Here’s What You Need to Get a Fishing License

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 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.