Get a South Carolina Fishing License

Buy your South Carolina fishing license, check the SC fishing regulations, and then head to a spot like Santee State Park where you can cast a line out on Lake Marion to catch a largemouth bass or crappie. Or, if saltwater fishing is your preference, you can take the kids to fish from the pier at Hunting Island State Park and see if the spotted sea trout or flounder are biting.

Get a South Carolina Fishing License
Fishing License

South Carolina Fishing Licenses

From freshwater streams and rivers to the Atlantic coast, South Carolina offers plentiful fishing experiences for all angers. But before you enjoy some of the finest fishing in the country, you need to familiarize yourself with the state’s regulations. And one of the most essential is the license requirement.

In South Carolina, everyone 16 an older is required to obtain a fishing license. And that’s true whether you’re a resident or visitor to the state. Anglers must keep their license in their position while engaging in fishing activities.


Types of Fishing Licenses

South Carolina offers options to purchase a temporary, annual, or three-year license. But depending on your residency, age, type of species you’re after and other factors, there may be other license choices available to you. Here’s a summary of all the various fishing licenses you can get in South Carolina.

Residents: To qualify as a resident, you must be domiciled in South Carolina for 30 days and show proof of residency when obtaining your license. Military personnel and dependents stations in South Carolina for 30 days or longer or who are domiciled in the state are eligible for resident privileges. In addition, students who are enrolled full time in a South Carolina educational institution are eligible for resident privileges with a valid student ID.

  • Resident Freshwater Fishing Licenses
    • 14-day, annual or three-year
  • Resident Saltwater Fishing Licenses
  • Resident Nongame Freshwater Fishing License (Nongame devices)
  • Resident Combination Fishing & Hunting Licenses (Hunting, big game and freshwater fishing)
    • Annual
    • Three-year
  • Resident Sportsman License (Hunting, big game, wildlife management areas and freshwater fishing)
    • Annual
    • Three- year
  • Resident Disability Fishing License or Disability Combination License
    • Three-year
  • Lifetime License (Age-based)

If you obtain a South Carolina fishing license then move outside the state, you can continue to use the privileges until they expire.

Nonresidents: A nonresident is anyone who doesn’t meet the definition of a resident.

  • Nonresident Freshwater Fishing Licenses
    • 14-day
    • Annual
    • Three-year
  • Nonresident Saltwater Fishing Licenses
    • 14-day
    • Annual
    • Three-year
    • Annual Public Fishing Pier


Reciprocal Fishing Licenses

If you hold a valid freshwater fishing license from Georgia, you’ll be allowed to fish in certain waters in South Carolina under what’s referred to as a reciprocal license agreement. These bodies of water include all channels of the Savannah River, from its mouth to the confluence of the Tugaloo and the Seneca rivers, and the Chattooga River to the boundary line between Georgia and North Carolina.


License Costs

South Carolina fishing license fees are subject to change each year. For current pricing, you visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website or contact the Department’s license division by phone or email. You can also find out the fees at the numerous license vendors throughout the state.


Where to Get a South Carolina Fishing License

The easiest way to obtain a license is online at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website. To obtain a license, you’ll need your Social Security number. If you’re applying for a resident license, you’ll also need to proof of residency such as an unexpired South Carolina driver’s license or identification card. Once approved, your license will be mailed to you.

If you prefer to purchase your license in person, the Department maintains a list of local license vendors by city and county.

You also have the option of mailing in a fishing license application.