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How to Get a Fishing License in Texas

You may love hitting a lake, river, or stream to test your luck at fishing. Some say everything is bigger in Texas, which is true for the many fish that call the state home. If you want to land a trophy fish in the Lone Star State, you will likely need a Texas fishing license. The good news is residents and non-residents can easily get one!

Today, we’re looking at everything you need to know about getting a fishing license in Texas. Let’s dive in.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Texas?

Anyone looking to fish in any public water in Texas will need a fishing license. However, you’ll find several important exceptions. Anyone under 17 years old, whether a resident or non-resident, does not require a fishing license. Texas residents born before Jan. 1, 1931, or with an intellectual disability also do not require a fishing license. 

How to Buy a Fishing License in Texas | FishingBooker

Non-residents have a few more exceptions. Non-residents from Oklahoma or Louisiana and people 65 years or older don’t have to have one. However, Louisiana residents must also possess a Louisiana Recreational Fishing License.

Because of the stiff penalties for fishing without a license, you’ll want to ensure you have the proper license for your fishing type. When in doubt, you can check with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

How Much Does a Texas Fishing License Cost?

The cost for a Texas fishing license will vary depending on whether you’re a Texas resident and how long you want to fish. Texas residents can purchase a one-day all-water fishing license for $11 and $16 for non-residents. 

Texans looking to do more fishing can purchase an annual all-water fishing package for $40. It costs $22 for senior residents and $68 for non-residents. The state also offers salt or freshwater packages, but you get the most bang for your buck by choosing the all-water option.

Father and son fishing together in Texas
Make memories by going fishing while in Texas.

Where Can You Fish for Free in Texas?

Fishing licenses are required when fishing on public water. Anglers fishing on private property don’t need a fishing license. The state also offers free fishing annually on the first Saturday of June. This can be a great opportunity for anyone interested in trying out fishing.

Texas also allows anglers to fish all year from any of the 70 state parks. Anglers must follow all of the other guidelines and restrictions. Because restrictions can vary based on location, it’s a good idea to check with park officials to avoid potential issues.

Pro Tip: Go fishing or simply relax in the sun and sand at one of these 7 Best Beaches in Texas for the Perfect Beach Day.

Father and daughter fishing together in Texas.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, it is easy to get a fishing license in Texas.

Can You Get Fined for Fishing Without a License in Texas?

It is unlawful to fish without a fishing license in Texas. Violations range from Class C to felonies. Class C misdemeanors have fines of $25 to $500. Felonies carry penalties of $1,500 to $10,000 and up to two years in jail. Most instances of fishing without a license will likely fall under a Class C misdemeanor. However, repeated violations could escalate the charges and result in stiffer punishments.

What Documents Do You Need to Get a Texas Fishing License?

Getting a Texas fishing license is relatively easy. Customers must provide their name, birthdate, and identification number. You can use a social security number, driver’s license, passport, or customer number. Texans will need proof that they’ve been a resident for at least six months to obtain a fishing license.

father and son fishing
Hit the water for some relaxing and enjoyable Texas fishing.

How to Get a Fishing License in Texas

Texas makes it very easy to get a fishing license. There’s no excuse not to have one if you plan to fish. Let’s look at getting a Texas fishing license in person or online.


If you want to get a bit of in-person assistance with your fishing license, you can find a retailer. You’ll need to bring the documentation we discussed earlier to show the officials helping you. Hundreds of retailers across the state can help you purchase your license. Remember that if you apply for a resident type, you’ll need to show proof that you’ve lived in the state for more than six months. 

Two men in Texas fishing boat
Before you go fishing, make sure you get a license online. If you don’t, you could get stuck with a hefty fine.


Purchasing your Texas fishing license online is incredibly simple. You can complete your purchase by downloading the Outdoor Annual mobile app or visiting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website. You’ll simply input your information and complete the transaction. You can have a Texas fishing license in a matter of minutes.

We love the freedom of using the mobile apps as it helps ensure you always have your fishing license on your person. Just ensure you keep your phone charged so you can snap pictures of your catch and show officials should they ask to see your license.

Pro Tip: Camp for free while fishing in Texas at one of these 10 Best Places for Boondocking in Texas.

7 Free Camping in Texas Spots You'll Love 💕

Catch Your Next Trophy Fish in the Lone Star State

Texas is home to some record-setting fish; you can try catching them by getting a Texas fishing license. Don’t miss out on the fun and excitement of reeling in a monster fish. Fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with loved ones. Just follow the fishing rules and regulations and clean up after yourself. We’d love to see pictures of your experiences fishing in Texas.

Interested in becoming a Texas resident? Learn How to Change Your Domicile to Texas here.

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Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

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