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Tennessee Fishing Licenses

Tennessee fishing licenses are required for state residents or visitors looking to fish in the state's inland waters. The TN Wildlife Resources Agency handles fishing license issuances in addition to offering plenty of opportunities for anglers to use their fishing permits in state-sanctioned bodies of water. The Wildlife Resources Agency offers a variety of different types of permits to residents, nonresidents, children and senior citizens. License types are categorized by the applicant’s residency status, age, the length of the fishing license’s validity period and the type of fish being caught. The two main classes of licenses offered by the Wildlife Resources Agency are recreational fishing licenses and commercial fishing licenses. Before purchasing a fishing credential from the state agency, anglers should first familiarize themselves with the requirements that must be met before obtaining a fishing license. For example, Tennessee fishing license holders must be at least 13 years of age prior to completing a fishing license application. Applicants must also provide a driver's license or state ID card as proof of residence in order to receive the discounted fishing license rate afforded to residents. Applicants with an out-of-state driver's license who are students at a TN educational institution or active-duty members of the military also receive discounted rates on fishing licenses. To receive the discounted rate, applicants must provide a valid student ID card or military ID card, respectively. Applicants without a TN driver's license can prove their residency by presenting a car registration or car title, a voter registration card, a mortgage contract or receipt showing real estate taxes, or an I-94 immigration form. To buy a Tennessee permit to fish, applicants must also provide a valid Social Security Number. Nonresidents can buy different kinds of daily or yearly fishing credentials. To find out more about fishing licenses in Tennessee, read the sections outlined below:

  • New recreational fishing licenses
  • Commercial fishing licenses


New Tennessee Fishing Licenses

New Tennessee fishing licenses are required for all anglers who plan to take fish out of Tennessee public waters. Applicants can buy a fishing license through the Department of Fish and Wildlife online via the department’s website, over the phone or in person from an authorized licensing agent.

Applicants who decide to buy a fishing license online can do so through the licensing system on the official TN government website. When making online purchases, applicants must provide a valid credit card in order to pay the fishing license fees. Anglers must also have access to a printer to print out a temporary license once the purchase is complete. Keep the temporary license until the official fishing license arrives in the mail.

The TN Wildlife Resources Agency also authorizes anglers to get a fishing license in Tennessee over the phone. Phone purchases can be made from March to November, Monday to Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Additional dates and times for purchase include December to February, Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Order licenses over the phone by calling the toll-free number: 1-888-814-8972. Phone purchases also require a valid credit card to pay the fees.

Anglers who decide to obtain a license to fish from an authorized license agent can visit most sporting goods stores, county clerks, TWRA offices, hardware stores or boat docks to apply.

Tennessee Commercial Fishing Licenses

Tennessee commercial fishing licenses are available for anglers who would like to fish in TN waters for the purpose of making a profit off their catches. To buy a commercial fishing license, complete a fishing license application and submit it to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The agency offers a number of different types of commercial fishing licenses. The Type 100 license is a free-of-charge Tennessee commercial fishing permit intended for senior citizens 70 years of age and older who can provide proof of age and residency. Type 100 licenses are valid through February each year, at which point licensees must reapply. For non residents, the Wildlife Resources Agency also offers license types 103, 104, 106 and 107 as well, with a few licenses giving anglers the right to catch mussels.

Type 108 and 110 are resident or nonresident commercial roe fish harvester permits and must be bought together with a type 100, 101 or 103 license. The combination gives fishermen and women the right to harvest fish labeled as “roe species” by the TN Wildlife Resources Agency. Type 111 and 112 are resident or nonresident wholesale roe fish purchaser permits. These license types must be bought together with type 113 to harvest fish labeled as “roe species” by the Wildlife Resources Agency.

Type 116 licenses are nonresident fish dealer permits. Type 116 is mandatory for all nonresident fish farmers, bait dealers and catch-out operators who would like to do business selling fish in Tennessee. Type 119 licenses are resident/nonresident commercial bow licenses that can be issued on their own. Type 119 licenses are free of charge for residents and visitors who would like to harvest grass, silver and bighead carp with a bow in order to use the catch for sale. Reports must be submitted annually.

Anglers can buy commercial fishing licenses by filling out the application and sending it with payment (check or money order) to:

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
P.O. Box 41729
Nashville, TN 37204-1729

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.