Fishing in New York: When Do You Need a Fishing License?

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in New York?

Fishing is a popular recreational activity enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, it’s important to know the legal requirements for fishing licenses in your state. In New York, like many other states, there are specific age restrictions and regulations that govern when you need to obtain a fishing license.

Age Requirements for Fishing Licenses

In New York State, individuals aged 16 and older are required to have a valid fishing license before they can engage in recreational fishing activities. This requirement applies regardless of whether you are a resident or non-resident of the state.

If you are younger than 16 years old, however, congratulations! You do not need a fishing license to fish in New York State. It’s an excellent opportunity for young anglers to explore their passion for fishing without any additional paperwork or fees.

The Benefits of Obtaining a Fishing License

While children under 16 may not require a fishing license, there are several benefits that come with obtaining one:

  1. Legal Compliance: Having a valid fishing license ensures that you comply with state regulations and avoid potential fines or penalties.
  2. Variety of Fisheries: With your license in hand, you gain access to numerous lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds across the beautiful state of New York where you can cast your line and enjoy different types of fish species.
  3. Catch Limitations: A valid fishing license allows anglers to adhere to catch limitations outlined by the authorities. These limits ensure sustainable management practices and help preserve fish populations for future generations.
  4. Supporting Conservation Efforts: The fees collected from fishing licenses contribute to conservation initiatives, habitat restoration, and fish stocking programs that aim to improve the overall health of New York’s aquatic ecosystems.

Purchasing a Fishing License in New York

To obtain a fishing license in New York State, you have various options available:

  1. Online: Visit the official website of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and follow the simple steps to purchase your fishing license online. You can choose between annual licenses or short-term ones based on your preference.
  2. In-Person: If you prefer a personal touch or need assistance with your purchase, you can visit one of several authorized agents across the state. These include sporting goods stores, bait shops, town clerks’ offices, and NYSDEC regional offices.
  3. By Phone: Dial 1-866-933-2257 (1-86-NY-DECALS) for help in purchasing your fishing license over the phone.

Fishing License Fees and Validity Periods

The cost of a fishing license varies depending on factors such as residency status and duration. Here are some key points to keep in mind about fees and validity periods when buying a fishing license in New York:

  • A resident freshwater annual license costs $25 while non-residents pay $50 for the same privileges.
    • Fees differ if you wish to combine hunting and fishing privileges or opt for marine licenses instead.
  • Annual licenses are valid from October 1st through September 30th of the following year. However, they are available for purchase at any time during the year.
    • Short-term licenses provide flexibility and can be purchased for 1-day ($5), 7-day ($12), or 30-day ($20) durations.


    Knowing when you need a fishing license in New York is crucial to ensure compliance with state regulations and enjoy your fishing experience legally. Remember, individuals aged 16 years and older must obtain a valid fishing license, while those younger than 16 do not require one. However, obtaining a fishing license offers numerous benefits such as access to diverse fisheries, adherence to catch limitations, supporting conservation efforts, and contributing towards sustainable management practices. Obtain your fishing license online or through authorized agents conveniently located throughout New York State. And don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the associated fees and validity periods based on your residency status and preferred duration! Happy angling!