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California Fishing Licenses

California fishing licenses are required for individuals who plan to fish in state waters, either inland or off the coast. To buy a fishing license, anglers must first complete a fishing license application with the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife and present all the required credentials. Prior to applying for and buying fishing licenses, applicants should know exactly what type of California permit to fish they need for their particular fishing interests. The CA Department of Fish and Wildlife categorizes each license to fish based on a number of factors such as the applicant’s residency status, age, the type of fish caught, and whether or not the angler is catching fish for recreational or commercial purposes. Given the difference in purpose between the recreational and commercial CA fishing licenses, applicants should select the proper credential suitable for their needs. Establish a few personal facts about yourself prior to completing the fishing license application process, such as your residency and identity. Both can be achieved by presenting a valid California driver’s license. Once you have decided on a resident or non resident fishing license and have met department requirements, buy the license online, through the Department of Fish and Wildlife website, or in person. Visit a local Department of Fish and Wildlife office or authorize licensing agent. For more information on how to get a fishing license in California, click this link. The two main categories of fishing licenses in California consist of the following:

  • Sport fishing licenses
  • Commercial fishing licenses


Fishing Frequently Asked Questions

Oftentimes you can buy a fishing license through your state’s fishing department website. You will most likely need to create an account on the webpage and have a printer nearby to finalize your transaction. Make sure to also have a valid credit card on hand, as no other form of payment is accepted by state departments online. Take note that, as proof of your residency, you may be required to enter your driver’s license number.
In a general sense, a good number of states offer the following types of fishing licenses: a regular fishing license and a commercial fishing license. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to get a saltwater license to fish, if you are by coastal waters. In addition to these permits, you may be required to buy a fishing stamp, depending on the specific type of fish species you intend to catch.
A regular fishing permit is often valid for the period of a full year. However, you may also have the option to obtain a license to fish that is good for 24 hours or 72 hours, for example. In some instances, a weekly fishing license or a lifetime license may also be available. Lifetime licenses to fish are the most suitable option for those anglers who intend to fish for the duration of their lives. Keep in mind that if you would like to continue fishing after the expiration date of your current licensure, you will be required to get a new permit to fish.
The fees related to a state fishing license may vary, depending on a few factors. But senior residents and military veterans can usually get a fishing license that is free of charge, as long as they can present official documentation that supports their residency or military service. Resident licenses to fish are often more affordable than nonresident licenses. The most costly licenses are for those who would like to get lifetime credentials.
In the event that you have lost your fishing license or it was stolen, the most common way to obtain a duplicate is through your state’s fishing department. You may be required to make an in-person visit to a nearby office or to contact a licensed agent directly. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to order a fishing permit replacement online. But, to be sure, it is important that you double check with your state department first, as you may also need to bring in certain documentation, such as your driver’s license or ID card.
This site is privately owned and is neither affiliated with, nor endorsed by, nor operated by a government agency.