Demystifying New York Fishing Licenses: Everything You Need to Know!

Do I need a fishing license in New York?


Fishing is a beloved pastime for many outdoor enthusiasts, providing relaxation and the thrill of catching your own dinner. If you’re planning to cast your line in the beautiful state of New York, it’s important to know whether or not you need a fishing license. In this blog post, we’ll explore the regulations surrounding fishing licenses in New York State and help answer any questions you may have.

The Importance of Fishing Licenses

Fishing licenses play a crucial role in managing fish populations and conserving natural resources. They ensure that individuals partaking in recreational fishing abide by legal guidelines set forth by government authorities. By obtaining a fishing license, anglers contribute to funding various conservation efforts that aim to protect wildlife habitats and maintain sustainable fisheries.

Fishing License Requirements

Resident Fishing Licenses

If you are at least 16 years old and reside within New York State for more than 30 days, you are required to obtain a resident fishing license. This applies regardless of whether you plan on freshwater or saltwater fishing. The cost of these licenses varies depending on factors such as age and duration.

Ages 16-69:

For residents between the ages of 16-69, an annual resident freshwater fishing license costs $25 while an annual resident saltwater marine district permit costs $10. Alternatively, residents can purchase a combined annual freshwater/saltwater recreational marine fishing privileges package for $40.

Ages 70+

Residents aged 70 or older can enjoy reduced fees with an annual senior freshwater fishing license available for just $5. Saltwater marine district permits remain priced at $10.

Military Members/Veterans Discounts

Active duty military personnel stationed in New York and veterans with a service-related disability are eligible for free fishing licenses. These licenses provide access to both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Non-Resident Fishing Licenses

If you’re visiting New York State and plan on enjoying its fishing opportunities, you will need a non-resident fishing license regardless of age. The fees for non-residents differ from those of residents but still contribute towards conservation efforts.

Ages 16+

For non-residents aged 16 or older, an annual non-resident freshwater fishing license costs $50 while an annual non-resident saltwater marine district permit is priced at $15. A combined annual freshwater/saltwater recreational marine fishing privileges package is available for $70.

Ages 12-15

Younger anglers between the ages of 12-15 are required to purchase a junior non-resident license, which costs just $5 for either freshwater or saltwater fishing. Again, a combined package can be purchased for $7.

Exceptions and Special Cases

Free Fishing Days

To encourage people to experience the joys of angling without financial barriers, New York offers designated “free fishing days.” During these select days throughout the year, anyone can fish in New York’s waters without needing a license. It’s important to note that all other regulations regarding catch sizes and species restrictions still apply during these free days.

Fishing on Licensed Charter Boats/Paid Guides

When hiring licensed charter boat services or engaging paid guides in New York State, individuals do not require their own separate individual recreational licenses as they are covered by the respective vessel operator’s master license or guide license. However, it’s always wise to double-check with your chosen charter company or guide beforehand so there are no surprises.


In conclusion, if you plan on fishing in New York State, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the fishing license requirements. Whether you’re a resident or non-resident, obtaining a valid fishing license supports conservation efforts and ensures compliance with regulations. Remember to check for any exceptions such as free fishing days or when hiring professional services. So grab your gear, get licensed, and enjoy the thrill of casting your line amidst the beauty of New York’s waterways!