If you cast a line or catch and release, you need a fishing license. Someone who is passively participating (setting decoys, calling birds or baiting hooks), whether actively fishing or hunting or not, must have a license and appropriate permits.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 379.354, the following individuals are EXEMPT from recreational hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing licenses as well as Florida waterfowl, migratory bird, deer, turkey, shook, spiny lobster, archery, crossbow, muzzle loading and management area permit requirements (unless noted, these exemptions do not apply to federal duck stamp requirements): Youth under 16 years of age (also exempt from federal duck stamp requirements).
Disabled veterans or active or reserve duty military service members and their immediate family members and assistants, who are participating in a permitted outdoor recreational event, for which the Commission has issued a Military/Disabled Veteran Event License Exemption Permit to the event organizer. A fishpond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters.
Florida's residents saltwater fishing from land or a structure fixed to land who have been determined eligible for the food stamp, temporary cash assistance, or Medicaid Program by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Proof of identification and a benefit issuance or program identification card issued by DCF or the Agency for Health Care Administration must be in possession when fishing.
Florida's residents saltwater fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing -line-retrieval mechanism, for noncommercial purposes in their home county (does not include fish management areas within the home county). Reading Time: 5minutes Fishing is such an important part of life in the Sunshine State that you’ll find it hard not to pick up a rod while you’re here.
Our advice is to purchase both a salt and a freshwater license if you’re planning to catch a variety of fish. If you catch a fish you’re not covered for, make sure to release it immediately.
The good news for visitors to Florida is that saltwater fishing charters cover licensing for everyone on board, so you can just sit back and enjoy your time on the water. Fish with a guide in freshwater, however, and you’ll still need to purchase your own license.
Additionally, the following groups don’t need to pay to fish: Military personnel from Florida can fish for free if they’re visiting home for up to a month.
Florida's residents receiving benefits or food stamps can do land-based saltwater fishing without a license. Anyone whose eligible to fish without a license should make sure to bring proof to show the Coast Guard.
The price of a Florida license depends on whether you’re a Florida resident or if you’re visiting from out of state. Saltwater/freshwater combo licenses are available for Florida residents only and allow you to fish all types of waterways, from the Gulf of Mexico, to the Atlantic, to inland rivers and streams.
Here’s our rundown of what residents and non-residents need to pay for the various available fishing licenses: License Type Resident CostNonresident Cost 3-Day Freshwater N/A$17 7-Day Freshwater N/A$30 Annual Freshwater $$1747 5-Year Freshwater $79N/A 3-Day Saltwater N/A$17 7-Day Saltwater N/A$30 Annual Saltwater $$1747 5-Year Saltwater $79N/A Annual Freshwater/Saltwater Combo $32.50N/ATO count as a Florida resident for fishing purposes, you should either have declared Florida as your only state of residence or be a member of the US Armed Forces who is stationed in Florida.
Apart from a small processing fee, all the money you spend goes to the Florida Wildlife Commission (FCC). It’s all invested into keeping Florida ’s fishery healthy and sustainable.
Anglers in private boats also need a free permit to fish for popular reef species like Snappers and Groupers. You can buy a Florida license online or at a number of registered retailers.
That said, many people find the added convenience of getting licensed in Walmart, online, or at your local tackle shop is worth the small additional fee that these places charge. Unlike some states, annual fishing licenses in Florida are valid for 12 months from the date they were issued.
You can fish Georgia's sections of the St Mary’s River and Lake Seminole with an FL license. Senior Florida residents don’t need a license to fish or to harvest Shook and Lobster.
Importantly, you must carry proof of age and address at all times while fishing. The only exception is military personnel stationed in Florida, who count as residents for licensing purposes.
So dig into your garage for that idle rod and reel, pick up some bait at your local tackle shop and get out there to enjoy the outdoors. Under Florida law, all anglers fishing in salt or freshwater, whether from a boat or from shore, are required to have a license in their possession with few exceptions (seniors over 65 and children under 16).
A shook or spiny lobster permit are also not required on these days. Saltwater fishing from shore is free year around for Florida residents of all ages, but you must obtain a free license and have it in your possession while fishing.
Salt or freshwater fishing licenses are issued separately and cost $17 a year each for Florida residents. The state’s fishing -license-by-phone service is a beautiful thing, and it has come in handy more than once for me.
You are out on your boat, riding out to your fishing hole, only to discover your license had expired. I called from my cell phone, charged my renewal, and they issued my new license number on the spot.
One time I was caught without a pen, so I carved the number into my fish-measuring stick. Download the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission app “Fish | Hunt Florida from Apple App Store or Google Play, and you’re in business.
Bob Rowntree is a retired journalist who has lived in Florida for 40 years, all the while exploring back roads, hidden beaches and scenic parks with kayaks, travel trailer, beach toys and bicycles in tow. Co-founder of FloridaRambler.com with fellow journalist Bonnie Gross, Bob been writing about outdoor recreation around the state since 2010.