Do Tourists Need A Fishing License In Florida?


Florida is the undisputed “Fishing Capital of the World”. Each year, the sunshine state draws 2.77 million anglers 16 and older.  But while many may have their sights on landing that once-in-a-lifetime trophy sports fish, there likely hasn’t been much thought put into Florida’s fishing requirements. Can you answer if tourists need a fishing license in Florida? Can I use an out-of-state fishing license?  Do certain species require special permits or fishing tags? Here is everything you need to know about tourists, fishing licenses, and the state of Florida.


Do Tourists Need A Fishing License in Florida?

The short answer, anyone who is 16 years or older, and who wishes to take a fish, regardless of freshwater or saltwater, requires a fishing license. A tourist, under the legislative definition, is a non-resident from outside the state lines of Florida. A non-resident child under the age of 16 does not need a fishing license.

Furthermore, if you are a resident of another state, you will need a Florida fishing license. Any state fishing license (unless specified) is not valid nor legal within the state boundaries, unless from the state of Georgia (see freshwater license rules). As a final note, anyone listed on the National Saltwater Registry still needs to purchase a Florida fishing license.


Freshwater Fishing Licenses

Fishing licenses prices (USD) for non-residents:

  • Annual fishing license $47.00
  • Seven-day consecutive fishing license $30.00
  • Three-day consecutive fishing license $17.00


Freshwater License Rules

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Nevertheless, there are a few exemptions to freshwater licenses. Such as, if you’re fishing on private property with a man-made pond under 20 acres without being connected to public water infrastructure. In this circumstance, then a license is not mandatory. On the other hand, if fishing on a pond of 20 acres or more with a fishpond license, then no license needs to be obtained. For those from neighboring Georgia state, there is an exemption concerning Lake Seminole and St. Mary’s Lake where a Georgia state fishing license is valid. Lastly, Florida holds free fishing days in which there are no licensing requirements but catch limits and rules apply.


Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Saltwater license prices (USD) for non-residents:

  • Annual fishing license $47.00
  • Seven-day consecutive fishing license $30.00
  • Three-day consecutive fishing license $17.00
  • Seasonal snook permit $10.00
  • Annual spiny lobster permit $5.00
  • Tarpon Tag $51.50


Saltwater Fishing Rules

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By definition, for the removal of any saltwater species whether from an affixed structure on the shore or state or federal waters, a Florida saltwater license is mandatory. Moreover, this includes the removal of crabs, clams, or any marine life, including special gear.

Florida has several fishing piers that have their licenses, in this case, a saltwater license is not mandatory unless specified. Alternatively, if a fishing charter, has a charter license, a saltwater license does not need to be purchased. Some fishing vessels could be covered by a recreational saltwater vessel license; thus, a saltwater license would not be needed. Finally, Florida offers free saltwater fishing days, in which anyone can fish without a license. It’s crucial to follow all catch limits and regulations during this time.


Saltwater Tags for Specific Species

It’s best to plan for which species it is you want to target. Since select species require a saltwater tag. Popular species like spiny lobster, tarpon, and snook all require a saltwater tag in accompaniment with a saltwater license. Additionally, those looking to purchase a tarpon tag can do so at a Tax Collector’s Office only.


Where Can I Buy A Florida Fishing License?

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is responsible for all angling and hunting licenses. As such, there are many ways to purchase your Florida license.  Licenses can be purchased online by filling out your information at Alternatively, there are several license agencies and tax collector offices that offer this service in person. At last, there is also a dedicated toll-free number or by using the Fish FL App for android or smartphones. 

The Last Word

With the draw of over 600 species of fish with some of the most sought-after sports species, Florida is an angler’s playground. The state recognizes that visitor comes from all over the world eager to land fish that they wouldn’t be able to at home. As a result, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has made acquiring a license as hassle-free as possible for tourists. With so many ways to purchase a Florida fishing license, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have this important documentation available if requested by conservation authorities.