Florida – it’s a state that offers plenty to do in the way of sport and recreation.

While there’s a thriving city life and economy, the fair climate and abundance of oceanfront properties as well as lakes in the state make fishing a popular hobby.

This isn’t to say fishing isn’t popular in all 50 states, but it seems Florida was built for it. Whether people take to the water with rod and reel for competitive purposes or just as a way to unwind, fishing is king in this state.

Because of this, it should come as no surprise that the demand for fishing spots in the area is high. Licensing has been used as a way to control fishing locations and curtail overfishing or to limit outsiders from overusing the state’s fishing amenities instead of their own.

How do you get a Florida fishing license? Today we’ll talk about this topic. We’ll detail the popularity of fishing in Florida, then move into the specific license types that exist for Florida residents as well as what options exist for those visiting the state from another.

Why Fishing Is Such a Popular Hobby in Florida

Fishing is the type of hobby that appeals to people from all walks of life. From the casual hobbyist to the dedicated sportsman, fishing attracts various types of people.


For some people, fishing is a way to relax. It is a time for them to enjoy the placid scene of the lake or ocean, and take in the atmosphere that comes with waiting for that perfect catch. But for everyone who likes the slow approach to fishing, there’s a dedicated competitor who wants to outdo their own achievements – and perhaps those of others.


Some people fish for sport – they aim to catch the biggest fish or the most fish possible, setting goals for themselves and sometimes even competing with others.

Fishing can be great for individuals. The solitary feeling of being out on the water is something that many people seek. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see single individuals on the shore, leaning on the pier railing, or sitting in a boat and taking in what nature has to offer in terms of fishing.


Fishing can also be great for couples, families, and groups of friends. It’s the type of outing that brings people together and removes a lot of the distractions we deal with in everyday life. For bonding and making memories, fishing creates the perfect opportunity.


There are plenty of popular fishing destinations in Florida. These include The St. Johns River, Tampa Bay, the Banana River, and numerous other locations peppered around the state’s coast.


Now that we know exactly why individuals may find themselves in this state to enjoy a day of fishing, how exactly do they go about getting licensed?

Getting a Florida Fishing License: The Basics

Let’s start out with the discussion about Florida’s fishing license rules from a simple perspective. To begin, let’s talk about it in the context of state residents.


For those who want to get a license, the organization to contact is the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  You can either call a toll-free number or use an online portal to purchase the license. Proof of residence may be required, and those without it must contact the commission to find out what can be substituted.


If you’re a legal resident of Florida, there are plenty of great fishing options available to you. Getting the proper license depends on deciding what type of fishing you want to do. Then you simply determine where you land in terms of licensing options based on your age and a few other factors.


Those other factors deal with where exactly you want to fish – and we can label all fishing locations in one of two categories. These categories are known as freshwater fishing spots and saltwater fishing spots. While the opinion of which is better largely comes down to preferences, it is worth noting the types of fish you can catch may be different depending on your location.

Resident Freshwater Fishing License Options

If you’re a Florida resident who likes freshwater fishing, you’ll be happy to know you can get a good deal on a license that lasts you a year. An annual freshwater fishing license is only $17, meaning you can save money rather than paying the entry fee to some admission-priced fishing facilities.


An option for the same price is available for children and is known as the Youth Freshwater Fishing License. This is optional for children under 16, as they are not required by law to have a license. But even with options like these, there is still the matter of having to redo your license every year.


Doing some quick math, we can determine that paying $17 a year for a freshwater license would have you paying $85 over the course of a half-decade. Luckily, if you do plan on doing a lot of freshwater fishing year after year, you can opt for the $79 5-year license.


Non-residents can expect to pay $30 for an annual license, $17 for a 3-day license, and $30 for a 7-day license.

Resident Saltwater Fishing License Options

Much like freshwater licenses, saltwater licenses come in annual forms for $17, with the same age range applied – kids under 16 can get their own license for the same price, though it isn’t required.


The 5-year option is also available for $79, meaning there’s really no financial difference between these two options. The same price range for freshwater licenses for non-residents applies here as well.


However, many people like to fish in both locations. Is there some type of solution for those who want to buy a combination?

The Special Deals When Buying a Florida Fishing License

Some people aren’t picky when it comes to fishing – saltwater or freshwater, they’ll fish anywhere. Others are determined and dedicated to fish in both locations to enjoy the variety and the different experiences.


Luckily, Florida authorities have created options to help people who fall into this category save money. The saltwater/freshwater combo license goes for $32.50, letting you save a bit of money – and if you want to tack hunting onto it, you can get all three for $48.


The saltwater shoreline license is not valid from a vessel or shore reached by a vessel, however, this license can be obtained for free.


There’s a Gold Sportsman’s License deal that goes for $100 and includes both types of fishing as well as multiple types of hunting. The same license can be purchased for a 5-year period for $494. Military members (resident retired or active duty) can get the yearly Gold Sportsman’s license for only $20.


These are some of the options a person can enjoy when it comes to maintaining their fishing habit in the great state of Florida.

How Does Florida’s Licensing System Compare to Other States?



There are many different methods for getting a fishing license if you compare the options from all 50 US states. Every state has their own things to keep track of when it comes to their fishing amenities – and because of this, their procedures for licensing can change accordingly.

Fishing license processes can be significantly more complicated in some cases. Rather than contacting a single organization, a person may have to go through multiple levels to get the licensing they need. In some cases, the process may also be simpler. A person may need fewer documents or they may be able to expect a shorter waiting period to get the license they want.

Cost can also vary depending on how popular fishing is in a state as well as the general cost of living in that state. All these factors are taken into consideration when it comes to pricing licenses and license combinations for fishermen.

Fishing is a great hobby to have, whether you’re casual or competitive with it. There are some steps to take if you hope to enjoy the fishing facilities in the state of Florida – but luckily, getting a Florida fishing license is relatively straightforward and affordable.

Featured Image via: Unsplash.com

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