How Much Is A Fishing License In Texas? Find Out Here!

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If you’re planning on heading out to fish in Texas, then it’s important to know the cost of a fishing license. It’s always better to be prepared before hitting the water so that you don’t face any legal issues or fines. While some states allow anglers to fish for free, others require licenses to be purchased beforehand.

As with most things related to fishing, each state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to fishing licenses. In this article, we’ll focus on Texas and answer one of the most frequently asked questions: how much is a fishing license in Texas?

Getting caught without the proper papers could end up costing you more than just a few dollars, so it’s essential to understand what you need before casting your line. Thankfully, getting a fishing license in Texas is quite simple and easy on the wallet, but there are still a few details to consider based on your angling preferences and residency status.

“Fishing provides time to think, and reason not to. If you have the virtue of patience, an hour or two of casting alone is plenty of time to review all you’ve learned about the grand themes of life. It’s time enough to realize that every generalization stands opposed by a mosaic of exceptions, and that the biggest truths are few indeed. Meanwhile, you feel the wind shift and the temperature change. You might simply decide to be present and observe a few facts about the drifting clouds.” – John Gierach

Types of Fishing Licenses Available in Texas

Freshwater Fishing License

A freshwater fishing license is required for any person who wants to fish in the freshwater bodies within Texas state lines. The annual fee for a resident freshwater fishing license is $30, and a non-resident can obtain it at $58. This license allows individuals to fish in over 70 reservoirs, hundreds of creeks and rivers throughout Texas. However, some additional fees may apply for certain areas or specific types of fishing equipment.

If you are looking to catch popular game species like black bass, crappie or catfish, then you must purchase an endorsement through this type of license. In addition to the endorsement, there are other permits available such as paddlefish tags or alligator gar harvest authorizations that come with separate fees of their own.

Saltwater Fishing License

Anglers who wish to target saltwater species need a saltwater fishing license along with the stamps mentioned below. One must possess freshwater fishing license separately if they want to hunt aquatic creatures both above and below water levels. Saltwater licenses carry different prices depending on whether you live in Texas and your age range:

  • Annual Resident: $35 (age 17-64)
  • Annual Senior Citizen (65 and up): $17
  • Annual Access: $7 (Resident Disabled Veterans, Special Needs Persons, Senior Limited Income)
  • Non-residents have to pay almost double rates as compared to residents for this type of license ($68 annually).

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department also issues more than one tag/stamp that allows fishermen to chase premium quality species. For instance, catching red drum requires an $8 red drum tag, while catching flounder requires a $3 stamp in addition to the saltwater license. The pricing for these additional licenses and tags gives anglers greater access to desired species during their fishing expeditions.

“Good things come to those who bait.” – Unknown

Every angler who wants fish in Texas must have one or more of the above-mentioned types of fishing licenses depending on what kind of water body you plan to fish in and which type of species you want to catch. These fees go directly into funding programs that strive towards preserving aquatic life and habitats within the state’s waters. Purchase any type of license at a discounted rate by qualifying for some special military/veteran discounts offered through TPWD (Texas Parks & Wildlife Department).

Residency Requirements for Fishing License in Texas

Texas Resident

If you are a resident of Texas, you can purchase an annual fishing license at the cost of $30. This license allows you to fish in freshwater and saltwater areas throughout the state of Texas. In addition to this, you may also purchase other types of licenses available such as Lifetime Licenses by contacting your nearest Law Enforcement Office or TPWD Headquarters.

This Texas resident fishing license fee is reduced considerably if you are aged 17 and under when applying for one, whereby the price drops down to $7.


Non-residents of Texas must pay more than residents for their fishing license. An annual non-resident fishing license costs $58 which permits you to fish in freshwater and saltwater locations across the state of Texas.

If you are only looking for a short-term option during your visit, you may opt for a temporary daily pass that lets you fish within the bounds of county limits for the day, costing just $16 per person; however such alternatives should be avoided if planning to fish frequently in the state.

Military Personnel

Active-duty military personnel and members of the National Guard or Reserve who reside in Texas are considered residents for hunting and fishing purposes. They can purchase an annual combination Hunting & Fishing Super Combo License for a total of $18 (normally priced at $68) instead of buying them separately permitting them legal hunting and fishing opportunities.

To qualify for active duty status, you must provide documentation regarding your current assignment from either the installation’s personnel office or an Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management Command.

Disabled Veterans

Veterans with disabilities have unique options to enjoy fishing in Texas. Disabled veterans who are the resident of Texas but have a disability rating between 60% and 69% from the VA only need to pay $7 for their annual fishing license.

Veterans rated with at least 70% disabled by the VA can apply for the Permanent Super-Combo License which includes General, Special Resident Hunting, Fishing & Saltwater $32 fees will be waived. This means that these individuals get permission to engage in hunting and fishing projects without paying any money out of pocket

“Fishing is much more than fish.. it is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers” – Herbert Hoover

Fishing is one of the most popular leisure activities enjoyed in Texas as water abounds throughout the state offering excellent opportunities. There are several licensing requirements for residents, non-residents, active-duty military personnel, and disabled veterans; however necessary paperwork or certification is required for availing some of these discounted licenses.

Remember: A fishing pole often results in amazing experiences even though sometimes you return empty-handed!

How to Purchase a Fishing License in Texas

Online Purchase

If you are wondering how much is a fishing license in Texas, it depends on various factors like age, residency, and duration of the license. The easiest way to purchase a fishing license in Texas is by going online. The cost for a Resident Annual freshwater fishing license is $30 while Non-Resident annual freshwater costs $58.

To make an online purchase, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. You will see different tabs; select “Licenses” then “Buy a License Online”. Then you will need to fill out the required information which includes your personal details, type of fishing license, duration of the license, etc. Pay using any accepted debit/credit card once done.

“Angling is extremely time consuming. That’s sort of the whole point.” -Thomas McGuane

An electronic copy bearing the licensee’s legal name and customer number will be generated after payment confirmation. Keep this copy either electronically or print it out as proof of licensing. This online version is acceptable because there’s no physical card issued with an e-license.

In-Person Purchase

You can also buy fishing licenses in-person through licensed retailers such as Walmart, local bait stores or tackle shops, Academy Sports + Outdoors among other outlets. Most retail locations usually display a sign indicating that they’re authorized TPWD sales agents. They offer added convenience compared to online purchases especially when buying additional items required for fishing like baits, lines, hooks et cetera.

If asking about the cost of a fishing license in person at a store, prices vary depending on location and whether it enhances other products being purchased. For instance: A resident fresh water One-Day All-Water license if bought from Academy Sports, also offers a free t-shirt and costs $19.99. That same license at Walmart without added perks is priced at $11.

When making purchases of this nature in-store ensure you provide name, address, social security number or other required info correctly to avoid delays. Have your proof of residency around just in case it’s needed even though the retailers may have an automatic method for verification.

“I look at trees, hunt mushrooms, watch animals, and insects. Fishing is what gets me out into the woods so I can notice these things.” -Gary Snyder

Purchasing a fishing license in Texas isn’t difficult. You either purchase it online or through licensed agents such as Wal-Mart, Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy.

You do not need to be an expert angular but having the right gear helps. Every angler requires a different type of gear specifically based on their level of experience, location they plan to fish and economic status. A great way to customize whether you should get heavy-duty flycasing reels versus spinning rods and much more is by asking experienced anglers and sales associates questions that allow them to tailor their recommendations towards your needs. So whether buying a “One-Day All-Water” license or an annual permit for multiple types of waterways expect to pay some sort of fee, however every penny paid ensures conservation efforts continue rolling along- without Texas needing extra taxes!

Additional Fees for Fishing in Texas

If you want to fish in Texas, you need a fishing license. The cost of the license depends on several factors like age, residency status, and duration of the license. However, there are additional fees associated with fishing that you may not know about.

Transaction Fees

When purchasing your fishing license online, over the phone, or at a certified agent location, you may be charged a transaction fee. This fee is added to cover the cost of processing your payment. The fee varies depending on how you purchase the license. For example, if you buy a yearly fishing license online, there will be an additional $5 transaction fee.

It’s important to note that this fee does not apply to purchases made in person at TPWD law enforcement offices. Additionally, disabled veterans can purchase their licenses without paying any transaction fees whatsoever.

Special Tag Fees

In addition to transaction fees, there are special tag fees that anglers need to pay when they catch certain types of fish. If you’re interested in catching alligator gar or trophy-sized catfish, you’ll need a special tag which comes at an extra cost.

The alligator gar tag costs $60, while trophy-sized catfish tags range from $15-$25 depending on the weight class of the fish. These tag fees are used to help fund conservation efforts and protect these species from overfishing.

“Alligator gar have been around for millions of years and they represent one of the oldest lineages of living fishes,” said Kirk Miles, Alligator Gar Program Leader at TPWD. “They play an important role in the aquatic ecosystem, so it’s essential we work to conserve them.”

Aside from special tag fees, anglers may also need to pay for specialized equipment such as trotlines or certain types of nets. These tools require special permits which come at an additional cost.

So, if you’re planning on fishing in Texas, it’s important to not only consider the cost of the license but also any additional fees associated with the specific type of fish you plan on catching. By factoring in these extra expenses, you can ensure you have a successful and legal fishing trip while helping to support conservation efforts.

Fishing License Exemptions in Texas

Children Under 17 Years of Age

Are your kids interested in fishing? If they are under the age of 17, they do not need a fishing license in Texas. This exemption applies to both residents and non-residents who are visiting the state.

This means that parents can take their children out for a day on the lake without worrying about purchasing an additional fishing license for them. Children under 17 can learn basic fishing techniques, gain experience, and create memories with family and friends without any extra costs associated with the activity.

“There is nothing quite like watching a child’s face light up when they catch their first fish,” said James Smith, a seasoned angler from Houston. “Not having to worry about buying another fishing license just makes it easier and more affordable for families to enjoy this pastime together.”

Disabled Veterans

Another group that does not require a fishing license while fishing in Texas are disabled veterans. Those who have been rated as at least 60% disabled by the VA or have suffered the loss of a limb during their time in service are eligible for this exemption. They must carry proof of eligibility such as a military ID card along with a letter from the VA stating their disability rating.

The exemption applies to both freshwater and saltwater fishing. It also extends to those accompanying the disabled veteran who are fishing on the same trip. However, if the companion catches fish themselves, they will need to purchase a valid fishing license beforehand.

“Fishing can be a form of therapy for veterans coping with physical and mental wounds sustained during active duty,” said Mark Hernandez, founder of Warriors on the Water, a nonprofit organization dedicated to taking disabled veterans fishing. “Being able to fish without worrying about the cost of a license removes one more barrier and allows them to focus on enjoying their time on the water.”
Regardless of these exemptions, many visitors and residents in Texas choose to purchase an annual fishing license. The prices vary according to residency status and the type of license needed. For example:
  • Residents can purchase an annual freshwater fishing license for $30 or a saltwater fishing license for $35.
  • Non-residents pay $58 for an annual freshwater license and $63 for an annual saltwater license.

Fishing licenses can be purchased online, by phone, or in person at over 1,700 retailers across the state. These include sporting goods stores, tackle shops, and even some convenience stores. Just remember that if your child is under 17 or you are a disabled veteran with appropriate proof of eligibility, you will not need to purchase a license before casting your line.

Consequences of Fishing Without a License in Texas


Fishing is an enjoyable pastime activity that requires careful consideration and observation of state regulations. Hence, it is mandatory for every angler or fisherman to have a valid fishing license to avoid penalties by authority figures such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Failing to obtain a fishing license could lead to uncontrollable fines and other consequences.

A person caught fishing without obtaining a fishing license in Texas can expect to receive hefty fines ranging from $25 to $500 per offense. The fine amount depends on various factors such as the breach of fishing protocols and the number of times the convicted individual had been found guilty. Besides the regular fine, there may be additional costs based on court fees and other expenses associated with the case. In some severe cases, the offender may face imprisonment and confiscation of their equipment.

Legal Action

The laws related to fishing without a license in Texas are taken seriously, and those who fail to comply can end up facing legal action. If a person is convicted of fishing illegally several times, they could be charged with Class C Misdemeanors at each instance and can spend time in jail. Moreover, this violation will go on their personal record, tarnishing any future employment opportunities or participating in similar activities involving animals.

If you go fishing often, it is essential to keep your documents organized and ensure that you obtain all necessary permits, licenses, and certifications. Even if the person sustains their license expiration unknowingly, Texas TPWD shares automated reminders before expiration, allowing individuals enough time to renew their permit and avoid potential liabilities.

“Texas takes its fisheries resources very seriously, and we ask our anglers to do the same,” said Thomas B. Harvey, Director of the Wildlife division. “By purchasing a fishing license and following regulations, anglers can enjoy Texas fisheries for years to come.”
Type of LicensePrice (per year)
Freshwater Fishing$30
Saltwater Fishing$35
All Water Package$40
Affirmative Defense Validations Annual Fee (*Required with purchase of annual fishing, hunting or combination license if hunting migratory game birds) – Youth / Senior Citizen / Disabled Veteran$7

The TPWD obligations to the community have visioned similar initiatives to ensure true utilization of all natural resources without harming the environment. Texas offers recreational licenses to locals and out-of-state visitors that want to participate in angling activities throughout the region. Some of these licenses include freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, inland fishing, and various packages.

“TPWD always encourages licensing so that people are supporting conservation efforts in Texas,” said Eduardo Esteve, a Resource Specialist at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

If an individual is unsure what type of fishing license they require or whether it’s necessary based on their age, nationality, and residency status, they can visit the official TPWD website to learn more about the policies related to the different types of licenses available. It’s essential to ensure that you have all necessary documents required in advance, and by doing so, it ensures enjoyable fishing activities without encountering severe complications with the local authorities.

The consequences of fishing without a license are not worth any amount of money saved from obtaining one legally. So let us endeavor to safeguard our natural resources for ourselves and future generations through strictly adhering to State and Federal regulations with caution, discipline, and responsibility while indulging in angling activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of a fishing license in Texas for residents?

The cost of a fishing license in Texas for residents is $30 for an annual license, $19 for a one-day license, and $40 for a year-round fishing and hunting license. However, if you are a senior citizen or a disabled person, you can get a license for a discounted price of $7.

How much do non-residents have to pay for a fishing license in Texas?

Non-residents have to pay $58 for an annual fishing license, $16 for a one-day license, and $68 for a year-round fishing and hunting license. However, there are some exceptions, such as Oklahoma residents who can get a discounted license for $25.

Are there any discounts available for senior citizens or military veterans?

Yes, senior citizens and disabled persons can get an annual fishing license for a discounted price of $7. Military veterans can also get a free fishing license if they have a 60% or more service-connected disability.

What is the duration of a fishing license in Texas and can I get a refund if I apply for a shorter duration than I need?

An annual fishing license in Texas is valid for one year from the date of purchase. You cannot get a refund if you apply for a shorter duration than you need.

Are there any additional fees or permits required for fishing in certain areas or species?

Yes, there are additional fees and permits required for fishing in certain areas or species. For example, if you want to fish in saltwater, you need a saltwater endorsement. If you want to fish for certain species, such as trout or red drum, you need a special stamp.

Can I purchase a fishing license online in Texas and are there any additional fees for doing so?

Yes, you can purchase a fishing license online in Texas. There is a convenience fee of $5 if you purchase online, but there are no additional fees for purchasing a license through a licensed agent or at a TPWD office.

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