FAQs: Recreational Licenses
Do I need a freshwater or saltwater fishing license or both?
In general, you need a freshwater license to take freshwater fish and a saltwater license to take saltwater fish, unless one of the exemptions specified on this Web site applies to your situation. Obviously if you are fishing in pure fresh water where no saltwater species live, you need a freshwater license and likewise if you are fishing in the ocean you need a saltwater license.
However, when you get into estuarine type areas where salt and fresh water commingle and fish of both types can be found the issue becomes less clear. The interpretation of the rule is:
- You need either a freshwater, saltwater or combination license (or appropriate exemption) to take fish (take is legally defined as taking, attempting to take, pursuing, molesting, capturing, or killing any fish, or their nests or eggs by any means whether or not such actions result in obtaining possession of such fish or their nests or eggs).
- If you are using species specific gear, your license should be appropriate (e.g., freshwater or saltwater) to the species you are targeting, and
- Otherwise you need an appropriate type license to keep your catch and must immediately release any species for which you are not licensed. License requirements follow the species of fish, regardless of where they are caught. In other words, if you only have a freshwater license and are primarily fishing for largemouth bass or bream (freshwater species) in a river, but happen to catch a red drum (a saltwater species), you must immediately release the red drum.
How long is my license good?
Annual recreational hunting and fishing licenses expire one year from the date issued. The expiration date is printed on all the licenses.
Where can I view my current hunting and fishing licenses?
To view your current Florida recreational hunting and fishing licenses:
- Go to the FWC Recreational Licensing Issuance Services (RLIS) online license sales site at http://gooutdoorsflorida.com.
- Enter your identification information and click "Continue"
- Your current licenses will be listed. Click "Show License History" to see your expired licenses.
A fishing or hunting license is required to be with you when you are engaged the licensed activity. If your license is not listed there, it is expired. At this point, you may continue and purchase a replacement or new license or close out to end the session.
Quota hunt permits: Drawing results are posted at: http://myfwc.com/license/limited-entry-hunts/general-info/drawing-results/. To check "Check Your Application Status", enter your personal information, and Choose a Hunt Type. Drawing results are not posted until they are final.
I am listed on the National Saltwater Angler Registry, do I need a recreational saltwater fishing license to saltwater fish in Florida?
Yes, unless you are a member of a group that is exempt from Florida's recreational saltwater fishing license requirement.
How do I get a replacement fishing or hunting license?
A fishing or hunting license is required to be with you when you are engaged the licensed activity. See information about replacing a lost or stolen license.
Where do I get a license?
The least expensive place to buy is at your tax collectors office. For added convenience, many bait-and-tackle shops and sports retailers (e.g., Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Sports Authority) sell licenses, for a small additional fee. Licenses are also available via the Internet or a toll free call to credit card users, for an additional convenience fee.
What are my fees used for?
Except for the fees charged by the tax collector ($1.00) or agent ($0.50), and processing surcharges listed above, all of the money spent on fishing and licenses goes to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to provide optimum sustained use of Florida's fish and wildlife resources. In addition, each license holder that buys a license, helps the FWC to recover excise taxes from the Federal government, which you spend on items such as fishing tackle, boats, and for motor boat fuel taxes, through the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration program.
What special incentives are there?
At various times the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management arranges special bonus offers and incentives to encourage anglers to purchase a fishing license and support conservation. Although youth under 16 and seniors over 65, or anglers fishing in their county of residence with a cane pole do not need licenses, by buying one they contribute to conservation, and help the state recover more of your Federal tax money for sport fish restoration.
Does everyone on board a recreational fishing boat need a license?
No. Anyone on-board that is not fishing does not need a fishing license - even if they are on a vessel which has people fishing. Non-anglers should not in any way help with fishing, such as attaching lures, netting fish or removing fish from the hooks. Also remember you may only keep the daily bag limit (of species with bag limits) for those persons with a current license (or who are legally exempt).
You should not be surprised if an officer asks a few questions to ensure the people who are fishing are in fact properly licensed. The officer may have more questions should there, for instance, be more fishing lines in the water than there are licensed (or legally exempt) anglers.
What does a Resident 65+ Hunt/Fish certificate cover and where do I get it?
Florida residents age 65 or older only need a Florida Driver License or Identification Card to prove residency and age. They are not required to purchase the following recreational licenses and permits:
- Saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing and hunting licenses
- Snook, lobster, deer, management area, muzzleloading, turkey, archery, crossbow, *Florida waterfowl, and migratory bird permits.
While a license is not required for resident seniors, they should keep proof of age and residency in their possession while participating in these activities.
* The exemption does not apply for the federal duck stamp or tarpon tags.
What does a youth need to do to fish legally?
Youth under the age of 16 do not need a fishing license, although they must abide by all other fishing regulations such as gear type, bag and size limits. They may, however, be asked to provide proof of age.
Do I need to add the State Reef Fish Angler designation to my license?
Starting July 1, 2020, anglers age 16 and older (including those exempt from license requirements) fishing from a private boat, who plan to harvest, possess, or land specific reef fish must sign up to participate in the State Reef Fish Survey by adding the State Reef Fish Angler designation to their license or customer account.