Fishing in Connecticut

How Much Is a Fishing License in Connecticut (Regulations and More)

Generally, fishing is a unique sport that demands a lot of funny stories, patience, and, most importantly, an ideal fishing spot. Well, Connecticut has plenty of the latter; in fact, it has some of the best places to enjoy sunset and sunrise views while fishing. After all, it is home to thousands of miles of streams and rivers and over 180 ponds and lakes. And one of their lakes that has always intrigued me is Crescent Lake.

fly fish connecticut
Check out where to ๐Ÿ‘‰ fly fish connecticut

I have seen its images online, and hiking to the lake to cast my line has always intrigued me. Plus, it can give you an exceptional ice fishing experience. This lake forced me to do more research on fishing in Connecticut’s beautiful lakes and the necessary fishing licenses and permits. Remember, fishing without a license in every state is illegal. So for more details on the fishing licenses, please read on.

  • Resident all water fishing (18 to 64 years): $32.00
  • Non-resident season all water fishing: $63.00
  • Resident all water fishing (16 and 17 years old): $16.00
  • Non-resident 3-day inland fishing: $22.00
  • Resident inland fishing senior citizens (over 65 years): free, but must get renewed annually.

To learn more, here’s a link to the Connecticut website.

Download the Connecticut Fishing Regulations ๐Ÿ‘‰ Connecticut Fishing Regulations PDF

Does Connecticut Have Free Fishing?

Like most American states, Connecticut has an annual free fishing day, which in 2023 will be on Saturday, May 13. On this day, everyone in Connecticut can fish without a license, but the other regulations and rules still apply. Unlike most states, Connecticut has free 1-day fishing licenses that will be valid on:

  • August 12, 2023
  • June 18, 2023

These free licenses will be available via their online licensing portal about three weeks before the dates. (source) You can keep checking their official page for the announcement and be the first to apply for these licenses.

Guide Pro Tip: Looking for places to cast a fly in CT? Let me help ๐Ÿ‘‰ Where to Fly Fish in Connecticut

Can Non-residents Fish for Free on Free Fishing Days?

Yes, anyone in Connecticut can fish for free during the free fishing dates, which includes non-residents. They can also purchase the free 1-day fishing license if they want one and fish for free on the due dates. (source)

Types of Fishing License in Connecticut

Like every American state, Connecticut has several licenses for non-residents and residents of all ages. So before visiting this state, you must purchase the proper license for everyone you plan on going with, or there could be trouble. Remember, this state offers both inland and saltwater fishing; therefore, you must get the right option for where you plan on fishing. If you plan on marine and freshwater fishing, you have come to the correct state. Connecticut does have a package for long and short-term anglers. For more details on these licenses, please continue reading.

All Waters Fishing License

As aforementioned, this state does offer saltwater and freshwater fishing for both residents and non-residents. So instead of getting two licenses, you can always get the all-water fishing license that lets you practice marine and inland fishing. With this license, you’ll never have to worry about whether or not you have a suitable license. After all, you can access any water body within Connecticut at any time of the year.

Inland-Only Fishing License

If you prefer freshwater fishing, then you can purchase an inland-only license instead of the all-water option. The inland-only license lets you explore all the freshwater bodies within Connecticut. However, you must still follow each lake or pond’s rules and regulations. Remember, every water body has some possession limit, which dictates the fishing method you can use in their waters.  

Fortunately, this license is free for all residents over 65 years old. With this license, you can explore all the 180 ponds and lakes in CT. (source)

Marine-Only Fishing License

On top of the freshwater fishing opportunities, CT is home to over 100 saltwater species that reside along the Long Island Sound. (source) If you plan on catching a trophy striped bass, you should purchase a marine-only fishing license. This license is available for residents and non-residents, but it’s free for over 65 years old resident anglers.

Short Duration Licenses

Are you just visiting the state for a few days? You can purchase a short-term option; the state has a 3-day fishing license for non-residents. Unfortunately, they have different options for saltwater and freshwater. Plus, you can get an extension if you stay there for more than three consecutive days.

License Reciprocity

How to fly fish for brook trout
How to fly fish for brook trout

Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, and Maine residents’ marine fishing licenses are also valid in CT’s maritime region. Therefore, you don’t need to purchase a CT marine if you have one from these states.

Free Fishing License

Unlike most states, Connecticut offers a wide range of free fishing licenses, with the most popular being the free fishing license days we have just mentioned. Another popular free fishing license is the one offered to resident seniors over 65 years old. The free fishing license for over 65 years old residents lets them explore both the marine and inland waters.

They also offer free fishing licenses to folks who have lost permanent use of one of their limbs, the intellectually disabled, and the blind.

Salmon and Trout Stamps

These stamps are a must-have for anyone over 16 who plans to fish in Connecticut’s waters. It’s ideal for folks who plan on:

  • Harvesting salmon or/and trout
  • You can find decent fishing in the waters in the following designations; Salmon, Wild trout, trout management areas, and the trout park. (source)
Types of licensesResidentsNon-residents
All-water fishing license 18 to 64 years oldย $32.00N/A
All-water fishing license 16 and 17 years old$16.00
Inland fishing18 to 64 years old$28.00N/A
Inland fishing 16 and 17 years oldย $14.00
Inland fishing and small game firearms 18 to 64 years old38.00N/A
Inland fishing and small game firearms 16 and 17 years old$19.00
Trout and salmon stamp18 to 64 years old$5.00N/A
Trout and salmon stamp 16 and 17 years old$3.00
Trout and salmon stamp Over 65 years old$5.00
Season inland fishingN/A$55.00
Season all-water fishingN/A$63.00
3-day inland fishing licenseN/A$22.00
All-water fishing and firearmsN/A$120.00

Where Can I Buy a Fishing License in Connecticut?

There are three ways you can purchase a Connecticut fishing license; online from the DEEP offices and the authorized dealers. You’ll need to click here to access the CT government online sportspeople licensing when purchasing your license online. 

Guide Pro Tip: Get your license online. Save a copy of it on your phone and print it out. I like to “encase” my printed copy in packing tape to protect it. Licenses for CT ๐Ÿ‘‰ HERE

You can purchase a wide range of licenses, including trapping and hunting licenses, through the licensing portal. (source)

For returning customers, you will need to log in using your details which will include the following forms of ID:

  • Email address
  • CT hunt of trap certificate
  • Driver’s license
  • Conservation ID

You’ll also be required to input your date of birth, last name, and ID number to log in. for first-time buyers; you will need to create an account. (source)

You can also purchase your fishing license from the DEEP offices found all over the state. These offices are usually open from 8.30 AM to 4.00 pm between Monday and Friday. Unfortunately, the Marine District Headquarters at Old Lyme offices are closed. (source)

Last but not least, you can purchase your license from some of the authorized dealers in the state. You can find a list of authorized dealers on their official website by clicking here. You must find the dealers near you, visit their premises, and purchase your license.

How Much Is a Connecticut Fishing License at Walmart?

The price of a CT fishing license at Walmart is practically the same as online and in the DEEP offices. But you will have to pay a small processing and printing fee.

Where Can I Get the Fishing Regulations in Connecticut?

Everyone has to follow several rules and regulations when fishing in CT, and breaking them can result in a small fine. For instance, marine and inland fishing spots have different fishing regulations. To access the fishing regulations for marine waters, you can click here. You can find the freshwater fishing regulations here.

You can access more fishing regulations by clicking here.

Fishing for rainbow trout
Fishing for rainbow trout

What Is the Fishing License Age Requirement for Connecticut?

Both inland and marine fishing licenses require you to be over 16 years old. Kids below 15 and senior residents (over 65 years old) can fish for free in CT.

When Do Connecticut Fishing Licenses Expire?

All annual fishing licenses run for an entire calendar year, meaning they all expire at the end of the year on December 31. On the other hand, the 3-day fishing license for non-residents expires after three days from the purchasing date.

Can You Fish Without a License in Connecticut?

Other than on the free fishing day, everyone over 16 needs a license to cast their lines in marine and inland waters. The seniors typically get a free license which they have to renew annually and present when fishing in state-operated waters. Kids below 16 years don’t need a permit to fish in Connecticut. Still, they must be with a licensed and experienced angler.

Can You Fish on Private Property Without a License?

Most states in the US let people fish on private land without a license; unfortunately, that’s not the case in Connecticut. In CT, you need a permit to fish even on private land, but most importantly, you must get the landowner’s permission. And make sure you follow the rules and regulations set by the landowner.

What Is the Fine for Fishing Without a License in Connecticut?

Generally, the fine for fishing without a license in CT ranges between $50 and $500, depending on your offense. First-time offenders don’t get suspended, but your license may be suspended for an entire year if caught the second time. (source) Therefore, you might not be able to get a license for a whole year.

Remember, you’ll also need a trout stamp to catch these species, but if caught without one, you may have to pay a fine of about $87. (source)

Nice brown trout caught with a pheasant tail nymph
Nice brown trout caught with a pheasant tail nymph

What Is the Fishing Season in Connecticut?

General fishing is open all year round in Connecticut, so you can get a place to fish in this state at any time. Unfortunately, some fishing spots are closed at certain times of the year. Plus, the fishing season for some species is usually open partially.

So if you are chasing a specific species, then you need to find out if you can harvest them. Remember, these species have their unique fishing seasons. For more details on the fishing seasons in CT, please read on.

Inland Fishing Season

Generally, all the freshwater ponds and lakes are open to the public all year round; unfortunately, that’s not the case with rivers and streams. In Connecticut, the streams and rivers are open to the public from the second Saturday of April to the end of February.

Therefore, the fishing season for inland rivers is closed between the beginning of March and the second weekend of April. (9)

Marine Fishing Seasons

Saltwater fishing is generally open all year round, but the season for harvesting certain species may vary. Some of the species that you can’t gather all year round include:

Black Sea Bass Fishing Season

The Long Island Sound has been a perfect fishing spot for anglers over the years; many have caught some trophy species in the region, including the black sea bass. The population of the black sea species in the area has been increasing over the years; unfortunately, it’s not open to the public all year round. The fishing season for the black sea bass in Ct is between May 19 and December 1.

Flies for Striped Bass
Flies for Striped Bass

Striped Bass Fishing Season 

Another popular bass species the locals love is the striped bass which you can find in marine waters. Remember, saltwater species tend to be quite huge, so you should be prepared for a tough battle when reeling in one of these fish. Fortunately, you can pull this species from January to December, but you’re only allowed a bag limit of 1 species.

Guide Pro Tip: Wondering what the biggest striped bass is? Check it out ๐Ÿ‘‰ Biggest Striped Bass

White Perch Fishing Season

The CT waters have a vast population of white perch fishes which anyone can fish at any given time of the year. Unlike most species, the white perch has a daily limit of about 30, which is relatively high. Another species with a high daily limit you can harvest all year round is the scup.

Bluefish Fishing Season

Angles with a marine fishing license can harvest the bluefish at any given time of the year. But the daily limit for this species is 3. Fortunately, there is no stipulated length.

SpeciesOpening dateClosing date
General seasonJanuary 1December 31
Striped bassJanuary 1December 31
BluefishJanuary 1December 31
Summer flounderMay 1October 9
Winter FlounderApril 1December 31
Black sea bassMay 19December 1
White perchJanuary 1December 31

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Fish in Connecticut?    

There is nothing more relaxing than fishing under the sun with friends. It is a popular outdoor activity in Connecticut. Plus, with the hundreds of lakes all over the state, you don’t have to drive for hours to reach a great place with modern amenities and a tremendous amount of fish. Plus, most of them are easily accessible. Some of the fishing destinations in Connecticut are known for a particular type of fish. Some of the best fishing destinations in CT include:

Farmington River

Farmington river occupies an area of about 609 square miles and has played a significant role in the history of CT. It is one of the major water bodies that played an essential role in the growth of small-scale towns in the region. Despite its history, Farmington River is still a great fishing destination for angles who dislike fishing in crowded places. After all, it does have 81 miles long land surrounding it.

From here, you can catch a wide range of species, including Northern pike, American Eel, carp, Chain Pickerel, bass, brook, rainbow, or brown trout. It’s also an ideal place for boating, and you can also explore the wooded area in the region.

Crescent Lake

If you are searching for a great lake that can offer more than fishing, you should try Crescent Lake. This lake provides hiking, swimming, and many other activities, but most importantly, it is a stunning location. The lake sits on a mountain near Shuttle Meadow Road, so you should pack your hiking boots.

This crescent-shaped lake offers 56 acres of water where you can spend a relaxing afternoon with your pals.

For more details on where to fish in Connecticut, click here.

Can I Fish at Night in Connecticut?

During an open season, night fishing is allowed in most of the coastal regions in Connecticut. But during the off-season, the entire coastline of Connecticut isn’t available to night fishing. 

If you have your heart set on night fishing, you can enjoy night fishing in the inland waters all year round. But make sure you have the right gear for night fishing and are warmly dressed.

How Many Fishing Poles Can I Have in Connecticut?

Unlike most states, anglers can use a maximum of 3 poles at any given time. But this rule doesn’t apply to the designated trout management areas. In the trout management regions, you’re only allowed to use a maximum of 2 poles.

Do You Need a Fishing License in Connecticut if Youโ€™re Over 65?

Yes, but the licenses for over 65 years old anglers are free, but you will have to renew them yearly. Remember, there is no renewal fee.  

Are you looking for some great How To Fly Fish Articles? Checkout this list:

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish


  1. CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff, Fishing license types and fees, Fisheries Licenses, permits, and related products, accessed February 1, 2023.
  2. CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff, About Connecticutโ€™s fishing licenses, accessed February 1, 2023.
  3. CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff, Freshwater fishing, accessed February 1, 2023.
  4. CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff, Saltwater fishing, accessed February 1. 2023.
  5. Online Sportsmen Licensing, accessed February 1, 2023.
  6. CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff, DEEP offices where licenses can be purchased, accessed February 1, 2023.
  7. CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff, Connecticut department of energy and environmental protection, accessed February 1, 2023.
  8. Christine Cordero, Extra fee now required for trout fishing, accessed February 1, 2023.
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