Reasons Why You Should Avoid Fishing Without a License

By Andy Whitcomb

Sep 05, 2019

With a couple of exceptions, Fishing without a license is not a good idea. Find more information about why, and how to get a fishing license.  

That’s right. There aren’t any reasons to go fishing without a license.

Now, can you fish without a license? Maybe. There are a few exceptions. For example, if you are under the age of 16. Or, when your state is holding one of the Free Fishing Days.

But the fine for fishing without a license could be steep. Depending on the situation, state, and the conservation officer, similarly to a driver’s license violation, you could get a stern warning or slapped with a fine that could be hundreds of dollars.

And buying a fishing license online or at any fishing tackle selling store is a pretty simple and painless process. So excuses such as not knowing how to get a fishing license, where to buy a fishing license, or having confusion buying a fishing license online, probably will not gain much leniency. There also are possible discounts for seniors, military members, or disabled anglers so start by checking with your state’s fishing web site.

Plus, funds raised from the purchase of your fishing license go back into improving your fishing opportunities. Which is extraordinary, if you consider some other licenses you might possess. When you bought your dog license, did you receive an improved dog house, blanket, and bag of chow?

Pick your battles. Fishing without a license simply isn’t worth the risk of a fine for fishing without a license and the funds are used to your advantage. Now go get your license and see if there are bluegills that would like those crickets.

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.