Know your Fishing Regulations

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

I have fished in Washington several times, particularly the Columbia and it’s tributaries have always been my destination. Planning for my next trip (which may involve getting a fishing license for several weeks), got me wondering about “special regs” in the state. Nobody wants to be that guy that says “I didn’t know” to a Natural Resource Officer.

Fishing for rainbow trout
Fishing for rainbow trout

I’m always on the hunt for the next place to cast a line. I discovered several great fishing spots like Henry Hagg Lake. My quest for trophy rainbow trout has made me include some of their unique places on my bucket list. During my research, I also discovered more about their fishing licenses.

The price of Oregon fishing licenses is:

  • Annual resident fishing license: $44.00
  • Annual non-resident fishing license: $110.50
  • Annual Combo resident license: $73.00
  • Youth combo license (12 to 17 years): $10.00

Here’s a link to their official website to learn more about Oregon licenses. (Source)

Guide Pro Tip: Download a copy of the Oregon Fishing Regulations onto your phone and double check just to be sure you know. Here’s a Shortcut Link to the Regs PDF πŸ‘‰ Oregon Fishing Regulations PDF

Does Oregon Have Free Fishing?

Like all Pacific Northwestern states, Oregon has free fishing weekends, like most American states. Oregon’s traditional free fishing weekend is usually the first weekend of June. But every year, the Fishing department and its partners sponsor numerous free fishing events throughout the state. These events get posted on their official website throughout the Fall and Spring. (source)

During this weekend, you don’t need a fishing license to cast your line in the public waters. You won’t need an endorsement, tag, or license. So, all you need is your fishing gear; if you don’t have one, you can always rent the perfect equipment. It can be an excellent opportunity to try fly fishing or saltwater fishing.

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

Yes, during the free fishing weekend, all the state-operated fishing spots are open to the public, which includes non-residents in Oregon. And with the several family-free fishing events the department and its sponsors organize, you might just get lucky and fish for free a couple of weekends in a year.

Close up of Oregon Trout
Close up of Oregon Trout, learn to fly fish for browns with this article πŸ‘‰ How to Fly Fish for Brown Trout

Types of Fishing License in Oregon

Fishing trips in Oregon can mean many things; after all, it’s home to over 360 miles of the Pacific coastline and many freshwater fishing opportunities. Unfortunately, adults can’t swim for free; you must purchase a license. But which type of fishing license is ideal for you?

So, before leaving your home, you need to know the different types of fishing licenses available and how you can purchase them. Some of the most popular Oregon fishing licenses include the following:

Annual Angling License

Basically, this angling license lets you fish both fresh and saltwater bodies in Oregon all year round. This license is available for residents and non-residents of all ages, but their price varies. For instance, the annual resident fishing license costs $44.00, while the non-resident option costs $110.50.

But you may also need to purchase endorsement and validation permits to fish in certain water bodies. The residents between 12 and 17 years old can also buy an annual fishing license, which means your kids can join you on your next fishing trip. They also have a senior non-resident fishing license for every resident over 70.

Combo License

As outdoor lovers, we hunt and fish during the proper seasons. If you have called Oregon home for over a decade and love the outdoors, you may own fishing or hunting gear. So to be safe and save a few dollars, we can always get a combo instead of two separate licenses.

With a combo license, you can enjoy your weekends fishing or hunting. Unfortunately, there is no combo license for non-residents, so they may have to get either of the two licenses. The price of the resident combo fishing license is $73.00.

Columbia River Basin Endorsement

If you plan on fishing sturgeon, steelhead, or salmon in Columbia River Basin’s tributaries and rivers, you need the Columbia River Basin Endorsement. Some of these branches include the snake and Columbia Rivers and the ones in the Northeast and Central zones. If you purchase it separately, it will cost you $11.75, but if you get it together with your fishing license, you can only pay $9.75. (source)

Two-Rod Validation

Like in most states, anglers are only legally allowed to use one rod when fishing, but if you plan on using more than one, you will have to get a 2-rod validation. Anyone over 12 years old must obtain a two-rod validation to use 2 rods for fishing in Oregon. But using 2 rods is not allowed even with the validation in Columbia River.

If you love ice fishing, you’re in luck; Oregon allows anglers to use a maximum of 5 rods. But you’ll have to get a validation to use five lines and rods when fishing in ice water. (source)

Table of fishing license costs in Oregon. (source)

Annual angling license$44.00$110.50
Annual angling sport pac license$196.50N/A
Annual Combination license$73.00N/A
Annual shellfish license$10.00$28.00
Youth license (12-17 years old)$10.00$10.00
One-day angling license$23.00$23.00
Two-day angling license$42.00$42.00
Three-day angling license$59.50$59.50
Seven-day angling licenseN/A$19.00

Where Can I Buy a Fishing License in Oregon?

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has made it easy for anyone to access these licenses by providing more than one way to purchase them. You can visit their offices and purchase your license or get it online. You can get a license in all their offices, including their headquarters.

But if you’re outside Oregon or don’t have time to visit their offices, you can go online and log in to your ODFW licensing system, which is on their official website, and look for the green “buy license” icon and click it.

Next, create or/and verify your ODFW licensing system account. But if you don’t want to open an account, you can use the guest checkout option. Once logged in, you can pick the license you want, add it to the cart and complete your transaction. But you’ll have to print it as soon as you receive it. While finishing your transaction, you may be asked if you are a steelhead, salmon, or sturgeon tag. (source)

You can also purchase your license from all the authorized dealers in Oregon. You can find a list of authorized dealers on their official website. (source) The list includes their contacts and location, so you can call them to find their exact location and purchase your license. Plus, this list is updated regularly, so you’re guaranteed up-to-date info every time. You have a high likelihood of finding an authorized dealer from your hometown.

Guide Recommended Pro Tip: Oregon is a fishing paradise. Ocean coastlines, massive rivers like the Columbia and mountain rivers and streams. Truly a lifetime of opportunities. The big question is always where to go. Let me help with this article. πŸ‘‰ Best Places to Fly Fish in Oregon

How Much Is an Oregon Fishing License at Walmart?

The price is the same as at their offices or online, but you will have to pay a processing fee of about 50 cents. Plus, you will have to print it, so remember to include printing costs while purchasing your license at Walmart.

Where Can I Get the Fishing Regulations in Oregon?

Like in every state, Oregon has rules and regulations that everyone must follow when fishing in public waters. Therefore, to avoid a lawsuit, you should download the rules and regulations PDF from their official website and go through it.

You might even find details on when your favorite fishing destination is open to the public and which fish species you can carry home. On top of that, the rules and regulations PDF can save you time and money by informing you of the right time to visit specific fishing destinations.

It can also help you prevent a lawsuit or a hefty fine by informing you of the bag and possession limits of specific destinations. Remember, every lake, river, pond, or stream has unique fishing rules and regulations. But with the regulations’ PDF, you’ll never have to worry about breaking any rules.

What Is the Fishing License Age Requirement for Oregon?

Kids fishing
Kids fishing

Generally, anyone over 12 years old needs a fishing license to go after a trophy catch. But the youths below 11 years old can still fish for free in the public waters every day, including the free fishing days. The youth license is ideal for anglers between 12 and 17 years old. The state also has a license for senior residents who still want to fish.

Fortunately, the senior’s license is cheaper than the one for adults and youth.

When Do Oregon Fishing Licenses Expire?

All the annual fishing licenses are valid for an entire calendar year. Therefore, all the fishing licenses expire on December 31 of the same year. So it’s always a good idea to purchase your annual license at the beginning of the year. After all, buying the license in the first week of January gives you more time to fish.

On the other hand, short-term licenses that are popular with non-residents have a fixed expiry date. The 3-day license expires after three days, and a 7-day option has a lifespan of a week. Fortunately, you can extend your stay by purchasing another short-term license.

Can You Fish Without a License in Oregon?

Other than during the free fishing weekends, everyone over 12 years old needs a license to cast their line in all the state-owned waters. But the youth below 11 years old can fish for free every day; fortunately, they will have to be accompanied by an experienced adult angler. Despite free fishing for youth under 11, they still have to adhere to the possession and bag limits.

Can You Fish on Private Property Without a License in Oregon?

Yes, residents don’t need a fishing license to fish in Oregon on private property, even if the water passing through the land is not private. But the catch is that you need a license to fish salmon, halibut, sturgeon, and steelhead. Even resident landowners need a permit to fish these species on their properties.

You can fish without a license if you are angling on private land that an immediate family member owns and you live on the land. (4) the other anglers need written permission from the owner or the manager. Remember, you still have to adhere to the land’s rules and regulations set by the owner and stick to the bag and possession limits.

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

Being caught fishing without a license in Oregon is considered a misdemeanor, and if it’s the first time, you will pay a fine not exceeding $2,500. Therefore, you must adhere to Oregon fishing rules and regulations. (source) Remember, you can be penalized for exceeding the bag and possession limits.

In the worst-case scenario, you may be banned from fishing for a few years.

What Is the Fishing Season in Oregon?

Generally, the fishing season is open all year round in Oregon; therefore, you can visit the region any time. After all, you will find a fishing spot that’s open to the public for fishing. Unfortunately, some lakes, ponds, and rivers are usually closed at a particular time of the year.

Each species has a fishing season, and you must know when to catch certain fish. Remember, catching a species when the season is closed is illegal and can result in a fine. For more details, please read on.

Trout Fishing Season

If you plan to enjoy trout fishing in Oregon, you should visit in Spring. March can be an exceptional fishing month for trout in Oregon since trout stocking has begun, so you can go for the holdover fish stocked the previous year. Plus, the options available have overwintered and gotten bigger, which means that you will have a tough fight on your hands and have a good chance of getting a trophy catch.

You can also have fun in early summer, especially if you get a lake right after an ice-off. You’re in for a great fishing experience. Early fall can also be as good as late summer.

Salmon Fishing Season

If you love fall fishing, you should pick a great estuary or bay in early September or late August. But in winter, the Spring Chinook will experience the first salmon run of the year. The best run starts in River Willamette, River Columbia, and the Spring Chinook running on the south and north coasts. Late summer also guarantees you a great fishing opportunity, especially with more than a million salmons moving to the freshwater for spawning purposes.

Steelhead Fishing Season

Another popular fish species in Oregon that can guarantee you a great fishing experience is the steelhead. Anglers always start targeting steelheads in April and May in River Willamette, River Sandy, and its other branches like Santiam, McKenzie, and Clackamas.

In early summer, you can catch steelhead in the Willamette Basin. They migrate through Grande Ronde, John Day, and Deschutes. And if you’re late, you can still catch some in November at Deschutes.

Fish speciesOpening dateClosed date
General fishingJanuaryDecember
TroutJuly 1 September 1June 30 November 30

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Fish in Oregon?

Oregon is a perfect angling destination with hundreds of fresh and saltwater fishing streams. Remember, the Pacific Northwest has thousands of fly fishing opportunities, but Oregon is better than the others. Some of the best fishing destinations in Oregon include:

Diamond Lake

Diamond Lake is a 3,040-acre lake with several camping grounds. It’s situated in the southern parts of Oregon between Mount Thielsen and Mount Bailey. Fishing in this lake is legendary thanks to the significant number of carp, catfish, sunfish, bluegill, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. Plus, the presence of the camping ground makes it easy for an easy-to-access fishing spot.

Paulina Lake

Situated 36 miles from central Oregon, this lake provides an exceptional angling experience. Located at about 6,350 ft., it is the outcome of a collapsed volcanic mountain. Plus, it’s alive with kokanee salmon, brown trout, and rainbow trout is a bonus. Its RV campsite can accommodate 68 RVs.

Mann Lake

Another exceptional place that many consider the best fishing destination in Oregon is Mann Lake. It has a substantial alkaline ratio in the southern parts of the state on Steens Mountain’s high plateau. Its unique factors have made it a perfect spot for Lahontan cutthroat, a cutthroat subspecies. These fish are wild and powerful, so fly anglers are in for a great experience.

Here is a guide to the best places to fish in Oregon. (source)

Can I Fish at Night in Oregon?

Yes, there is no rule against fishing at night in Oregon, but you have to ensure you’re protected. You should wear a reflector jacket and ensure your boat is well-lit. The right time to fish is at dawn and dusk.

How Many Poles Can I Have?

Generally, everyone over 12 years old is legally allowed to use a single rod and line. But with a two-pole validation, you can use two lines. In winter, you can use five poles when ice fishing.

Do You Need a Fishing License in Oregon if You’re Over 65 Years Old?

Everyone over 12 needs a license to fish in the many Oregon water bodies. Resident seniors over 70 have a senior’s license that they can use when fishing.

Looking to Learn the Tips and Techniques for the Fish You Love to Chase? I’ve Got You Hooked Up Below

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


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