Fishing Regulations in Florida

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

From the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Coast all the way to the Keys, this state has some of the best fishing destinations. In fact, Florida is considered one of the world’s top fishing hubs that receive anglers from over the globe. So, whether deep water trenches, wrecks, mangroves, or flats, Florida has everything you’ll ever need.

Personally, I love Florida, and I always make sure I visit South Florida for music festivals. Still, I have never tried fishing in the state’s waters. The only thing I have enjoyed associated with marine life is their wide variety of seafood dishes. These dishes got me curious last year, so I decided to ask around, and boy, was I surprised.

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Florida has some of the most beautiful destinations in the southeastern region and the United States. The last time I was in St. Petersburg, I was kayaking with my friends, and the variety of fish I saw swimming beneath us made me want to fish even more. But you can only safely fish in Florida with a license. Plus, knowing their fishing regulations can help you avoid fines. Please read on for more details on fishing licenses in Florida and more.

  • Resident freshwater fishing license: $17.00
  • Non-resident freshwater fishing license: $47.00
  • Resident saltwater fishing license: $17.00
  • Non-resident saltwater 3-day fishing: $17.00
  • Non-resident freshwater 3-day fishing: $17.00

Guide Pro Tip: Download this FREE PDF with the Florida Fishing Regulations 👉 Florida Saltwater Fishing Regulations PDF and Florida Freshwater Fishing Regulations PDF

To learn more, here’s a link to the Florida website. (source)

Does Florida Have Free Fishing?

Yes, Florida does have license-free fishing days for everyone in the state. These days provide an exceptional opportunity for newbies to test the waters. However, the other rules, including size and bag limits, apply. The free fishing days in Florida are:

Freshwater Free Fishing Days

  • The second weekend of June
  • The first weekend of April

Saltwater-Free Fishing Days

  • The Saturday following thanksgiving day
  • First Saturday of September
  • The first weekend of June. (source)

Can Non–Residents Fish for Free on Free Fishing Days?

Yes, all the public waters in Florida are open to everyone, including non-residents. So they can fish without a license.

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TYpes of Fishing Licenses in Florida

Florida offers both saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities for newbies and experienced anglers. In fact, its home to a wide range of fish species; in fact, anglers have caught some trophy fish over the years. Therefore, the state has developed several fishing regulations to protect marine and freshwater species.

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On top of these rules, the state also has numerous fishing licenses classified by age and duration. The state has annual, short term and lifetime fishing licenses. Some of the most common Florida fishing licenses include the following:

Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Anyone planning to fish in all the saltwater destinations in Florida needs this license. This license lets you catch saltwater fish, clams, and crabs. It also enables you to harvest marine plants and saltwater species like lionfish and seashells. The price of these licenses includes:

  • Non-resident 7-day: $30.00
  • Non-resident 3-day: $17.00
  • Non-resident annual: $47.00
  • Resident 5-year license: $79.00
  • Resident annual: $17.00 (source)

Saltwater Shoreline-Only Fishing License

This license is valid for fishing from a structure affixed to the shores or the shoreline. Therefore, with this license, you won’t be allowed to fish from a shoreline reached by vessels or from vessels. It also doesn’t allow you to fish by diving or swimming. Fortunately, this license is free and only for residents.

Hunting and Fishing Combination License

Instead of purchasing three licenses, you can buy the saltwater, freshwater fishing, and hunting license at a discount. With this license, you can enjoy both hunting and fishing seasons; unfortunately, it’s only available for residents. You can also get a saltwater/freshwater fishing license.

The price of these licenses is:

  • Annual hunting and freshwater fishing combo: $32.50 (4)
  • Annual saltwater fishing and freshwater fishing combo: $32.50
  • Annual freshwater/saltwater fishing and hunting combo: $48.00

Sportsman’s License

This combo fishing and hunting license lets you explore the state’s fresh waters. It includes Florida waterfowl, turkey, deer, crossbow, archery, and wildlife management area permits. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include lobster or snook permits and saltwater fishing licenses.

Resident Gold Sportsman’s License

The gold sportsman’s license has everything that the sportsman’s license includes, plus the saltwater license. It also includes lobster and snook permits. The two gold sportsman’s licenses are:

  • 5-year gold sportsman’s license: $494.00
  • Annual gold sportsman’s license: $100.00

Youth Fishing Licenses

Youth Fishing in Florida
Youth Fishing in Florida

The above licenses are for adults over 17 years old, but youth below 17 have individual licenses. The youth licenses are for kids between 8 and 15, but it’s valid until their seventeenth birthday. The youth licenses include the following:

  • Resident youth saltwater fishing license: $17.00
  • Resident youth freshwater fishing license: $17.00 (source)
  • Resident youth gold sportsman’s license: $100.00

Shore-Based Shark Fishing Permit

On top of the saltwater fishing license, the state requires anglers over 16 years to carry this permit. It is mandatory for anglers trying to catch a shark from the shores, including piers, bridges, and jetties. This permit is compulsory even for anglers exempted from carrying specific licenses.

Snook Permit

If you want to catch snook from saltwater bodies, you’ll need this permit on top of your saltwater license. Before making a purchase, you should check the rules and regulations of the place you want to fish. Remember, the state doesn’t offer a refund, so you should confirm before making a purchase.

  • Annual snook permit: $10.00
  • 5-year resident snook permit: $50.00
Catching spotted seatrout with a fly rod
Catching spotted seatrout with a fly rod
Annual Saltwater licenses$17.00$47.00
5-year saltwater fishing license$79.00N/A
3-day saltwater fishing licenseN/A$17.00
7-day saltwater fishing licenseN/A$30.00
Annual saltwater fishing/freshwater fishing combo$32.50N/A
Annual resident saltwater fishing/freshwater fishing/hunting combination$48.00N/A
Annual Gold sportsman’s license$100.00N/A
5-year Gold Sportsman’s license$494.00N/A
Youth saltwater fishing license$17.00N/A
Youth Gold Sportsman’s license$100.00N/A
Annual freshwater fishing license$17.00$47.00
5-year freshwater fishing license$79.00N/A
3-day freshwater fishing licenseN/A$17.00
7-day freshwater fishing licenseN/A$30.00
Annual freshwater fishing/saltwater fishing combo license$32.50 
Annual freshwater fishing/hunting combo$32.50N/A
Annual freshwater fishing/saltwater fishing/hunting combo$48.00N/A

Where Can I Buy a Fishing License in Florida?

There are several ways you can get your license before engaging in any outdoor activity in Florida. You can either get one in person or online. You must click here (source) for online purchases and pick the license you need. Next, log in and make a purchase. But if you don’t have an account, you can open one and use it for all your license needs.

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In person, you can visit a tax collector’s office or look for authorized agents in your region. Several authorized agents all over Florida are selling different fishing licenses. To access the list of licensed agents, click here. You can search by city, county and by near me. Basically, with the near me option, you can find the agents within a certain distance from you.

Another reliable method for getting your license before going on your trip is by phone. You can call the toll-free number 888-FISH-FLORIDA 888-347-4356. But you’ll have to wait for the permit to arrive via the postal service.

How Much Is a Florida Fishing License at Walmart?

The price of fishing licenses in Florida is almost the same as at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s official site. The price is as follows:

  • Resident 5-year license: $79.00
  • Resident Annual: $17.00
  • Non-resident 7-day: $30
  • Non-resident 3-day: $17.00
  • Non-resident annual: $47.00

The licensing prices are the same for saltwater and freshwater. But the resident combo freshwater/saltwater license cost is $32.50.

Where Can I Get the Fishing Regulations in Florida?

As aforementioned, every Florida water body has unique rules and regulations. They have a set bag and possession limit. Some places even have a set fishing method you can use, and breaking any of these rules can result in a small fine.

The fishing rules and regulations also show you when certain water bodies are open to fishing. They also show you when and where to fish certain types of fish species. To access the rules and regulations of Florida, click here. Download it and then go through it before you start fishing.

What Is the Fishing License Age Requirement for Florida?

Everyone over 16 years old requires a license to cast their lines in the state waters (freshwater and saltwater bodies).

When Do Florida Fishing Licenses Expire?

Generally, all the annual fishing licenses in Florida last for an entire year from the day you purchased it. The expiry date is on the licenses themselves, so you know when they expire. On the other hand, short-term licenses last for 3 and 7 days. Fortunately, you can purchase other short-term licenses after your short-term license expires. (source)

Can You Fish Without a License in Florida?

Other than during the free fishing days, everyone over 16 years old needs a license. But kids below 15 years of age can fish for free all year round.

Can You Fish on Private Property Without a License?

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You don’t require a fishing license to fish in a less than 20-acre pond on private property. But it’s always a good idea to ask for permission; remember, trespassing is illegal, and you can face prosecution if caught.

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

Fishing without a license is considered a level 1 violation. Therefore, when caught, you may be fined $50 plus the price of the permit or license you need to have to fish in Florida. (source)

What Is the Fishing Season in Florida?

Florida is a top fishing destination in the United States. Still, without knowing the right place and season to fish, you may end up missing some great opportunities. Therefore, knowing the best seasons for fishing, both freshwater and saltwater in Florida, can make a huge difference. Knowing the right time to fish certain species can make fishing even more fun.

Remember, the fishing season in Florida may be open all year round. Still, it doesn’t mean that every water body is open to the public at any given point. So for more details on fishing seasons, please read on.

Gulf of Mexico

Generally, the Gulf of Mexico forms the western border of Florida while creating an exceptional fishing destination. These regions include Panama City, Destin, and Pensacola. Some of the best seasons for fishing in the Mexican Gulf include:

General Fishing Season

Like in most states, the general fishing season starts in January and ends in December. Fortunately, some species have no closed seasons; therefore, you’re bound to catch something all year round. Some species you can fish all year in this water body include: King Mackerel, sheepshead, black drum, mullet, Spanish Mackerel, red drum, dolphin, Mahi, white grunt, and the black sea bass.

You can fish spotted seatrout in all the fishing spots in the Mexican Gulf except at the Western Panhandle. At the western panhandle, the fishing season for the spotted seatrout is between March and the end of January. You can also harvest a wide range of snappers except for the Red Snapper. Unfortunately, anglers are only allowed to practice catch-and-release when it comes to fishing the bonefish.

Common Snook Fishing Season

The common snook, also known as robalo or sergeant fish, is a popular species in the region. So if you love fishing snook, you should visit between March to April and September to November. At the Charlotte harbor region, anglers can only catch and release until the end of November.

Amberjack, Greater Fishing Season

Another common species that anglers love is the greater amberjack. The fishing season for the greater amberjack is September 1 and October 31. But the daily bag limit per angler is 1. (source)

Atlantic State Waters

The Atlantic Gulf Stream stretches miles from the Atlantic coast introducing some warm water and creating great fishing opportunities. The fishing season on the Atlantic Coast is open all year round, with the most common species including the Greater Amberjack, black drum, sheepshead, and king mackerel, among others. The other species with closed seasons in the Atlantic state water include:

Flounder Fishing Season

Generally, the flounder regulations are for Florida’s federal and state waters. These regulations apply to fringed, summer, southern, and Gulf flounder. Fortunately, the flounder fishing season is open all year round except between October 15 and November 30.

Spotted Seatrout Fishing Season

The spotted seatrout resides in the federal and state waters off Florida. For instance, you can find them in various water bodies, including Flagler via Nassau counties, Palm Beach, Big Bend, and the Western Panhandle. The fishing season in spotted seatrout is open between January and October.

SpeciesOpening dateClosing date
General fishingJanuary 1December 31
Common SnookMarch SeptemberApril November
AmberjackSeptember 1October 31
FlounderOctober 15November 30
Spotted SeatroutJanuaryOctober

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I fish in Florida?

With the thousands of prime fishing spots in this state, picking your next fishing destination can be pretty challenging. Luckily, that’s an excellent problem to have and one easily overcome. After all, you’re visiting the best fishing destination on the planet with marine and freshwater fishing. Some of these unique fishing spots include:

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is an exceptional destination with lots of fishing opportunities. You can either go offshore for a great battle with some sought-after giant species or cast your line on the calm waters on the River Halifax. You can also go to Mosquito Lagoon and hook a wide range of fish species, including sheepshead, black and red drum, and snook.

Daytona Beach offers some of the best largemouth fishing experiences in Florida.


Situated at the mouth of River St. Johns and facing the Atlantic Ocean, Jacksonville offers endless saltwater and freshwater opportunities. Some places to fish in this town include Amelia Island State Park, Nassau Sound, and Mill Cove. Irrespective of where you go, you should expect to have a fun day targeting King Mackerel, Black Drum, Redfish, and Cobia.

Jacksonville hosts a massive Kingfish tournament in July every year. During this tournament, more than 300 vessels are pursuing hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes.


Another exceptional destination in Naples sits at the heart of the Paradise Coast. Naples is known for its turquoise waters and pristine beaches. Still, fishing is the best activity, in my opinion, in the region. When it comes to fishing, Naples has everything for everyone, from blacktip sharks to spotted seatrout.

It has lots of inland canals that can make your fishing weekend fun. And if you love challenges, you try fly fishing in these canals.

Fort Myers

Another popular destination among anglers in Southwest Florida is Fort Myers. So if you’re searching for a great fishing experience, you’re in the right place. After all, redfish, trout, and snook flood the Fort Myers waterways right between Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Some top species include Cobia, Mangrove Snapper, Tarpon, and Goliath Grouper.

For more details on fishing destinations in Florida, click here. (11)

Can I Fish at Night in Florida?

Yes, you can fish at night in Florida. The popular bass rivers and lakes have been known for producing trophy largemouth bass at night. But you have to prepare yourself for the night weather, and if you’re camping, make sure you don’t miss dawn and dusk fishing; after all, that is when they’re actively searching for food.

Plus, proper lighting can come in handy when night fishing, but make sure your lighting doesn’t scare the fish away.

How Many Fishing Poles Can I Have in Florida?

Unlike most states, Florida doesn’t have a set limit to the number of rods any angler can use.

Do You Need a Fishing License in Florida if You’re Over 65?

No, Residents over 65 years old don’t need to purchase a fishing license or permit for either freshwater or saltwater fishing. You only need your identification card or driver’s license to prove your age and residency to fish in Florida.

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  1. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff, licenses, and permits, accessed February 7, 2023.
  2. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff, License-free fishing days, accessed February 7, 2023.
  3. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff, Recreational saltwater licenses and permits, accessed February 7, 2023.
  4. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff Recreational freshwater licenses and permits, accessed February 7, 2023.
  5. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff, How to order, accessed February 7, 2023.
  6. Fishing Regulations 2023, accessed February 7, 2023.
  7. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff, FAQs: recreational licenses, accessed February 7, 2023.
  8. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff, 2023 recreational seasons, accessed February 7, 2023.
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