Texas Fishing License (All Waters Detailed)

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If you’re preparing for a fishing trip in Texas, you’ll need to acquire a valid fishing license to stay on the legal side. We will look at every cost for a Texas Fishing license.

On average, a Texas fishing license costs between $35 to $45, which is relatively cheap compared to other states. The exact price depends on the license type if you’re a resident and need an endorsement.

Aerial view fishing dock jetty boardwalk with fishermen on White Rock Lake and downtown Dallas in background. Freshwater fishing and recreational activities at community lake reservoir. - Texas View

How Much Does a Texas Fishing License Cost?

The cost of a fishing license here varies depending on the type of fishing license you’re aiming for and whether or not you’re a resident. That said, buying a Texas fishing license costs an average of $35 to $45.

Fishing licenses in Texas can be categorized according to the following criteria:

  • Type of water:
    • Freshwater fishing licenses
    • Saltwater fishing licenses
    • All Water fishing licenses
  • Individual’s residential status:
    • Resident
    • non-resident
  • Duration of license:
    • One-day
    • End of License Year package
    • Year from Purchase package
    • Lifetime

In addition to an appropriate fishing license, you must obtain saltwater or freshwater endorsement if you plan on fishing or taking fish, clams, crayfish, mussels, or other aquatic life in Texas public waters.

To simplify things, the following sections will disclose the cost of different fishing licenses according to the type of water.

Freshwater Fishing Licenses

Resident, non-resident, and senior freshwater fishing licenses and a freshwater fishing endorsement are required in the state. These licenses are valid from your purchase date until the 31st of August of the same year.

LicenseCost
Freshwater Fishing Endorsement$5.00
Resident Freshwater Fishing Package$30.00
Non-Resident Freshwater Fishing Package$58.00
Senior Resident Freshwater Fishing Package$12.00
Freshwater Fishing Licenses – Texas

As residents of Texas, we can also buy a freshwater fishing license bundled with a hunting license. This is called a combo package, costing $50.00 for regular folks or $16.00 for seniors.

Close up of a colorful Hula Popper freshwater fishing lure dangling from a fishing line while fishing in a Central Texas river on a rainy spring day.

Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Resident, non-resident, and senior saltwater fishing licenses are required here along with a saltwater fishing endorsement. These licenses are valid from your purchase date until the 31st of August of the same year.

LicenseCost
Saltwater Fishing Endorsement$10.00
Resident Saltwater Fishing Package$35.00
Non-Resident Saltwater Fishing Package$63.00
Senior Resident Saltwater Fishing Package$17.00
Saltwater Fishing Licenses – Texas

As for residents, we can also buy a combo saltwater fishing and hunting license package for $55.00. If you’re a senior, it’ll cost you $21.00.

All Water Fishing Licenses

For this fishing license, you’re not required to buy an endorsement.

LicenseCost
Resident All Water Fishing Package$40.00
Resident One-Day All-Water Fishing$11.00
Resident Year-From-Purchase All Water Package$47.00
Non-Resident All Water Fishing Package$68.00
Non-Resident One-Day All-Water Fishing$16.00
Senior Resident All Water Fishing Package$22.00
All Water Fishing Licenses – Texas

A one-day fishing license grants you a resident or non-resident fishing license that you use for the purchase day or a selected day. If you want your fishing license to be valid for multiple consecutive days, you can buy several one-day fishing licenses at the same time.

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As residents of the Lone Star State, we can buy a combo all-water fishing and hunting license package for $60.00. If you’re a senior, it’ll cost you $26.00.

Fishing on in a boat on a lake in Texas

Requirements to Obtain a Texas Fishing License

If you intend to fish in the state’s public water and you’re 16 or older, you’re required to get a valid local fishing license. Additionally, you may need to purchase a freshwater or saltwater fishing endorsement if you’re planning to take or try taking fish from public freshwater or saltwater in Texas respectively.

That said, residents aren’t required to obtain a Texas fishing license if they meet one of the following conditions:

  •  They’re younger than 17 years.
  • They were born before the 1st of January 1931.
  • They’re fishing in private waters.
  • They’re fishing on Texas’s free fishing day.
  • They’re intellectually disabled and fishing under special supervision or as part of medical therapy.

Also, non-residents aren’t required to get a Texas fishing license if they’re under 17, an Oklahoma resident who’s 65 or older, or a Louisiana resident who’s 65 or older.

Sport Fisherman fishing in lake middle of the mountains man fishing. - Texas View

Where To Buy a Texas Fishing License

You can buy a Texas fishing license online from the official website of Texas Parks and Wildlife, by calling (800) 895-4248, or by visiting the nearest approved local fishing license vendor.

Remember that you’ll need to pay an administrative fee of $5 for online and over-the-phone purchases.

Lifetime Texas Fishing Licenses Cost

A lifetime Texas fishing license costs $1,000 and is valid for the lifetime of the license holder. It’s available only for residents and can be purchased through an application.

Fishing Regulations and Restrictions

Fishing in Texas is governed by regulations and restrictions designed to protect the state’s aquatic resources while ensuring a sustainable and enjoyable experience for anglers. Here’s an overview of the critical fishing regulations and rules in Texas:

  1. Fishing License Requirements:
    • Anyone 17 and older must have a valid Texas fishing license to fish in public waters.
    • There are exemptions for residents born before January 1, 1931, and active-duty military members.
  2. Size and Bag Limits:
    • Size and bag limits vary by species and sometimes by water body.
    • For example, the daily bag limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass is generally 5 in any combination, but certain lakes have specific exceptions.
  3. Seasonal Closures:
    • Some species may have closed seasons to protect them during spawning or other critical life stages.
    • For instance, flounder’s has a seasonal closure from November 1 through December 14.
  4. Specific Rules for Different Species:
    • Catfish: In most state waters, catfish have no minimum length limits, but daily bag limits vary by species and location.
    • Trout: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) stocks rainbow trout in the winter months, and there are specific regulations regarding size and bag limits during this period.
  5. Special Area Regulations:
    • Certain areas, like state parks or specific lakes, might have unique rules, such as gear restrictions or catch-and-release-only policies.
    • It’s important to check regulations for where you plan to fish.
  6. Protected Species:
    • Some species are protected and must be released if caught. This includes species like paddlefish and sawfish.
  7. Report a Tagged Fish:
    • TPWD conducts research that includes tagging fish. Anglers who catch tagged fish are encouraged to report them, providing valuable data.
  8. Legal Fishing Methods:
    • Legal methods include pole and line, bow fishing, and gigging for certain species. The use of nets, traps, or spears is regulated.
  9. Catch and Release:
    • While not a regulation, TPWD encourages catch and release to maintain healthy populations, especially for larger specimens of game fish species.
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Three fishermen wade through the water on their way to a prime fishing spot.

Special Permits and Endorsements

In Texas, aside from the standard fishing license, there are additional permits and endorsements that anglers may need to acquire for certain specialized fishing activities or to fish in specific areas. These special permits and approvals help manage and conserve fish populations and habitats. Here’s an overview of some of these permits and approvals:

  1. Freshwater Fishing Endorsement:
    • Required for anglers fishing in freshwater areas in Texas.
    • This endorsement is an addition to the basic fishing license.
  2. Saltwater Fishing Endorsement:
    • Required for anglers fishing in saltwater areas.
    • Includes a Red Drum Tag, necessary for keeping a red drum over the allowed slot limit.
  3. Lake Texoma License:
    • A special license allows anglers to fish in the Texas and Oklahoma portions of Lake Texoma without needing a license from both states.
  4. Bonus Red Drum Tag:
    • In addition to the tag provided with the saltwater endorsement, anglers can purchase an additional tag to keep an extra oversized red drum.
  5. Oyster Boat Commercial License:
    • Required for individuals who harvest oysters commercially.
  6. Commercial Fishing Licenses:
    • Various licenses are available for commercial fishing activities, including finfish, shellfish, and shrimp.
  7. Guide Licenses:
    • Professional fishing guides need a special license, depending on whether they operate in freshwater or saltwater.
  8. Public Hunting (Type II) Permit:
    • While not directly related to fishing, this permit allows access to certain public lands for fishing and hunting.
  9. Archery Endorsement:
    • Required for bow fishing in certain areas where bow fishing is allowed.
  10. Special Area Permits:
    • Some state parks or wildlife management areas may require additional permits for fishing.

These permits and endorsements are typically purchased alongside the basic fishing license, either online, at retail outlets, or Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offices. The fees from these endorsements contribute to Texas’s conservation and fisheries management efforts.

Coastal grass swaying in the early morning breeze at the beach looking out a the sunrise over the ocean with a colorful orange sky with clouds.

Fishing License Exemptions

Certain groups of individuals in Texas are exempt from the requirement to purchase a fishing license under specific circumstances. These exemptions are designed to promote accessibility to fishing and outdoor activities for various population segments, including those with disabilities and veterans. Here are some notable exemptions:

  1. Senior Residents:
    • Texas residents who are 65 or older are eligible for a reduced-fee fishing license.
  2. Youth:
    • Persons under 17 years of age (residents and non-residents of Texas) are exempt from license requirements.
  3. Disabled Veterans:
    • Disabled Veterans, as defined by the Veterans Administration, consisting of the loss of the use of a lower extremity or a disability rating of 50% or more, and who are residents of Texas, are eligible for the “Disabled Veteran Super Combo Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package” at no cost.
  4. Mentally Disabled Persons:
    • Mentally disabled individuals can fish for free as part of a medically approved therapy under the supervision of personnel authorized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
  5. Fishing in State Parks:
    • No fishing license is required when fishing from the bank in a state park or waters entirely enclosed by a state park.
  6. Free Fishing Days:
    • Texas offers an annual Free Fishing Day, typically the first Saturday in June, where anyone can fish in public waters without a license.
  7. Active-Duty Military:
    • Active-duty military members on official leave may fish without a license. Proof of active duty and leave status is required.

It’s important for individuals who think they may be exempt to check the specific requirements and conditions for these exemptions, as they may change or have specific qualifications that must be met. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s official website provides detailed and up-to-date information on all fishing license exemptions and requirements.

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Online Renewal and Replacement

Renewing or replacing a fishing license in Texas can be conveniently done online, making it easier for anglers to comply with state regulations. Here’s how the process works:

Online Renewal of Fishing License

  1. Visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Website: Go to the official website of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
  2. License Sales: Navigate to the section for license sales.
  3. Log In or Create an Account: If you already have an account, log in using your credentials. If not, you must create an account by providing personal information.
  4. Select the License Type: Choose the fishing license you wish to renew. Texas offers various permits, including freshwater, saltwater, and all-water licenses.
  5. Payment: Proceed to payment by entering your payment details. You can pay using a credit or debit card.
  6. Confirmation and Receipt: You will receive a confirmation and a digital receipt after payment. You can print a copy of your license immediately or save it on your mobile device.

Online Replacement of Fishing License

  1. Report Lost or Stolen License: If your license is lost or stolen, log into the TPWD website and report the issue.
  2. Request a Replacement: Follow the prompts to request a replacement license. There may be a nominal fee for replacing a permit.
  3. Payment and Confirmation: Pay any applicable fees and receive confirmation of your replacement license, which you can print or save digitally.

Additional Notes

  • Mobile Friendly: The TPWD website is mobile-friendly, allowing anglers to renew or replace their licenses directly from their smartphones.
  • Immediate Effect: The renewal or replacement is effective immediately, and you can use the digital copy of your license for legal fishing right away.
  • Keep Proof: Always keep a printed or digital copy of your license while fishing, as you may be asked to show proof of your license by a game warden.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)

Website: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Contact Details:

  • Phone: (800) 792-1112 (Option 2 for Licensing)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Physical Address: 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744

Customer Service Hours:

  • Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM CST

Social Media Links:

These resources should provide comprehensive information and assistance regarding fishing licenses, renewals, replacements, and other related inquiries in Texas.

Texas Fishing License FAQs

What is the age for “senior” for a fishing license?

Senior fishing licenses and packages in Texas are available for residents older than 65 years and were born on or after the 1st of January 1931.

What is the Length of “year from purchase” fishing license?

Senior fishing licenses and packages in Texas are available for residents older than 65 years and were born on or after the 1st of January 1931.

What is a special Resident All-Water Fishing License?

Any legally blind Texas resident can obtain this type of fishing license. It costs $7.00, includes a single red drum tag, and doesn’t require endorsements.

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Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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