise livestock in these waters.

2. Keep waters clean and safe – Pollution is a huge problem and regular cleaning and monitoring of waters are critical. This is not cheap, so part of the revenue from the license is used to implement various ecological solutions.

3. Regulate the behavior of anglers – When you sell a license, the buyer must follow all relevant rules. Therefore, non-compliance with these regulations may result in fines. Also, those who buy the license responsibly are likely to read the fine print and release a juvenile.

4. Monitor fishing activity – By knowing exactly how many people are fishing in local waters, you can determine if their activities are negatively impacting local fish populations.

5. Conservation, Education, and Access – Funding in the license is used for conservation research and implementation of conservation measures, as well as educational purposes for children and adults. In addition to this, funds are used to build docks, boat ramps, and other infrastructure.

How To Get A Fishing License?

Almost every state has a system for purchasing licenses online. They can also be purchased at government buildings or shops. Usually, they will ask for a photo ID and proof of residency.

One of the benefits of an online fishing license is that if you lose your license, it’s easy to print out a new one.

Ultimately, the question of whether you need a fishing license will be decided by the state.

What Happens If You Get Caught Fishing Without A License?

What Happens if You Get Caught Fishing Without a License?

Fishing without a license is irresponsible and should not be done under any circumstances. But let’s say you forgot to buy one, or you didn’t notice that your driver’s license expired. What happens if you get caught fishing without a license?

In the best-case scenario, you might get a warning that if you have some fish that you plan to keep, it will be taken away.

If you are not so lucky, you may have to pay a fine. What are the fines for unlicensed fishing? The exact amount depends on the state, but these prices can go up to $500 or more if this isn’t your first time committing this crime. If you do this repeatedly and get caught several times, you risk ending up in jail in court.

Do you need a fishing license? The answer has been answered many times, the only question you should be asking is what kind of license you need.


There are many places that will require you to have a fishing license, whether or not you plan to keep the fish you catch. Remember to consider local laws and regulations as well as national laws and regulations, as these tend to vary.

It’s best to check with your local bait store or the fishery where you plan to fish in advance. These places will usually have up-to-date information on local fishing spots and should be able to advise you on permit requirements.

Help your fishing companions and share this with them.