Fishing is a relaxing, rewarding way to enjoy your friends and the splendor of nature. In addition to putting a great meal on the table, it’s a great way to escape the pressure of your daily routine and the stresses of modern life.
But no matter what state you choose to go fishing in, you’ll have to get a license. Though requirements may differ from state to state, all states require you to have a fishing license. Many states offer different licenses for residents and non-residents. Each person on a fishing expedition must have his or her own fishing license.
To find out what your state requires, contact the state’s fish and wildlife agency. Agency names may vary. For example, Texas licensing is done by the Parks and Wildlife Department. California’s agency is the Department of Fish and Game. Check your phone book for the proper name and number to get information. Or search for “fishing license” on the Internet where most states make their information easily available to the public.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to take an exam or get a learner’s permit, and you don’t have to meet minimum age requirements. In fact, some states exempt children under a certain age from license requirements. Anyone can get a license to fish, and everyone must have one to begin the fishing expedition. You’ll have to provide some personal information, like your social security number or home address, and you will need a valid photo ID to get your license.
Many states allow fishing licenses to be purchased at stores near the fishing area. Bait shops, gas stations, and quick-marts may be able to provide a fishing license while you’re on the way to your spot. Some states offer licenses online. Depending on what you’re willing to pay, you may be able to get an annual or lifetime fishing license. You may also be able to get other “privileges” added to your fishing license for a small additional fee.
Some states offer different types of fishing licenses for different types of fishing. For example, North Carolina has different licenses for fishing in coastal salt waters, inland waters, or hunting and fishing combined. Fishing license fees are usually inexpensive, especially for the short-term variety.
You may have to meet specific conditions to get a specific type of license. For example, resident licenses may be available only to those who can demonstrate they’ve lived in the state for a year or more, that they’re a registered voter, that they’ve paid local property taxes. You may also have to show that you do not have a resident fishing license (or a license for hunting or trapping) in another state.
You can’t be too old to get a fishing license. Some states offer senior discounts or add special privileges to the senior’s fishing license. In many states, children don’t have to get a fishing license, though they may be required to take a course in fishing or hunting safety.
Before you go on your fishing trip, be sure to check out the state’s rules and regulations. Normally, they’ll be provided with your license. But you can also check the state’s internet site for detailed information on their rules.
One more tip, wherever you’re planning to go, find out if there are any fish consumption advisories on those waters. In the U.S. today, fish in many water bodies may be overly contaminated with harmful pollutants. While you’d have to eat a whole lot of contaminated fish over a very long period to be harmed, you may be more comfortable if you know about the health status of the fish where you’re planning your trip. For more information, contact the state’s fish and wildlife department for details on fish advisories in the area. You can also visit the U.S. EPA web site at www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish to learn more about this important issue.
Once you have your license, you’re on your way. Grab your gear, get your boat or wading boots, and pick up your companions. It’s time for some fun, relaxing bonding time with nature. And Good Luck!!!