Uncovering Arkansas Fishing: License-Free Angling Explained!

The Rules and Regulations of Fishing in Arkansas


Fishing is a popular recreational activity enjoyed by many people across the state of Arkansas. The vast array of lakes, rivers, and streams make it an ideal destination for anglers seeking to hook their next big catch. However, before heading out on your fishing adventure, it’s essential to understand the rules and regulations regarding fishing licenses.

Do I Need a License to Fish in Arkansas?

A common question asked by both residents and visitors alike is whether or not a fishing license is required when casting a line in Arkansas waters. In most cases, the answer is yes – you will need to obtain a fishing license from the appropriate authorities.

License Requirements for Residents

If you are an Arkansas resident aged 16 years or older, you must possess a valid fishing license issued by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) when engaging in recreational fishing activities within state boundaries.

License Requirements for Non-Residents

If you are visiting from outside of Arkansas, regardless of age or residency status, you will also need to acquire an appropriate fishing license provided by AGFC before participating in any fishing activities within state waters.

Fishing License Options

The AGFC offers various types of licenses tailored to suit different needs:

1. Annual Fishing License

An annual fishing license allows individuals unlimited access to fish throughout the calendar year. This type of license proves particularly worthwhile if planning multiple trips over time.

2. One-Day Fishing Trip Permit

If your visit is limited or if you want just one day’s worth of angling fun while exploring beautiful water bodies in Arkansas during your stay, the one-day fishing trip permit is an ideal choice. This option grants you the necessary permissions for a single day without the commitment of an annual license.

3. Three-Day Tourist License

The AGFC also offers a special three-day tourist license designed specifically for out-of-state visitors who wish to enjoy Arkansas’s fishing opportunities during their short-term stays.

How to Obtain Your Fishing License

Purchasing a fishing license in Arkansas is convenient and accessible through various methods:

1. Online Purchase

The easiest and most time-efficient way to obtain your fishing license is by visiting the official AGFC website. Here, you can quickly navigate to the appropriate section and purchase your desired license with just a few clicks.

2. Local Retailers

If online purchases do not suit your preferences, you have the option of visiting local retailers across Arkansas that are authorized to sell fishing licenses on behalf of AGFC. These include sporting goods stores, bait shops, and even some convenience stores.

Fishing License Exemptions

In certain scenarios, certain individuals may be exempt from obtaining a fishing license:

1. Children under 16 Years Old

In line with encouraging youth participation in outdoor activities, children aged 15 years or younger are not required to possess a valid fishing license while accompanied by someone who possesses one themselves.

2. Free Fishing Days

To promote angling as well as introduce newcomers to this wonderful hobby, Arkansas designates specific “Free Fishing Days” throughout the year where both residents and non-residents can fish without purchasing licenses or permits during those timeframes.

Fishing Responsibly in Arkansas Waters

While enjoying your fishing expeditions in Arkansas, it’s crucial to follow responsible angling practices:

Fish Size and Bag Limits

It is imperative to familiarize yourself with the specific size limits and bag limits set by AGFC for different fish species. These regulations aim to conserve fish populations and ensure sustainable fishing practices.

Fishing Season Restrictions

In addition to size and bag limits, be aware of seasonal restrictions on certain water bodies or specific species during their spawning periods. This knowledge helps preserve vulnerable fish populations.


Fishing in Arkansas offers a wealth of recreational opportunities for both residents and visitors alike. While a fishing license is generally required, exemptions exist for children under 16 years old and designated “Free Fishing Days.” By obtaining the appropriate licensing, adhering to regulations, practicing catch-and-release when necessary, we can all contribute towards preserving our pristine waters for future generations of anglers.