Get a New York Fishing License

New York is one state that proves fishing isn’t just something you can do while out in the country or camping. You can purchase a New York fishing license for the experience of landing a lunker largemouth bass while being surrounded by skyscrapers in Central Park. Or, if urban fishing isn’t your style, try catching a brook trout on a fly rod while in the Catskill Mountains on Schoharie Creek.

Get a New York Fishing License
Fishing License

New York Fishing Licenses Requirements

In New York, those who are 16 or older will need a fishing license to fish for freshwater species. There are some exceptions to this rule. Licenses are not required for:

  • New York resident owners, lessees and members of their immediate families occupying and cultivating farmlands when fishing on their lands
  • Those holding farm fishpond licenses and members of their immediate families when fishing on waters covered by their licenses
  • Resident patients at Department of Mental health institutions and Department of Health rehabilitation hospitals and inmates of Division of Youth rehabilitation centers
  • Anglers fishing on licensed fishing preserves
  • Anyone fishing on a free fishing day

As a holder of a freshwater fishing license in New York, you’ll be able to take fish by several methods, including angling, spearing, hooking, nets and traps.

Saltwater Registration Requirements

There’s no license requirement for saltwater angling. However, you’ll need to register if you are 16 or older if you plan to fish for saltwater fish species in the marine and coastal district or migratory fish of the sea within tidal waters of the Hudson River and its tributaries or waters of the Delaware River or Mohawk River.

There are some exceptions to this registration requirement as well. Specifically, those from Connecticut or Rhode Island who have a recreational fishing license/registration from those states don’t need to register.

There is no cost for the marine registry. The purpose is simply to provide fishing activity information that is used to set quotas, size and bag limits, and fishing seasons each year.

Types of Fishing Licenses

There are several types of freshwater licenses in New York depending on your residency and duration of the license. The options are:

  • Resident
    • Lifetime fishing or combined hunting, fishing and turkey, the cost for which varies based on your age
    • Annual, which differs in price according to your age
    • 7-day
    • 1-day
    • Military/disabled
  • Non-resident
    • Annual
    • 7-day
    • 1-day

To qualify for a resident license, you must live in New York for more than 30 days immediately before applying. It’s important to note that simply owning land in New York doesn’t make you a resident; residency means having a fixed permanent and principal home in the state.


License Fees

The fees for the various freshwater fishing licenses are subject to change each year. They are published in the annual New York freshwater fishing regulations guide.

In certain cases, if you’re a resident, you can be eligible for a free fishing license if you are:

  • legally blind
  • an active service member
  • on full-time active duty in the US Armed Forces and on leave in New York for 30 days or less

Where to Buy Your New York Fishing License

When it comes to buying your New York fishing license, you have several options. You can purchase it:

  • at License Issuing Agents, such as town clerks, some major discount stores and tackle shops
  • online through the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) automated system
  • by phone by calling the DEC

To buy a resident license online, you’ll need to have your New York driver’s license, learner’s permit, or non-driver’s ID.