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Rhode Island Fishing Licenses
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Getting a Rhode Island fishing license is required to fish in state public waters for both residents and visitors. All fishing licenses are issued by the RI Department of Environmental Management. Factors that affect the category of each fishing license include the applicant’s residency status, age, the length of the license’s validity period and where the fishing is taking place. Whether you would like to purchase an RI freshwater fishing license or a license to saltwater fish, the Department of Environmental Management requires all fishermen and women to complete the fishing license application process and submit the appropriate fishing license fees. Anglers who would like to engage in both types of fishing must purchase two separate licenses, as there is currently no combination saltwater and freshwater fishing license. The cost of each Rhode Island fishing permit depends on a few factors, most notably the applicant’s residency status. Disabled individuals in Rhode Island must complete a separate form to receive their fishing license at a reduced rate. The state fishing department accepts license applications in one of two ways: online, through the Department of Environmental Management website, or in person. To buy a fishing permit in person, visit either the Department of Environmental Management office in Wakefield or purchase a license through an approved license vendor. Most town clerks are also authorized to sell Rhode Island licenses to fish and licenses to hunt. To find out more about how to get fishing licenses in Rhode Island, read the sections outlined below:

  • Freshwater fishing licenses
  • Saltwater fishing licenses

Rhode Island Freshwater Fishing Licenses

Various freshwater fishing licenses are available to both residents of Rhode Island and non residents visiting the state. Each individual license to fish is applicable to a certain group of individuals depending on factors such as the applicant’s age and residency status. The RI Department of Environmental Management issues a number of different types of RI freshwater fishing permits including residential fishing licenses for fresh water, non resident fishing licenses for fresh water, three-day tourist freshwater fishing licenses and trout fishing stamps.

Residents of Rhode Island will need to show proof of residency when they submit the fishing license application in order to be issued a resident freshwater fishing permit at a reduced rate. Residents can prove this status by providing a state driver’s license or ID card. Active-duty military members can also present their active military identification number to get a residential fishing permit.

Annual freshwater fishing permits in Rhode Island are valid from March 1 to the last day of February the following year. The Department of Environmental Management also offers short-term fishing licenses (i.e. one-day licenses, three-day licenses, etc.)

Note: Senior residents 65 years of age or older are eligible to receive a freshwater fishing license at no cost. To complete this modified application process, senior anglers must meet in person with an authorized license vendor or go to a town clerk.

Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Saltwater fishing permits in Rhode Island can be purchased either online or at a local Department of Environmental Management office. To buy saltwater fishing licenses online, applicants must submit certain personal information through the online system, including their state driver’s license or ID card number, daytime phone number and date of birth.

Applicants will also need a valid credit card to pay the appropriate fishing license fees. To complete the order, applicants should have a printer properly set up to print out their new Rhode Island fishing license.

To partake in saltwater fishing trips in the state’s waters, Rhode Island wildlife officials accept both recreational saltwater licenses from Rhode Island and recreational saltwater licenses from a reciprocal state. Additionally, the Department also accepts a national saltwater angler registration card. However, certain groups of individuals are exempt from getting a saltwater license to fish, including disabled or blind anglers, anglers with highly migratory species angling permits, and anglers who are on leave from active-duty military service (must present military ID to officials when requested). Additional exempt groups include anglers younger than 16 years of age, anglers fishing on a licensed charter boat, anglers with licensing from a reciprocal state and anglers with an NOAA Fisheries registration card.

Note: The state of Rhode Island does not currently offer a freshwater/saltwater fishing combo license.

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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