Demystifying Fishing Licenses for Kids in Pennsylvania: What Parents Should Know

Do Kids Need a Fishing License in Pennsylvania?


Fishing is not only an enjoyable pastime but also a great way for kids to connect with nature and learn valuable skills. If you’re a parent in Pennsylvania, you might be wondering if your child needs a fishing license before casting their line into one of the state’s beautiful lakes or rivers. In this blog post, we will delve into the regulations surrounding fishing licenses for children in Pennsylvania.

Fishing Licenses in General

Before discussing whether kids need fishing licenses specifically, let’s first understand the requirements for obtaining fishing licenses in general. In Pennsylvania, anyone older than 16 years old must possess a valid fishing license to fish legally unless they qualify for an exemption outlined by the Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).

Fishing Licenses Exemptions

Fortunately, there are exemptions that apply to children who wish to engage in angling activities without obtaining a separate license:

Mentored Youth Program

The Mentored Youth Program implemented by PFBC allows youngsters under 16 years old to participate in angling activities without needing an individual fishing license. Under this program, children must be accompanied by an adult mentor who holds either an annual or lifetime PA Fishing License.

Family Fishing Festival Exemption

Another exception is during Family Fishing Festivals organized by PFBC where individuals can fish without acquiring any license regardless of age restrictions; these events provide families with opportunities to bond while enjoying time outdoors together.

The Benefits of Children Having Their Own License

Although exemptions exist, it may still be beneficial for parents to consider having their children obtain their own fishing licenses:

Pride and Responsibility

By getting their own license, kids develop responsibility towards following rules and regulations associated with angling. It also fosters a sense of pride and ownership, as they will have an official document that acknowledges their participation in this beloved activity.


While the exemptions are fantastic options, having a license allows kids to fish independently or with friends without being solely reliant on an adult mentor. This flexibility can enhance their fishing experience and encourage more outdoor exploration.

How to Obtain a Fishing License for Kids

If you decide your child should obtain their own fishing license, here’s how you can go about it:

Purchase Online or In-person

You can conveniently purchase a youth fishing license online through the PFBC website or at authorized retailers across Pennsylvania. The process is straightforward and requires basic personal information such as name, address, and date of birth.


The cost for youth fishing licenses is generally lower compared to adult licenses. These fees contribute towards conservation efforts by supporting habitat restoration projects and fisheries management programs.

In Conclusion

In Pennsylvania, children under 16 years old do not need individual fishing licenses if they participate in the Mentored Youth Program or attend Family Fishing Festivals regulated by PFBC. However, obtaining their own license offers numerous benefits like instilling responsibility and providing flexibility for independent angling experiences. If you choose to get your child a fishing license, acquiring one is easy either online or at authorized retailers throughout the state. So why wait? Encourage your kids to enjoy nature responsibly while creating memorable experiences through this timeless recreational activity!