There is a fine for fishing without a license. Under the 1997 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, every individual must obtain a permit before fishing. Either salt or freshwater, or for whatever purpose, fishing without a license attracts a fine.
Now the question is, what is the fine for fishing without a license? Well, fishing without a license attracts diverse penalties. In Florida, it’s a non-criminal offense, though. But an offender may have to pay $50, including the total cost of acquiring a license. However, if you are committing this offense for the second time within 36 months, then your fine will be $100 and the cost of obtaining a license. So if you are looking at fishing in Florida or any state, ensure you have your license.
What Does Having A Fishing License Do?
You can dive into any water of choice to swim. The only thing you need to bother about is your safety and swimming skills. As long as you can swim and also swim in a safe zone, you don’t have a problem. But you can’t do the same if you intend to catch a fish.
A fishing license is a legal permit that gives you the power to catch or release fish. Whether your intention is for business (to sell the fish) or for sport (recreational purpose), you are expected to have a fishing license to perform such an act.
So, your intention doesn’t matter. Recreational or commercial purposes, you still need a license. The last thing you want is to fall into the hands of an environmental conservation officer. Don’t forget they always patrol water bodies, and it’s their job to apprehend illegal anglers.
Types Of Fishing Licenses Available
Now you know how vital possessing a license before casting your fishing net or fish line in water bodies. The next critical thing you need to know is the type of fishing licenses available.
The thing is that having a fishing license doesn’t mean you are out of trouble. You can have a wrong fishing license if you are not informed. The consequences of having a wrong fishing license or doing something contrary to what your fishing license states are grave.
Know that if you have a saltwater license, you are not allowed by law to fish in freshwater. Before you can do so, you have to acquire a freshwater license.
If you intend to fish in fresh and saltwater, you can go for a combination license. This type of license allows you to fish in both types of water bodies without being fined or losing your fishing equipment to the authorities.
With that in mind, you should also check the state laws regarding fishing to be sure you are not violating any. Ask pertinent questions about the rules and regulations regarding fishing in the area before casting your fishing line or fishing net.
So without much ado, here are the different types of fishing licenses you will find in most of the states.
1. Freshwater license
This permits interested persons to fish only in freshwater.
2. Saltwater license
This type of permit affords those who wield it the opportunity to fish only in saltwater.
3. Combination license
A combination license is a preferred license for those seeking to fish in fresh and saltwater. Those who wield this type of license have the legal permit also to harvest shellfish, seaweed, and Razor clam.
4. 1-3 day combination license
As the name implies, the 1-3 day combination licenses function like the combination license. The only thing is that it’s a short-term license. You can only use it for the stipulated days.
5. Shellfish/seaweed license
This license allows the wielder to harvest red rock crab, Razor clam, among others.
6. Razor clam license
As the name implies, this license lets you harvest Razor clams.
These fishing licenses are from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Every state has theirs. So look carefully while going through their various websites before making any move.
Other Types Of Licenses Out There:
There are other types of licenses besides what I listed above. Let’s take a brief look at them.
There is a Sports fishing license issued in some regions. This type of license is for persons within the age of 16 – 65 years. It strictly limits the species of fish you can catch. In other words, you’re not permitted to catch certain species of fish. The only benefit you get from having such a license is that you can catch everything yourself.
The conservation license is another license available. Like the sport license, there are rules and regulations attached to this type of license. One of them is that there is a limitation on the species of fish you can catch.
A conservation license is also a wise option for persons whose interest is to catch and release some of the species caught. This license is also a smart choice for those who don’t fish that often. Of course, it’s not as expensive as the Sports license.
Fishing Without A License: What You Need To Know
You might be wondering if fishing without a permit is even possible. Well, here is the good news: It’s possible! Under the law, there are specific age brackets a person must be that makes it possible to fish with or without a license.
If you are within the ages of 16 to 65 years, then you require a license to fish. Either for commercial or recreational purposes, you will pay a fine if caught casting your fishing line without a permit.
Also, minors (below 16 years) or those above 65 years, can fish without a license. You can also fish without a license in a farmhouse you own, or that belongs to your spouse or child.
Military personnel also have some privileges. If you are a military personnel fishing in your home county, you don’t need a license. But keep in mind that you mustn’t come close to fish management areas. You would need permission to go close to these areas to fish. You also need to use live bait or natural means to catch your fish. Otherwise, you may get into severe problems with the authorities.
So you can see that there are exemptions to fishing without a license. Just check properly and know where you belong. And as I said earlier, you need to check your state laws to understand what is permitted and what is punishable by law in the fishing area in question.
Does Every State Require A Different Fishing License?
The answer is in two ways. First, know that most states share the same water body. And a good example is Virginia and Maryland. Thus, if you have a fishing license from Maryland, it would be accepted in Virginia. You don’t have to acquire a different one for each state.
But keep in mind that this doesn’t apply in every state. Each state has rules and regulations which you must abide by. A license in one state may not be accepted in another, even though they are in the same country.
How To Obtain A Fishing License Of Your Choice
Things have gotten much easier with the advancement in technology. Anglers can now get permits quicker!
Many areas in the United States of America have not made obtaining a fishing license a breeze for anglers. There are now different options to get your license, irrespective of your location. Let’s go through them shortly:
This option might be the most convenient for most persons. All you need is your cell phone and a phone call to acquire your fishing license in most states. When you phone in, a representative from the licensing department will request your details, including that of your credit card, to deduct the license fee.
This method of obtaining a fishing license can be considered the most convenient way to go about it. Just visit the state department’s official website and get started.
You can acquire a new fishing license, request for renewal or replacement of a missing license conveniently. Payment is via debit or credit card; any method you feel is ideal for you.
It’s also possible to print your fishing license immediately upon providing your details and confirmation of payment. Some states also take it upon themselves to deliver fishing licenses to the doorsteps of applicants upon request.
Another way you can acquire your fishing license is to visit the licensing office personally. There are also authorized agents that offer permits to interested anglers. You can also get from fishing equipment stores, sports goods stores, among others.
To acquire a license, you need to have proof of residency and identity. You will need both when you visit any local department office to get a fishing license.
If you are unable to get your license in person or other means, then you can do so via mail. Most states permit this, and you can even get a reply almost immediately. The process is also quite simple, submit your application via your mail and make payment for the license. Your fishing document will be sent to you via the same mail.
These methods of acquiring a fishing license are fantastic. But I prefer getting it online for specific reasons. The application process is a breeze and, it’s easier to reprint a new fishing license when misplaced.
Things You Should Consider Before Purchasing A Fishing License
I know the excitement to get started is consuming you. I mean, I do. Fishing is fun, irrespective of the reason. But I would advise that you don’t fish unless you have your license.
And like I said earlier, having a license is not enough. Your license needs to suit the intended purpose. Otherwise, you might get fined. So here are the things you need to consider before getting a license.
Sometimes, knowing the price of something will help you decide if it’s worth it or not. So before you acquire your first fishing license, I would suggest you check to know the price of the different types and ask yourself if it’s worth it.
Again, you should also be ready to renew your license yearly. Renewal time is mostly in June of every year, so you have to prepare your mind towards that. Are you okay paying the renewal fee annually? Is it worth the stress? Think about it critically before you make your final decision.
There are also lifetime licenses. Once acquired, you no longer have to renew it. Check to know if your state of interest offers that.
Use of the license
Use is another factor to consider. It will also guide you when deciding the type of license to acquire. I spoke about the sport and recreational types of license earlier. There, I mentioned that a recreational license is a bit cheaper and more convenient for people who don’t go fishing often.
So, if you are in the category of people who spend less time fishing or don’t do so often, then such a license will be ideal. The reverse should be the case if your main aim is to fish and do it often. You can also check other license types that suit your need.
There is a fine for fishing without a license. The fee varies, and it’s not something you should allow. So, whether you intend to fish in a fresh or saltwater, ensure you have a license that bears your name. The license is a legal permit that allows you to fish without harassment from the authority. So, do the right thing now. Get your fishing license and enjoy the fun that comes with fishing.