With nearly 9,000 miles of waterways in Arkansas, you’re bound to get exceptional fishing opportunities. Personally, I experienced Arkansas fishing while young with my elder brother, who loved exploring the White River.
The White River has been my best trout fishing destination in Arkansas for over a decade. Plus, the fact that it’s inconsistent makes it shallow enough for you to see its banks filled today and shallow enough to see the trout the next day is a bonus. Remember, trout prefer such an environment, so I always visit the region most summers. But before planning your next trip to Arkansas, you should find out the price of the licenses in this state; so for more details on Arkansas fishing, please read on.
- Annual Arkansas resident combined sportsman’s license – $35.50
- Resident 3-day trip fishing license – $6.50
- Non-resident annual fishing license – $50.00
- Non-resident 3-day fishing license – $16.00
- Non-resident 7-day fishing license – $25.00
- Over 65 years resident lifetime fishing license – $10.50
To learn more, here is a link to Arkansas’s official website.
Guide Pro Tip: Learn about my favorite places to cast a fly in this article 👉 Best Places to Fly Fish in Arkansas
Does Arkansas Have Free Fishing?
Like many American states, Arkansas has a free fishing weekend. Therefore, anyone can enjoy a weekend fishing in Arkansas without a license. The free fishing weekend in 2022 was between June 11 and 13. (source)
Therefore, if you plan on testing the Arkansas waters for free, you should visit this state with your fishing gear on the weekend of June 10, 2023. According to Governor Hutchinson Asa, the free fishing weekend in Arkansas will start at noon on June 10 and end at 23:59 Hrs on June 12. (source)
Despite being a free fishing weekend, you should know that the other regulations apply. The required fishing method and daily limits still apply. Plus, it would be best if you stayed away from the restricted fish species.
Can Non-residents Fish for Free on Free Fishing Days?
Yes, the free fishing weekends are open to everyone in Arkansas, including the non-residents. Therefore, if you need more clarification on Arkansas fishing, you should visit the state in June 2023 and enjoy its beautiful waters for free. You never know; you may love Arkansas waters and extend your trip by purchasing a fishing license.
Types of Fishing License in Arkansas
Generally, Arkansas waters are open to everyone, irrespective of sex, age, disability, and experience. But before fishing in their beautiful waters, you need the proper fishing license; after all, anyone over 16 years old needs one to fish here.
Besides the fishing license, you may also need permits to catch some fish species or fish in certain Arkansas waterways. Plus, Persons with disabilities and seniors have a unique license designed for them. Therefore, before we list a table with the price of different licenses, we should elaborate more on the permits and other fishing licenses in Arkansas.
1. Resident Fisheries Conservation License
If you’re planning on using your sport fishing tackle, you should buy the Resident Fisheries Conservation license. If trout fishing is your primary goal, you’ll also have to get a resident Trout permit. With this permit and the resident fisheries conservation license, you can fish in certain waters and even retain some of your catch.
The trout permit is mandatory for everyone between 16 and 65, except for folks with the Lifetimes fishing and hunting permit. Plus, you can’t fish trout without it, and if found, you may end up paying a fine.
2. Combination Sportsman’s License
This license is mandatory for everyone with a resident fisheries conservation license and a resident sportsman’s license. It’s worth about $35.50 and can be used only in June.
3. Non-Resident Trout Permit
Non-residents planning on fishing certain waters and retaining some trout need Non-resident trout permits. Therefore, you may have to get this permit on top of your Trip fishing license and non-resident annual license. The Non-resident trout permits go for $20.00.
4. Trip Fishing Licenses
Besides the annual fishing licenses, Arkansas has something for residents and non-residents planning a short trip. Some of the common ones include:
- 3-day trip fishing license: these licenses are ideal for anyone (residents and non-residents) planning on fishing in Arkansas for three days.
- 7-day trip fishing license: if you plan to explore Arkansas waters for almost a week, you should get a 7-day license.
But if you want to try some of the world’s best fishing waters, you should get a trout permit. (source) You can always extend your stay by purchasing a new license once yours expires.
5. Non-resident and Resident Fishing Guide Licenses
Another remarkable fact about the Arkansas waters is that anyone can become a guide. But to assist, aid, or guide anyone, you must get a guide license. The fishing guide licenses are for qualified anglers training their pals or acting as tour guides. The resident fishing guide license goes for $150, while the resident’s license goes for $25.
Remember, the guide’s license doesn’t come with fishing privileges for the guide, so you will have to get a fishing license. (source)
6. White River Border Lakes Licenses
Like most states, Arkansas does share some of its lakes and rivers with its neighbors. And in their case, Arkansas does share the White River with Missouri. Fortunately, these two states have an agreement that resulted in the creation of the White River Border Lakes License.
Plan on fishing in the waters bordering the White River in Missouri, like the Table Rock, Norfolk, and Bull Shoal lakes. You don’t have to get a non-resident fishing license from Missouri. Instead, you only need to apply for the White River Border Lakes License on top of your Arkansas resident and non-resident permits. (source)
7. Plus 65 Years Lifetime License
Anyone over 65 years old is entitled to the plus 65-lifetime license. You may also have to get a lifetime trout fishing permit. But you must provide your passport or driver’s license as proof of age. You will also need evidence that you have been in Arkansas for over a year.
Table of fishing license costs in Arkansas:
|Fisheries Conservation License||$10.50||N/A|
|3-day trip fishing license||$6.50||N/A|
|Annual fishing license||N/A||$50.00|
|7-day trip fishing license||N/A||$25|
|Fishing Guide License||$25||$125|
|3-year disability license||$10.50||N/A|
Where Can I Buy a Fishing License in Arkansas?
The Arkansas game and fish commission understands that we have a busy schedule. Therefore, they have made getting their fishing licenses easier by offering several purchasing options. So, you can either visit their official website and purchase your license online or get it from one of the local fishing license agents and regional offices.
You can first download the AGFC mobile app from Apple Store or Play Store to get your license online. Next, purchase your license using the following link. After purchasing it, you can download it, save the digital copy using this mobile app, and print it anytime.
If you need to purchase a license online, you can visit their regional offices and make the right choice. You can find some of the offices that sell fishing licenses in the following link. You also get them from local vendors like Walmart, marinas, and some gas stations.
How Much Is an Arkansas Fishing License in Walmart?
Yes, all the US-based Walmart stores sell fishing licenses in their Sports and Outdoors section. The price of the resident licenses goes between $11 and $40, but it will depend on your age, duration, and what you plan on fishing.
The cost of fishing licenses in Arkansas doesn’t vary much from the price of the state’s fishing department. But you may have to pay a small processing fee for your fishing license.
Where Can I Get the Fishing Regulations in Arkansas?
Because Arkansas waters are open to the public, it doesn’t mean there are no rules and regulations. These regulations help protect Arkansas’s waters while ensuring no species becomes endangered. Therefore, Arkansas’s fish and game department set these rules to help regulate fishing.
Get a FREE PDF on the Arkansas Fishing Regulations with this shortcut link 👉 Arkansas Fishing Guide Book
These regulations show the fishing season and the bag limits. Therefore, with proper research, you can visit your favorite fishing spot when it’s open. Plus, fishing some fish species is prohibited.
Therefore, before planning your trip to Arkansas, you can go through the PDF file of Arkansas’s official game and fishing regulations using the following link. (6) You can also find the rules and regulations for trout in their guidebook.
What Is the Fishing License Age Requirement for Arkansas?
Everyone over 16 years old needs a license to fish in Arkansas. Fortunately, Adult residents have their special licenses, while everyone else over 65 years can get the adult fishing resident license. If you plan on traveling with your kids (below 15 years old), then you’re in luck since Arkansas allows kids to fish got free.
When Do Arkansas Fishing Licenses Expire?
Unless otherwise, all fishing licenses in Arkansas expire a year from the day you purchased them. But the 3-day fishing licenses expire after the third day, while the 7-day permits last for a week. Unfortunately, these licenses are non-transferable and nonrefundable, so you will have to purchase a new one when it expires.
Can You Fish Without a License in Arkansas?
Yes, everyone below age 16 can fish for free in the state-operated water bodies. But if you’re over 16 years old, you will have to wait for the free fishing weekend. A free fishing weekend is an annual event held in June when the state opens its lakes to everyone within its borders.
During the free fishing day, you can participate in several water sports and hire or lease some fishing gear.
Can You Fish on Private Property Without a License?
Even though all the ponds on private property are owned and managed by the property owner or the supervisor, you need a license. The law stipulates that you will require a fishing license on private property in Arkansas. You will also have to get permission from the owner or the supervisor. Without permission, you can be sued for trespassing on private property.
Remember, every fishing spot, including the privately owned ones, have rules and regulations. So you must adhere to their rules to be allowed to fish regularly. Breaking these rules can result in your invitation being revoked by the owners.
What Is the Fine for Fishing Without a License in Arkansas?
Anyone found fishing without a fish or hunt license and found guilty can be charged a fine of not more than $10,000 and not less than $100. The court may decide to revoke your fishing license and impose community service. In severe cases, you can even lose your license for breaking the law and get a jail term or even be banned for a few years. (source)
You get a few points when convicted for violating AGFC laws in any state belonging to Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. For instance, if it’s considered a class 1 offense, you will get 6 points in your records. But your license may be suspended if you accumulate over 18 points in 5 years.
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What Is the Fishing Season in Arkansas?
Generally, if you can find a unique fishing spot in Arkansas, you can fish in any given season. Unfortunately, most fishing spots are closed to the public only year-round. So before planning your next trip, you should first research and find out when your favorite place is open for fishing.
You also have to consider the fish species you’re targeting. Remember, some species have a closed season, while others have to be released as soon as caught. Therefore, if you plan on having a specific trout for dinner, you should pick the right time to visit Arkansas. For more details on the fishing season, please read on.
Alligator Gar Fishing Season
Alligator gar is the largest freshwater species in the Southeastern parts of the United States and the largest in Arkansas. (source) It is Arkansas’s main giant game fish that every angler dreams of catching. Unfortunately, you can’t fish it all year round. Plus, you require an alligator gar trophy tag even to harvest an over 36 inches long Alligator Gar legally. (source)
You can apply for your trophy tag for free between November and December, but even with this tag, you can only harvest one fish per year. Fortunately, Alligator Gar fishing is open all year long except between May 1 and July 1.
In Arkansas, bow fishing is best for catching catfish and rough fish. Unfortunately, folks are not allowed to bow fish all year round. The only time you can take a catfish using bow fishing is between July 15 and May 1. (source)
Noodling and Hogging
If you love catching fish with your bare hand, you should visit Arkansas. After all, several rivers and lakes open to these types of fishing at certain times of the year. For instance, the noodling and hogging season is open between May 15 and October 31 on the Arkansas River. (source)
Mississippi River is open to hogging and noodling between May 1 and July 15. Other places like Strawberry River and Lake Charles are open between June 1 and October 31. (source)
Generally, snagging can be done from the river banks or about 100 yards below the dam. But it’s not allowed in some places, and you can only fish using snagging at a particular time of the year. For instance, below the Beaver Dam, anglers can try snagging between April 15 and June 15. (source)
Snagging is allowed for catfish at the St Francis River (between the Payneway structure and Missouri state) and the Black River (between Spring River confluence and the Missouri state line) from January to February 15.
The spearfishing season is open in lakes like Lakes Blue, Beaver, Conway, Catherine, and Bull Shoals between June 15 and March 15. (source) Unfortunately, spearfishing for smallmouth spotted or largemouth bass isn’t open in lakes like Table Rock, Norfolk, Bull Shoal, and Beaver.
You can use this method of Rough fishing all year round in Arkansas. Still, flathead catfish is only open between July 15 and March 15.
|Fish species||Opening date||Closing date|
|General fishing||January 1||December 31|
|Alligator Gar||July 1||May 1|
|Trout||January 1||December 31|
|Salmon||January 1||December 31|
|Walleye||January 1||December 31|
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Fish in Arkansas?
Arkansas is home to over 9,000 miles of streams and rivers and over 600,000 acres of lake; therefore, anglers have more than enough options for catching their next trophy fish. Plus, the fact that their Game and Fish Commission runs the world’s most significant state-owned warm-water hatchery system is a bonus.
If you’re into lake fishing, you should visit the Greers Ferry Lake. The dams in the region have several lakes known for catfish, trout, bream, crappie, and bass. Its most extensive and famous fishing lake, known for catfish, bass, and crappie, is the 48,300-acre lake Ouachita.
For more details on the best fishing spots in Arkansas, follow the following link. 👉 Where to Fly Fish in Arkansas
Can I Fish at Night in Arkansas?
Yes, Arkansas has no rule against fishing at night; therefore, it is very legal. But the only specific regulation for night fishing is associated with using suitable light sources. For instance, navigation lights are mandatory for night fishing.
How Many Fishing Poles Can I Have in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, an angler can use only one fishing pole and must attend to at all times.
Do You Need a Fishing License in Arkansas if You’re Over 65?
Yes, anyone over 65 must purchase a plus 65-lifetime fishing license. But you must provide proof of age and residency of over one year in Arkansas.
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- How to Fly Fish for Bluegills 👈 These amazing fish are all over the USA. I like to call them the “Gateway Drug to Fly Fishing”
- How to Fly Fish for Brook Trout 👈 Find the cleanest, coldest, most beautiful streams and I’ll bet Brookes are present.
- How to Nymph Fish 👈 Step by Step details for setting up, presenting and catching trout with nymphs.
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- AGFC staff, Free Fishing Weekend June 11-13 (statewide), https://www.agfc.com/en/education/calendar/annual-event/free-fishing-weekend-statewide-2021/accessed November 3, 2022.
- Stuttgard daily leader staff, Arkansas game, and fish commission sets 2023/24 waterfowl season dates, passes bear season expansion, https://www.stuttgartdailyleader.com/arkansas-game-and-fish-commission-sets-2023-24-waterfowl-season-dates-passes-bear-season-expansion/ accessed November 3, 2022.
- Fishing.org staff, Arkansas fishing licenses, https://www.fishing.org/licenses/arkansas/ accessed November 3, 2022.
- 2022 Arkansas Fishing Guidebook, https://drive.google.com/file/d/13IP52QbSee8-rsmDy7as7hs6E1k5HiQw/view/ accessed November 3, 2022.
- AGFC staff, violation fines, points, and suspensions, https://www.agfc.com/en/enforcement/violation-points/ accessed November 3, 2022.
- AGFC staff, History of the Alligator Gar in Arkansas, https://www.agfc.com/en/fishing/sportfish/alligator-gar/history/ accessed November 3, 2022.