What is a Sport Fishing License?

There is some debate about whether or not fishing is a “sport.” As thousands of bass, catfish, and walleye tournament anglers and their fans can attest, it certainly can be a “competition.” But “sport fishing” is any fishing that is not commercial. If you are not selling fish you have harvested, a sport fishing license is all you will need.

Whenever I travel to a different state, one of the first things I do is pick up a copy of the state’s sport fishing regulations. It will explain what species are available, where and when each can be caught, and what size and quantities can be kept. Don’t just skim this publication; study it carefully.  Keep one in the boat or under the seat of your truck. Some of the information regarding sport fishing rules can be complicated. Thanks to the purchase of your sport fishing license, funding continues for the sampling and research used to maintaining sustainability of the fishery for each body of water.

Bassmaster Elite tournament anglers must purchase an out of state sport fishing license in each state they compete. The 2019 tournament trail was released recently and anglers will be fishing in at least 9 states including California.  A nonresident California sport fishing license is about $130. This may sound like a lot but when you consider the year-long chance of landing a double digit largemouth or spotted bass, as well as the many other opportunities this affords, it sounds like a bargain!

A fishing license is the same as a “sport fishing license” as long as you are “just” fishing for recreation, relaxation, or good old fun. These licenses can be purchased as “lifetime,” yearly, or just a couple of days for travelers and are easily obtained online or via most sporting goods stores. How many states have you fished in this year?


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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.