Here’s What You Need to Get a Fishing License

By Andy Whitcomb

Nov 21, 2018

Getting a fishing license is easy.  Here is the information you’ll need to get you started.

The first step of any successful fishing outing is to determine what you need to get a fishing license. Once you have the documents needed for a fishing license, the process is easy. And, it’s getting easier all the time.

Look up what you need to get a fishing license in your state online. State requirements differ, depending on the type, duration, and location you want. This can save you some time and possible frustration.  But here are some common documents needed for a fishing license.

A Driver's License

If purchasing in person from a fishing license vendor, a driver’s license is important because it has your picture and signature which can be used to verify your identity.  It also shows your address, which is useful for purchasing a “resident fishing license” and age, which can be helpful if there is a senior discount.

Identification Card

If you don’t drive, you’ll need an identification card which has been issued by the state or a similar document such as a passport. Additionally, you may be required to produce utility bills at your residence to prove that you qualify for a resident fishing license, which is less expensive than a non-resident license.

Social Security Number

Additionally, you will need to provide your social security number in some states, so if you don’t have it memorized by now, you’ll need that card too. Once all of this information is entered into the state’s database, you may be assigned a customer ID number. Then, for renewals and such, you may only need that number, which will be located on your old fishing license.

Military ID (if applicable)

If you are in the military (thank you, by the way!), producing a military ID card may be worth a discount in your state. A fishing license makes a fantastic gift idea and fishing license vouchers may be available too, but you’ll still need the same information for the lucky recipient, which may be a little tricky to obtain if you want it to be a surprise.

Once you have located what you need to get a fishing license, either online or in person, you actually can come very close to buying happiness. Then, just check the local fishing report to help point you in the right direction. And note, that while in every state you have to have the state fishing license on you, some states like Pennsylvania you actually have to have it ON you, pinned and exposed, so read the fine print.

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.