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New York Fishing Licenses

New York fishing licenses are required of resident and nonresident anglers alike. An NY license to fish grants both professional and recreational fishermen access to catch in the coastal and inland waters of the state. New York fishing licenses are issued by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and can be obtained online, by phone or in person at one of the many licensed agent locations. Resident fishing license applicants may need to show proof of residence before getting fishing licenses that are appropriate for them. In general, permits are valid for one year. For the occasional angler, seven-day and one-day fishing licenses may be more suitable options. To be eligible for a fishing license, you must be at least 16 years of age. Individuals under 16 years of age are free to participate in the sport without having to obtain a license to fish. Certain sectors of the population of New York are eligible for discounted or free fishing permits. Senior citizens 70 years of age or older, members of the military on active duty in the state, nonresidents who are enrolled in a university or college in NY, legally blind residents and military veterans with disabilities greater than 40 percent are eligible to get discounted rates on NY fishing licenses. In addition, avid New York resident outdoorsmen and women can obtain fishing privileges that do not expire by purchasing a lifetime fishing license. For more information on how to get a fishing license in New York, click this link. The following are the two main types of fishing credentials available in New York State:

  • Freshwater fishing licenses
  • Saltwater fishing licenses


New York Freshwater Fishing Licenses

With a New York freshwater fishing license, anglers in the state can take advantage of some of the richest and most diverse fish species in the country. There are around 165 freshwater fish species living in lakes, rivers, streams and ponds, making freshwater fishing in New York a very rewarding experience. To gain access to these waters, you must first get a New York freshwater license through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Residents and nonresidents can buy freshwater fishing licenses online, by phone and in person. To buy freshwater fishing permits online via the automated licensing system, register for a username and password on the official NY DEC website. When ordering online, be sure that you have access to print the fishing license immediately as you will not receive a document in the mail. Also, you will need to provide your driver’s license number and credit card payment information to place your order.

To purchase a fishing license by phone, dial: 1-866-933-2257. You will receive a confirmation number to serve as a proof of your fishing credential until you get your license in the mail.

Finally, if you would rather visit an authorized license agent to purchase your permit to fish in person, you can find locations and contact information on the official NYS DEC website.

New York Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Getting an NY saltwater fishing license is required for those who would like to fish in the coastal waters of New York State. Anglers can fish for winter and summer flounder, Atlantic cod, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more. The state rules and regulations for saltwater fishing are specific in terms of licensing. Before planning your fishing trip, register with the recreational marine fishing registry (a no-fee registration required for fishing in coastal waters, marine waters or the Hudson River and its tributaries). Next, check the fishing seasons and learn about the catch limits. Then, buy a saltwater fishing permit online, by phone or from an authorized license agent.

Note: If you would like to fish for profit in NYS, you must get a commercial fishing license. Commercial fishing is a developed industry branch in the state, and there are several different kinds of commercial fishing licenses to choose from, depending on the type of business you do. You can find each of these licenses on the official DEC website, together with brief descriptions and appropriate application forms. Additionally, commercial fishermen are required to submit vessel trip reports to the DEC, stating the catch species, the amount, the area of fishing and the gear used. If you would like to learn more about commercial fishing permits, rules and regulations in New York State, call 631-444-5621, or send an email to:

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.