Unveiling the Exemptions: Discover Who is Exempt from Obtaining an Arkansas Fishing License!

Who is Exempt from Arkansas Fishing License?

Fishing is a popular recreational activity in the picturesque state of Arkansas. The Natural State offers abundant opportunities for anglers to cast their lines into pristine lakes and rivers, aiming to catch a variety of fish species. However, before you embark on your fishing adventure, it’s essential to understand the regulations surrounding fishing licenses.

Understanding Arkansas Fishing Licenses

Arkansas requires individuals aged 16 or older to possess a valid fishing license if they wish to engage in recreational angling activities within its borders. These licenses serve as permits that allow residents and non-residents alike to enjoy freshwater and saltwater fishing in the state.

Exemptions for Certain Groups

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) has established several exemptions that relieve specific groups from obtaining a fishing license. If you fall into one of these categories, you can freely indulge in the joys of angling without worrying about acquiring a permit:

Residents Under 16 Years Old

If you are an Arkansas resident under the age of 16, rejoice! You are exempt from needing a fishing license. This exemption encourages young Arkansans to explore nature’s wonders while fostering an early love for outdoor activities such as fishing.

Aged 65 or Older

A senior citizen who has reached the golden age of 65 or above is entitled to fish without purchasing an Arkansas fishing license. AGFC recognizes that retirees often seek solace by spending their leisure time enjoying hobbies like angling, promoting physical well-being and mental relaxation among this demographic.

Military Personnel on Leave

To show appreciation for their service and sacrifice, active-duty military personnel stationed within Arkansas can fish without obtaining a license while on authorized leave. This exemption recognizes the temporary nature of their stay and aims to make their recreational experiences as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

Physically Disabled Individuals

Arkansas values inclusivity, ensuring that physically disabled individuals can partake in fishing without any additional bureaucratic hurdles. Those with a disability that substantially impairs or limits their mobility are exempt from purchasing a fishing license, allowing them equal access to outdoor activities.

Detailed Exceptions and Special Cases

In addition to these broad exemptions, there are specific situations where further relaxations apply:

Fishing Derbies or Tournaments

If you participate in an organized fishing derby or tournament approved by AGFC, you do not need an individual fishing license for that event. However, please note that this exemption only extends to the duration of the competition; outside of those designated times, a regular Arkansas fishing license is required.

Private Landowners & Immediate Family Members

If you own land with a private pond within Arkansas state lines exclusively for your personal use or live on such property as an immediate family member (spouse or child), you do not need a fishing license when angling solely in those waters. It’s crucial to remember that this exemption does not extend beyond privately owned ponds on your property.


To ensure compliance with Arkansas laws and regulations regarding recreational angling activities while avoiding unnecessary penalties, it’s vital for most individuals aged 16 years or older to obtain an appropriate fishing license. However, several exemptions exist—such as age-based exceptions for residents under 16 years old and seniors aged 65 or above—to facilitate increased participation in this beloved pastime among various groups of people. Whether it’s exploring natural wonders at a young age or finding solace in retirement, Arkansas acknowledges and accommodates these needs. So grab your fishing gear, familiarize yourself with the regulations, and enjoy the abundant fishing opportunities available throughout this beautiful state!