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Kentucky Fishing Licenses
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Getting a Kentucky fishing license is required for anglers and professional fishermen who would like to fish legally in the state’s lakes and streams. Both residents and non residents older than the age of 16 are allowed to obtain a fishing permit. If you fish without a valid fishing document, the state will take legal actions that consist of fines and other penalties. Fishing credentials are issued by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, and depending on the kind of fishing you would like to partake in, several permits are available. Options include resident fishing licenses, joint fishing permits for spouses, licenses for seniors, one-day fishing permits and a variety of non resident fishing licenses. Licenses to fish in Kentucky can be obtained online, in person or by phone. For online purchases, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Online License Sales site, where you will be further instructed about the application and payment process. If you would like to get a fishing license in person, stop by one of the many license vendor locations in the state. If you are unable to buy a fishing permit online or in person, purchase your permit by phone. In order to learn how to submit a fishing license application in Kentucky, as well as read about the different types of licenses, check out the detailed explanations in the sections below. The state of KY offers two main types of fishing licenses:

  • New fishing licenses
  • Commercial fishing licenses

New Kentucky Fishing Licenses

New fishing licenses in Kentucky may be obtained in a number of different ways, including online and in person. For example, buy your license to fish online via the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Online License Sales website, where you can select your most suitable fishing permit. Prepare a valid credit card to pay the fishing license fees. Note that the system will issue you an authorization number in lieu of a paper fishing permit. You are required to carry the number with you when you fish, as it is considered a valid fishing document.

Another way to obtain a new fishing credential is by phone. To complete this process, follow these specific steps:

  • Call the KY Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources any time of day or night at 1-877-598-2401.
  • Have a valid credit card on your person to pay any required licensing fees.
  • Write down the authorization number you are provided with before the end of your transaction.
  • Request a paper fishing permit if you so choose at the prompt.

For anglers who would like to get a fishing license in person, more than 900 various locations throughout the state provide this service. Such examples include county clerks offices, fishing and hunting stores, as well as sporting goods stores. Plus, find vendor locations on the official KY DFWR website. Additionally, you can look for places to fish in Kentucky, as well as how to make the best of the Fishing in Neighborhoods program, through which you can plan a family fishing trip in smaller lakes near certain cities.

Kentucky Commercial Fishing Licenses

Kentucky commercial fishing licenses are a necessity if you intend to gain profit from selling fish. In KY, commercial permits can be issued to both residents and non residents, with differences in fees. These licenses are issued only by the KY DFWR Frankfort office. The commercial fishing permit in Kentucky is valid for only the period of a year, but you must have it on you at all times when fishing. If you would like to know more about how to get a commercial fishing permit, call the KY DFWR toll-free number at 1-800-858-1549. If you would like to submit an application for this type of license, visit the KY DFRW website and download the Commercial License Application Form. You will be asked to provide your personal information, as well as indicate the type of license you intend to purchase. Send your completed form to:

Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife
Division of Administrative Services
#1 Sportsman’s Lane
Frankfort, KY 40601

Note: You can also find applications for different kinds of commercial fishing on the official KY DFWR website.

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.
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