Fishing in a Wyoming river

How Much Is a Fishing License in Wyoming? (Regulations and more)

Wyoming is a dream destination for every angler, including me. It’s over 27,000 miles of streams and rivers, over 4,000 lakes, and a few reservoirs are home to over 22 fish species; therefore, Wyoming has always been one of my best states for catching trophy fish. The fact that it has thousands of water bodies has always amazed me, and the thought of the number of fishing possibilities this state offers is astonishing.

But because Wyoming has several fishing possibilities, it doesn’t mean they don’t have some rules and regulations. You need a fishing license to cast your line in all the state-owned water bodies. Unfortunately, these licenses are not free; you can either purchase an annual license or a short-term one. The prices of these Wyoming fishing licenses are:

  • Annual Wyoming Resident: $27
  • Annual Youth Resident: $3
  • Annual Youth Non-resident: $15
  • Annual Non-Resident: $102
  • Five days Non-resident permit: $56

To learn more about fishing licenses, here is the link

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Does Wyoming Have Free Fishing Day?

Yes, Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department has designated June 4 as a Free Fishing Day in all their water bodies. Wyoming made the beginning of the National Boating and Fishing Week a free fishing day, and every angler, non-resident, and resident can fish. Despite being a free fishing day, you must follow all the other rules and regulations.

Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation are the only places you can’t fish without a license during the free fishing day. (source) The Wind River Reservation is the 7th largest Indian reservation in the United States. (source) The only folks who can fish there are the tribe members and anyone with a Wind River tribal fishing license. Therefore, you need the tribal fishing permit to access the Wind River Reservation.

Therefore, free fishing days are the best time for beginners to try fly fishing before deciding if they’re ready to invest in the sport.

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

Yes, anyone in Wyoming can fish for free on all the state-owned water bodies on Free Fishing Day. They can even participate in recreational sports while learning more about different types of fishing. If you’re into fly fishing, the free fishing day may be the best time to meet some experienced fly anglers and learn more from them.

During the Free Fishing days, the state hosts several fishing competitions for anglers of all ages in most of their fishing spots. Therefore, if you’re lucky, there may be a fun activity for you and your entire family in your favorite fishing spot.

Table of Different Fishing Licenses in Wyoming

For Wyoming residents, everyone over 14 must get a fishing license. But for non-residents, there is no set age limit as everyone must apply for a license to fish in this state. But if accompanied by an adult, a non-resident under 14 years old doesn’t need to get a youth fishing license. (source) So here are some of the rates for fishing licenses in Wyoming:

Table of Fishing License costs in Wyoming:

Annual Adult Fishing License$27$102
Daily Adult fishing license$6$14
Annual Youth fishing license$3$15
Five-Day Fishing License $56

Where Can I Buy a Fishing License in Wyoming?   

Like most states, Wyoming has made it possible for anglers to purchase fishing licenses by ensuring it is available online and at their local offices and head office. Therefore, you can either visit their game and fish regional offices or go to the headquarter offices in person. (source) Several local businesses sell fishing licenses in Wyoming. To access the local vendors, please follow the following link.

If you’re not in Wyoming, you can purchase your fishing license online through this link. You can pay for the license using your credit card and complete the transaction.

Unfortunately, when purchased online, you won’t receive the license via mail, so you must print it yourself before leaving your home. So make sure you have it on you every time you go out fishing; remember, if you purchase an annual license, then the law will demand that you also purchase a conservation stamp.

The actual stamp must be signed using ink, and you must carry it together with your license every time you go fishing. Fortunately, several folks are exempted from purchasing a stamp, including folks with the Special Limited Fishing Permit.

How Much Is a Wyoming Fishing License at Walmart?

If you can’t access the local dealers, you can visit the local Walmart and talk to the folks working at the sports and outdoors department. You should be ready to pay over $27, but the license price will depend on your age, duration, and state.

Where can I get fishing regulations in Wyoming?

Like the other states, Wyoming has several fishing rules and regulations that every angler must follow. Remember, the cost of not following these rules is a penalty, and you may even get to serve a jail term. In the worst-case scenario, the court may cancel your permit, making it impossible for you to enjoy your fishing weekend.

Fortunately, you can find the Wyoming fishing regulations on their official website. (source) Therefore, make sure you download it and go through it.

Generally, Wyoming’s drainage system splits into five areas, each with its unique regulations. For instance, the use of live baitfish in areas 1, 2, 3, and 4 is prohibited. Plus, you can use a valid Utah fishing license to legally fish in area 4. (source)

What Is the Fishing License Age Requirement for Wyoming?

Wyoming understands that fishing is an exceptional sport for everyone; therefore, they allow everyone to take part in this sport. Unfortunately, some youths may need a fishing license, depending on their ambitions, residency, and age. In terms of age, anyone over 14 must get a fishing license.

Kids below 14 are allowed to keep their creel limit without a license. Both residents and non-residents between the age of 14 and 18 need a youth fishing license to cast their lines in Wyoming. Anyone with an annual youth fishing license must also get a conservation stamp. (3)

The state considers anyone over 62 years old a senior; fortunately, Wyoming does have a fishing license for these anglers.

When Do Wyoming Fishing Licenses Expire?

Generally, Wyoming fishing licenses last for an entire calendar year; therefore, you can use them from January 1 and December 31, with the main exceptions being the Indian Reservation and Yellowstone National Park. On the other hand, the conservation stamps last 12 months, and their expiry dates are determined by when you purchase them. (source)

If you purchased your conservation stamp on March 1, you could use it up to the end of February the following year.

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Can You Fish Without a License in Wyoming?    

No, other than on the free fishing days, everyone over 14 needs a fishing license to cast their lines on the state waters. Besides the license, you also need a conservation stamp to fish legally in Wyoming. And even with the license, you can still be prosecuted for breaking Wyoming’s fishing rules and regulations.

But all the under 14 years old kids can fish any day in Wyoming and even carry a huge percentage of their catch to the tent or home.

Can You Fish on Private Property Without a License?

Yes, you don’t need a license to fish on a pond situated on private properties; after all, the owner did get a license to set up the pond and even own certain fish species. Therefore, the owner and their friend don’t need a fishing license on the land. But the law stipulates that no person shall access private land to fish without getting the owner’s permission or the staff in charge. You may be prosecuted for trespassing if found fishing on private property without the owner’s permission.

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

In Wyoming, fishing is a lifestyle, but knowing the regulations and rules can be crucial, especially if you plan on avoiding paying a fine. The game commissioner can arrest you with an illegal fishing warranty if caught. Fortunately, these cases are considered misdemeanors; therefore, you may appear in court and need to pay a bond or risk jail time.

But the fine for fishing violations can be as high as $10,000 in Wyoming or about a year of imprisonment for high misdemeanor cases. The penalty for low misdemeanor cases is about $1,000 or 6 months jail term. (source)

What Is the Fishing Season in Wyoming?

Fly Fishing in Wyoming
Fly Fishing in Wyoming Brown Trout from Firehole River

Currently, fishing is allowed year-round, 24 hours per day, in all the state water unless the commission regulation has prohibited it. As aforementioned, Wyoming’s drainage system splits into five regions, each with its fishing season and regulation. Therefore, before leaving your home, you need to determine where you will be fishing and which are the best seasons to visit certain places. Remember, not all rivers and lakes are open for fishing all year round.

Area 1

In Area 1, you can find many fish species, including all trout species except lake and brook trout. The region also hosts some whitefish, Northern pike, and burbot, a non-game fish that you must kill as soon as you catch it. The fishing season in this state is open all year round, but some fishless lakes and rivers are closed all year round, including Swan Lake, Sawmill Pond, Moose Ponds, Hedrick Pond, and Christian Ponds.

At blacktail spring ponds, the fishing season starts on August 1 and ends on November 30, but here you will need to use artificial flies only. (source) On the other hand, Jackson Lake is only closed in October. Other water bodies closed between December and July include most streams in Grand Teton National Park and John Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. (source)

Area 2

Most of the lakes and streams in Area 2 are open all year round, except for a few, like part of Buffalo Bill Reservoir. A portion of the reserve that links Sheep Creek and Rattlesnake Creek up to Gibbs Bridge usually opens between July 15 and March 31. (source) but the rest of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir is open for business all year round. Shoshone Creek and Shoshone Lake are closed between September 1 and June 14.

Area 3

In Area 3, all the water bodies are open to the public all year round, but the state may impose an emergency closure in winter for one reason or another. The main reason is the roads being too closed, which makes these places dangerous for anglers to access. Emergency closure happens all over Wyoming, especially in winter.

Area 4

Area 4 includes the Great Divide basin, Bear River, Little Snake River, and the Green River drainages, which are open to fishing except for a few. For instance, Burnt Lake is usually open for fishing between May 1 and November 30, while Currant Creek is closed between April 1 and June 30. About 500 yards of Fall Creek from Burnt Lake is usually closed from May 1 to June 30.

A part of the Green River from the Geological survey gauge station to Fontenelle Dam is usually closed between October 1 and December 31. If you plan to visit Meadow Lake, you should avoid it from May to June 30 since it is generally closed for fishing. Another unique place to visit is Sublette County, home to Pinedale Children’s Pond. This pond is closed to anyone over 14 years old; therefore, if you want your kids to start fishing at a very young age, then Pinedale Pond is the place to take them while you’re in Sublette County fishing at the Rock Crib Lake. (source)

Area 5

Area 5 includes the drainages of the South Platte River, Sweetwater River, and North Platte River. The region has various trout species, except the late trout and Brook trout; therefore, if you love trout fishing, you should try these rivers. General fishing is usually open all year round, but some places are closed for the best part of the fishing season.

Some of these places include Bump Sullivan Reservoir, open from March 1 to October 31. All the ponds in Edness Kimball Wilkins Park are closed to fishing throughout the calendar year. Springer Reservoir is only open to fishing from February 16 to October 31 every year. (source)

Other Considerations When It Comes to Fishing Season

These streams and lakes are usually closed for a certain period to help repopulate certain fish species. But still, even the lakes open all year round have a season for certain fish species; therefore, knowing when the population of a specific type of trout is high can help you make the right decision when planning your trip.

Therefore, you have to know the right time to go after a specific species and where you can find it. So here is a table on the best fishing season for different species:

Fish speciesOpening dateClosing date
General fishingJanuary 1December 31
Bass (you can fish bass all year round, but if you want some considerable catch, you should try in summer)June 20September 23
Trout (you can get some substantial brown trout between late November and December)July 1August 31
Walleye (they tend to be active in summer, and you can catch most of them from sundown to midnight)            JuneSeptember

Frequently Asked Questions for Fishing in Wyoming

Where Can I Fish in Wyoming?

Wyoming is an exceptional state situated in the country’s mountainous western region; therefore, you should expect to fish in some of the most beautiful high-altitude lakes in the region. You should expect to fish in ponds, lakes, streams, ice, and rivers and even try fly fishing. Therefore, if you’re targeting panfish, salmon, trout, walleye, crappie bass, and catfish, you have come to the right place. So here are some of the best fishing spots in Wyoming:

  • Glendo Reservoir: another reliable reservoir is the Glendo reservoir, located in Glendo State Park, Wyoming. Besides fishing, this dam has a capacity of about 1,170,000acre-feet of water used for flood control and irrigation. It’s the best place for fishing panfish, catfish, crappie, trout, and walleye.
  • Guernsey Reservoir: this reservoir resides along the North Platte River, and the Glendo Dam created it. It’s primarily used for flood control and irrigation but has some exceptional fishing spots. Please follow the link for more details on the best place to fish.

Looking for even more places to fish in Wyoming, Check out the articles below.

Can I Fish at Night in Wyoming?

Yes, like most American states, the fishing seasons are usually open for fishing 24 hours, seven days a week. Therefore, if you love fishing at night, add some of the Wyoming waters to your bucket list. But make sure they have a unique camping or RV site.

How Many Fishing Poles Can I Have?

In Wyoming, you can legally fish using two fishing poles through open water or ice. Unfortunately, they don’t allow extra rods for anglers.

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

You only need to be over 62 years old to qualify for a senior fishing license. Residents over 65 years who have lived in Wyoming for over three decades qualify for a free Conservation Stamp when they purchase their senior licenses.

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  1. Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff, fish and fishing licenses, accessed September 27, 2022
  2. Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff, accessed September 27, 2022
  3. Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff, ask game and fish, accessed September 27, 2022.
  4. Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff, where can I buy a Wyoming fishing license, accessed September 27, 2022.
  5. Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff, Wyoming fishing regulations, accessed September 27, 2022.
  6. Tammie, Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff, when does my Wyoming conservation stamp expire?,-when-does-my-Wyoming-conservation-stamp-ex/ accessed September 27, 2022.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, Wind River Indian Reservation, accessed September 27, 2022.
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