How Much For A Fishing License In Pa? Find Out Now!

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If you’re an avid fisherman or just looking to spend a relaxing day on the water with your loved ones, Pennsylvania offers some of the best spots for fishing. However, before you cast your line into the water, it’s important to ensure that you have a valid fishing license.

A fishing license is mandatory in Pa and failing to possess one can result in hefty fines and other consequences. Having said that, how much do you need to shell out for a fishing license? The answer varies depending on several factors such as residency status, age, duration, and type of license.

Before purchasing one, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with the different types of licenses available in Pa, including annual licenses, 3-day tourist licenses, special permits, and lifetime licenses. Once you have decided which one suits your needs and budget, you’ll want to know exactly how much it costs and where to purchase it.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Chinese Proverb

In this article, we will provide you all the information you need about getting a fishing license in Pa, including current fees, who is exempted from having a license, and where to buy one online or at various retail locations. So, whether you’re planning a quick weekend getaway or a long vacation trip, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about obtaining a fishing license in Pa.

Everything You Need To Know About Pennsylvania Fishing Licenses

Why You Need a Fishing License in Pennsylvania

If you’re planning on fishing in the state of Pennsylvania, whether it’s in its numerous rivers or beautiful lakes, one thing is for sure: you need to have a proper fishing license. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission firmly enforces this requirement because it helps ensure that the state’s fish populations remain healthy. Many anglers might find this process inconvenient, but having a standard fee for everyone ensures fair and sufficient management of fishery resources, allowing people to enjoy them now and in the future.

When and Where to Use Your Fishing License in Pennsylvania

You must possess a valid Pennsylvania Fishing License if you’re 16 years or older while fishing, regardless of your residency status. This rule applies even when fishing from privately owned land. Make sure you always carry your fishing license with you. If caught without it, violators can face stiff fines and receive charges against them. As Pennsylvania has over 83,000 miles of streams and rivers and 4 reservoirs spanning more than 1,500 acres, knowing when and where to use your fishing license becomes crucial. These areas are popular among anglers, so make sure you know the local rules—such as seasons, size limits, and other such regulations.

What You Can Catch with a Pennsylvania Fishing License

The PA Fish & Boat Commission lets you catch both game and nongame species. A Pennsylvania resident state fishing license offers access to trout-like brook, rainbow, brown, and lake trout; landlocked salmon, muskellunge, walleye, northern pike, and various other commonwealth species. An out-of-state license gives you similar rights but does not allow you to possess more trout than specified in the regulations with one exception: you can purchase an optional, separate 3-day trout/salmon permit that enables out-of-state fishermen to keep five fish per day. Additionally, a non-resident license is required for anyone who wants to fish Lake Erie and its tributaries.

Everyone must have a valid Fishing License when fishing Pennsylvania waters unless they are exempt. Annual Licenses start from $22.90 for PA residents, while nonresidents may buy licenses starting at $52.90. The prices get marginal depending on what type of fishing you plan on doing and whether it’s recreational or commercial use.

“Fishing has always been something that I enjoyed, and I enjoy now. To catch big fish…is just a matter of putting yourself in the right place…When you’re popping that fly up there at ten thousand feet above sea level, and trying to land it in those circling mountain winds, you’ve really got to put some skill into play.” -George H.W. Bush

Types of Fishing Licenses Available in Pennsylvania

Resident Fishing License

A resident fishing license is required for all individuals who are 16 years and older and want to fish in Pennsylvania waters. If you have been a resident of Pennsylvania for at least 30 consecutive days before applying, then you qualify for this type of license. As of 2021, the cost for a resident annual fishing license is $22.97.

“Buying a fishing license represents a conscious investment back into our natural resources and recreational opportunities for present and future generations.” -Mike Stone

If you don’t plan on going fishing too often or just want to give it a try first, there are also lower-cost options available such as a 3-day license ($10.90) or a 5-day license ($17.90). Keep in mind that even if you’re planning to fish for only a day or two, purchasing an annual license may be cheaper in the long run.

Non-Resident Fishing License

If you are not a resident of Pennsylvania or haven’t lived here for at least 30 days, you still can obtain a non-resident fishing license to fish in state waters. The cost for a non-resident annual fishing license is $52.90. This license comes with the same privileges as a resident license, allowing you to fish in most of the state’s waters. However, special regulations apply in some areas such as Lake Erie and border rivers.

Note: If you’re under 16 years old, you do not need a fishing license to fish in Pennsylvania. Also, active-duty military personnel and their dependents can get a license without paying a fee if they meet certain criteria.

Senior Citizen Fishing License

Senior citizens who are 65 years or older and have been Pennsylvania residents for at least 10 consecutive years can get a senior resident fishing license. The cost is only $11.97, which is a considerable discount compared to the standard annual fee.

The senior citizen fishing license also offers discounts on trout/salmon stamps as well as Lake Erie permits.

“Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do.” -Golda Meir

You may also consider purchasing multi-year licenses instead of renewing annually to lock in current pricing for multiple years.

  • If you purchase a 3-year license, you save approximately 7% off the regular price.
  • If you purchase a 5-year license, you save approximately 12% off the regular price.

No matter what type of fishing license you need, you can obtain it online using the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website or any authorized issuing agent such as sporting goods stores or county treasurers’ offices. You should carry your valid fishing license with you while fishing and be prepared to show it to law enforcement officers if requested.

How to Obtain a Fishing License in Pennsylvania


The easiest and most convenient way to get a fishing license in Pennsylvania is through the FishBoatPA online licensing system. To obtain your fishing license, you need to visit the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission website and click on the ‘Buy a Fishing License’ button or go directly to the FishBoatPA website.

You will need to create an account if you don’t already have one. Once you’ve created an account, select the type of fishing license that you require, such as a residential or non-residential yearly license or a short-term tourist daily license. You will also need to provide personal identification information, including name, address, phone number, and date of birth.

After you’ve selected your preferred license type and filled out all necessary information, you can proceed with the checkout process by paying for the license using a credit card. Once payment has been confirmed and processed, you will be able to print out your fishing license immediately, allowing you to start fishing right away!

In Person

If you prefer to get your fishing license in person, it’s simple to do so at any of the many authorized issuing agents located throughout Pennsylvania. These include sporting goods stores, bait shops, and other retailers, as well as county treasurers’ offices and some other government locations.

To find a location near you, use the Find an Issuing Agent tool available on the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission website. Be sure to check the store hours before going as some retail locations may not always have someone available to issue fishing licenses.

When visiting an issuing agent, bring along any required documentation, typically proof of residency (e.g., driver’s license) and cash or a checkbook where fees ranging from $22.90 for a resident’s annual trout/salmon permit to $68 for a non-resident 3-day fishing license are payable.

By Mail

If you prefer to request your fishing license by mail, print out and complete the appropriate form found on the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission website. The forms can be mailed with payment to the address listed on the form, accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope so that the fishing license would be mailed back to you.

Note that mailing applications take longer to process than getting them online or in-person. Fees range from one type of permit to another; Inshore/Offshore Saltwater Fishing Permit is available at $15 from county treasurers, while the standard Adult fishing permit technically sold at this moment costs around $21 if bought through mail orders.

Through Authorized Agents

Another way to obtain a fishing license in Pennsylvania is to get it through an authorized issuing agent, which includes sporting goods retailers, tackle shops, hardware stores, and many other locations throughout the state.

To find an authorized agent near you, use the ‘Find An Issuing Agent’ tool on the PA Fish & Boat Commission website. You’ll need to provide basic information such as zip code or street address to receive suggestions about the nearest location.

Remember to bring along all required documentation (proof of residency) and cash or chequebook when visiting an issuing agent to purchase a fishing license. It is important to check hours before going since not all agents may have staff available who issue licenses at all times.

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

Getting a fishing license opens up an endless array of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors and indulge in a healthy hobby while connecting with nature. Follow the guidelines mentioned above, and you will be able to purchase your fishing license both quickly as well as cheaply in Pennsylvania!

Cost of Pennsylvania Fishing Licenses for Residents and Non-Residents

Resident Fishing License Fees

If you are a resident of Pennsylvania and want to enjoy fishing in the state’s waters, you need to have a valid fishing license. The cost of a resident fishing license varies based on the duration or type of license. For example:

  • An annual resident fishing license costs $22.90.
  • A 3-year resident fishing license costs $64.90.
  • A senior resident fishing license (65+ years old) is free but still requires registration with the Fish, Boat Commission every year.
  • A disabled veteran can get a lifetime Pennsylvania fishing license for $1.97 only if their disability arose from military service that rendered them at least 50% disabled. Otherwise, they must pay full price.

It’s important to note that all yearly licenses run from December 1st through the following December 31st each calendar year, unlike other states where licenses are typically valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.

Non-Resident Fishing License Fees

If you are not a resident of Pennsylvania, you will need to obtain a non-resident fishing license before casting your line in any of the Keystone State’s waters. Depending on the duration or type of license needed, these are the fees you’ll have to pay:

  • An annual non-resident fishing license costs $52.90.
  • A seven-day tourist fishing license costs $34.90.
  • A three-day tourist fishing license costs $26.90.
  • A two-day tourist fishing license costs $21.90.

It’s worth noting that PA recognizes fishing licenses from some other states, but the rules and fees varying based on where you’re from. It’s crucial to check the Fish, Boat Commission website to understand how reciprocity agreements work before planning your next fishing trip.

“Fishing is much more than fish. It’s the great outdoors getting together with nature. It’s being able to spend time with your family and friends.” – Bob McNally

Being aware of Pennsylvania’s fishing license requirements and associated costs will help anglers save money while adhering to local regulations. Whether you are a PA resident or visiting the state for angling purposes, securing the correct permit is vital before casting your rod in any of the waterways within the Commonwealth.

Benefits of Having a Pennsylvania Fishing License

Access to State Waters

One of the most significant benefits of having a fishing license in Pennsylvania is that it gives you access to some of the best waters in the state. With over 86,000 miles of streams and rivers, and 4,000 inland lakes and ponds, you can find almost all species of fish here.

Having a valid fishing license will allow you to fish in these waters legally without the fear of getting fined or penalized. In addition, your license fees are used for conservation efforts at state aquatic resources to maintain healthy populations of fish.

  • Annual adult resident Sport Fishing License: $22.97
  • Non-resident (16 years of age and older) seven-day tourist license: $34.70
  • Sr Resident Annual Fishing Permit (65+): FREE

Supporting Conservation Efforts

The second primary benefit of obtaining a fishing license in Pennsylvania is that it supports conservation initiatives across the state. The funds collected from licensing fees come back into preserving and maintaining the environment and natural habitats where fish live and thrive.

According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, they received approximately 37 million dollars in revenue collection from fishing permits and boat registrations and spends every single penny on different projects such as surveying the health of fish populations, improving fisheries stocks, habitat restorations, researches on invasive species mitigation or schooling future fishermen. This means that every time someone purchases a fishing permit, they contribute towards conserving the surrounding ecosystems fostering better angling opportunities.

“The system is designed so that those who use our waterways pay for the management, regulation, and protection of the resource,” says Tim Schaeffer, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. “Without fishing license sales revenue, we would not be able to pursue our mission.”

Getting a Pennsylvania fishing license provides you with two significant benefits: the opportunity to access some of the state’s best waters for recreational purposes legally and helps fund conservation efforts across the region.

So if you’re planning a fishing trip or just want to catch a fish or two in your free time at a nearby lake, purchase an appropriate Pennsylvania fishing license before packing up your gear. Prices are affordable & reasonable; plus, you will actively contribute to preserving marine life while enjoying one of the most satisfying activities that is perfect for spending time outdoors, relax, spend quality family time as well!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a resident fishing license cost in PA?

A resident fishing license in Pennsylvania costs $22.90. This license is valid for one year from the date of purchase. There are also options for multi-year licenses, with discounts available for purchasing licenses for three or five years.

What is the cost of a non-resident fishing license in Pennsylvania?

A non-resident fishing license in Pennsylvania costs $52.90 for one year. There are also options for multi-year licenses, with discounts available for purchasing licenses for three or seven years. Additionally, there is a seven-day non-resident license available for $34.90.

Can seniors get a discount on fishing licenses in PA?

Yes, seniors aged 65 and older can purchase a one-year fishing license for $11.90. However, this discount is only available to Pennsylvania residents. Non-resident seniors are subject to the regular non-resident license fees.

What are the different types of fishing licenses available in Pennsylvania, and how much do they cost?

There are several types of fishing licenses available in Pennsylvania, including resident and non-resident yearly licenses, multi-year licenses, and 7-day non-resident licenses. In addition, there are discounted licenses available for seniors and disabled residents. Prices range from $11.90 for a senior resident license to $52.90 for a non-resident annual license.

Are there any additional fees associated with purchasing a fishing license in Pennsylvania?

Yes, there is a $1.00 transaction fee per license purchased. This fee is used to cover the cost of maintaining the online licensing system and is added to the total cost of the license at the time of purchase.

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