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How to Get a Pennsylvania Fishing License

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Teenage boy fishing. Photo: Getty Images / Driendl Group
Getty Images / Driendl Group

Except for a few select Fish for Free days, a current Pennsylvania fishing license is required for anyone age 16 and over to fish or angle for any species of fish in Pennsylvania. This applies to both residents and non residents.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. A Pennsylvania fishing license, including stamps and permits, can be purchased at one of over 1,300 official License Issuing Agents, County Treasurer offices and Fish & Boat Commission offices in the state of Pennsylvania. This includes most major sporting goods retailers, and many Walmart, K-Mart and hardware stores.
    Find a PA Fishing License Agent by County

     

  2. You can also purchase a Pennsylvania fishing license online at the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Outdoor Shop.

     

  3. Resident fishing licenses are much less expensive in Pennsylvania than a non-resident license. Positive proof of legal residency, usually a valid PA drivers license, will be required by the issuing agent when purchasing a Resident fishing license.

     

  4. Discount fishing licenses are available to residents of Pennsylvania who are seniors (age 65+) or members of the National Guard or Armed Services Reserve.

     

  5. If you're planning to fish in Pennsylvania for only a few days, Pennsylvania offers 1-day, 3-day and 7-day tourist licenses for non-residents and a 1-day resident license.

     

  6. If you're fishing for trout or salmon in Pennsylvania waters, you will also have to purchase a special Trout/Salmon stamp. The rule also applies if you fish in designated trout streams or rivers during trout season, even if you don't plan to catch any trout.

     

  7. A special Lake Erie permit is required for anyone who fishes in or on the Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and their tributaries. You can also purchase a combo Trout-Salmon/Lake Erie permit.

Tips:

  1. Display your Pennsylvania fishing license at all times when fishing in the state and carry another positive means of identification with you.

     

  2. Pennsylvania "fish for free" days are held on two separate days each year. You don't need a Pennsylvania fishing license to fish on "fish for free" days.

     

  3. An adult does not need a fishing license to take a child under the age of 16 fishing, providing they aren't fishing themselves and are only assisting the child by casting or retrieving a fishing line or baiting the hook.

     

  4. You can fish on your own private land without a Pennsylvania fishing license, but this exemption does not apply to guests and employees.

     

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