Taking Kids fishing (Every state listed with license regulations)

Fishing can be a great activity for kids. It teaches little ones patience and Perseverance while allowing them to hone their motor skills and coordination.

At what age do you need a fishing license?

Before you hit the water, you might be wondering if your little one needs a fishing license. Regulations vary from state to state. Some states allow minors as old as 17 to fish without a license, while others require a youth license to be purchased at a discounted rate.

We have included a list of each state’s rules below (as of September 2019. While all information is believed to be accurate, it is your responsibility to confirm with your local department of natural resources).

Do I need a license if I am assisting a minor who is fishing?

It is important to note that any adult assisting a minor may still need a license and all rules and regulations must be respected regardless of age.

Some species such as trout and salmon may require an additional license or stamp. Some states may have special regulations when possessing more than one pole.

Kid’s Fishing regulations by state

  • Alabama
    No license required under the age of 16.
  • Alaska
    Alaskan residents under the age of 18 do not need to purchase a sport fishing license. Non-residents under the age of 16 do not need to purchase a sport fishing license.

    When sport fishing for species with an annual limit, resident anglers under the age of 18 and nonresident anglers under the age of 16 are required to record their harvest on the free Sport Fishing Harvest Record Card. The card is available online, at license vendors, and at Fish and Game offices. Species with an annual limit are listed in the General Regulations section in area sport fish regulation summary books.
  • Arizona
    Youth under the age of 10 do not need to purchase a state fishing license to fish in Arizona.
  • Arkansas
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • California
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Colorado
    All fishing licenses are free for youth under 16 years old. Starting in 2019, Colorado residents ages 16 and 17 will pay $8 for an annual fishing license (instead of full price, a 75% discount).
    Those under 16 can take a full bag and possession limit without a license. However, they must have a second-rod stamp if fishing with a second line.
  • Connecticut
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Delaware
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Florida
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Georgia
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Hawaii
    Minors below nine years of age may fish without a license when accompanied by a licensee. All minors between nine and 15 years of age are required to posses a minor license.
  • Idaho
    Anglers younger than 14 do not need a license, but there is a small difference between resident and nonresident youth. A resident child under 14 has their own separate fishing limit. A nonresident child under 14 must be with someone who has a valid fishing license and their fish are in included in the license holders fishing limit. However, a nonresident child may purchase their own license and have their own limit.
  • Indiana
    A fishing license and trout/salmon stamp are NOT required for residents and non-residents under age 18.
  • Iowa
    All anglers 16 years and older must have a fishing license to fish Iowa waters. Anglers under the age of 16 may fish Iowa waters without a fishing license and may fish for and keep their own limit of fish, except when fishing for trout they must share their limit with a licensed adult or buy their own trout fee to keep their own limit of trout.
  • Kansas
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Kentucky
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Louisiana
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Maine
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Maryland
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Massachusetts
    No license is required under the age of 15. Resident minor freshwater fishing license is available for ages 15–17.
  • Michigan
    If you are under 17, you may fish without a license, but you are required to observe all fishing rules and regulations. Any adult actively assisting a minor who does not have a license must have a fishing license.
  • Minnesota
    No license is required for residents under the age of 16.
  • Mississippi
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Missouri
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Montana
    No license is required under the age of 12.
  • Nebraska
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Nevada
    No license is required under the age of 12.
  • New Hampshire
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • New Jersey
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • New Mexico
    No license is required under the age of 12
  • New York
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • North Carolina
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • North Dakota
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Ohio
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Oklahoma
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Oregon
    No license is required under the age of 12.
  • Pennsylvania
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Rhode Island
    No license is required under the age of 15.
  • South Carolina
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • South Dakota
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Tennessee
    No license is required under the age of 13.
  • Texas
    No license is required under the age of 17.
  • Utah
    No license is required under the age of 12.
  • Vermont
    No license is required under the age of 15.
  • Virginia
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Washington
    No license is required under the age of 15.
  • West Virginia
    No license is required under the age of 15.
  • Wisconsin
    No license is required under the age of 16.
  • Wyoming
    No license is required under the age of 14.

Photo: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi / pexels.com/@freestockpro