BlogApril 2020

Fishing License Fees Help You Fish

Fishing License Fees Help You Fish

By Andy Whitcomb

Apr 01, 2020

Purchase of a fishing license raises money that goes right back into improving fishing opportunities. Here’s how:

That’s right. According to agencies in the know (USFWS, NMMA, ASA, and SFR), every bit of the revenue from when you renew your fishing license goes back into trying to improve your fishing experiences. Here are a few reminders of how fishing license fees are used:

  • Angler and boater access. With your fishing license renewal, funds are available for your state perhaps to increase shoreline fishing access by purchasing additional park land. Boat ramp maintenance and public fishing docks also greatly benefit from fishing license fees.
  • Fish research. Despite results from our mad fishing skills, the best way to monitor a fishery is to obtain scientific data. By using a variety of sampling methods, fisheries biologists can not only gauge the quality of the fishing, but can predict trends to maximize future fishing. Also, spawning areas and times can be recognized and thus, better protected.
  • Education. Knowledge is power. To protect our aquatic resources, it is important that we are all on the same page with information such as identification of invasive species, best catch and release practices, and explanations of continually changing other management practices and regulations.
  • Habitat management. Fishing license fees also help with a wide range of fish management projects and other wildlife conservation. The addition of plants to help control runoff, collecting and sinking Christmas trees for fish structure, or the control of invasive species of aquatic plants and animals are three examples of how this money helps.
  • Fish stocking. In western Pennsylvania, trout fishing is primarily a “put and take” fishery. Every spring the state hatcheries load the streams with rainbow, brown, and brook trout. Even though many anglers prefer catch and release practices, after the first weekend or two of “trout season,” most of those trout have been harvested. The state just completed hasty stocking efforts and perhaps now, more than ever, everyone needs to see these fish back in the streams.

An evening at the movies could exceed a fishing license cost, especially if you are buying popcorn and a drink. And that is just one night of entertainment. When you renew your fishing license, you’ve not only purchased a year of fishing entertainment but you have contributed to many years to come.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.