A fishing license is required if you’re planning a relaxing fishing trip so you should check it out before putting the fishing gear in the car. The price depends on where you want to fish, how old you are, and the license’s period of validity.
What can you take with a fishing license?
If you intend to take fish, clams, crayfish, mussels, or any other aquatic life from Texas’s public waters, you will need a valid fishing license in addition to your other fishing equipment. Additionally, you may wish to include a freshwater or saltwater endorsement. Take note that you cannot take frogs or turtles with a fishing license, and you must have a hunting license in order to hunt for them.
Who can go fishing without a license?
The first criterion is age. If you were born before January 1, 1931, or are younger than 17 years, you can fish in Texas’s waters without a fishing license.
A person who has been recommended fishing as part of medical therapy also does not require a license. He/she must be supervised by approved personnel at all times when fishing. Carrying the authorization identifying the entity supplying the service is required.
The same applies to a person having an intellectual disability which is supervised by a licensed angler. The angler can be a family member or authorized by the family to accompany the disabled person. The person with an intellectual disability must have an official report from the doctor showing the disability.
License year fishing packages
You can get a special resident, senior resident, non-resident or resident license valid from the date of purchase to 31th of August of the same year. If you buy a freshwater fishing package, you can also get a saltwater endorsement and the other way around.
Special resident all-water fishing license
This fishing license is usable by any Texas resident if he/she is legally blind. Also, having other endorsements such as saltwater or freshwater endorsements are not mandatory for this license, and one red drum tag is included. The price is $7.
Senior resident fishing packages
It is available to all Texas residents who are older than 65 years or born on or after the 1st of January, 1931. The price for an all-water fishing license is $22, the saltwater license costs $17, and for a freshwater license, you will pay $12.
Resident fishing packages
If you are between 18 and 65 years old, you will need this license. The fishing fee is different, depending on where you plan to go fishing. For the freshwater package, you will pay $30, $35 for the saltwater package, and $40 for the all-water package.
Non-resident fishing packages
These are suitable for a non-resident between 18 and 65 years old. The freshwater package costs $58, the saltwater package is $63, and the all-water package costs $68.
One-day all-water fishing license
It can be purchased by residents and non-residents and it is valid for the day selected by the customer. Also, consecutive days can be purchased at the same time.
For this license, endorsements are not mandatory and one red drum tag is available free of charge for the first one-day license only. The price for a non-resident license is $16 and for a resident license is $11.
Year-from-purchase all-water fishing package
It is available only for Texas residents. It contains a fishing license, a saltwater endorsement, a freshwater endorsement, and a red drum tag. These are all valid from the acquisition date through the purchase month’s end of the next license year.
Choose the best type of license
Think of how many times you want to go out fishing in a year and calculate if it is more expensive to get a yearly license or get multiple one-day licenses.
Even if the year-round package includes everything you need to fish and bring home the capture, it is way more pricey than a daily license. Buy a yearly package only if you are sure you will go fishing a lot throughout its validity period.
Fishing guide license
Mandatory for anyone who is involved in fishing by accompanying, assisting, or transporting any person engaged in fishing in the state’s waters. The price varies depending on the category and if the person is a resident or a non-resident.
Lake Texoma license
This license allows you to fish in both the Texas and Oklahoma waters of Lake Texoma without having to purchase any supplementary Texas or Oklahoma fishing licenses. It is valid from the date of the purchase until December 31 of the same year. It costs $12 but Texas residents older than 65 years can fish on Lake Texoma without a license.
Resident sport oyster boat license
It will cost you $13 and is mandatory if you have a boat currently registered in Texas or if you have a certificate of documentation from the U.S Coast Guard showing the owner is a Texas resident.
Non-resident sport oyster boat license
Mandatory for boats not registered in Texas or if the certificate of documentation from the U.S Coast Guard shows the owner is not a Texas resident. The license costs $51 and can be purchased from the law enforcement offices.
Endorsements and tags
These are required if you want to fish in saltwater or freshwater or if you use specific equipment such as a trawl or a trotline.
Freshwater fishing endorsement
It will cost you $5 and is required if you fish in the fresh waters of Texas. A valid fishing license is also mandatory except for the cases where you are not required by law to own a fishing license. The freshwater endorsement is part of the freshwater package, all-water fishing package, and lifetime fishing license.
Saltwater fishing endorsement
It costs $10 and is compulsory for a person fishing in the salt waters of Texas. In case a person is not required to hold a fishing license, the saltwater endorsement is not required.
Also, a red drum tag is issued free of charge for every purchased saltwater fishing endorsement. It is part of the saltwater package, all-water fishing package, and lifetime fishing license.
Bonus red drum tag
You will have to buy this tag in case you plan to take home a red drum bigger than 28 inches. You can get it at any license sale location and it will cost you only $3.
Saltwater trotline tag
This tag costs $5 and is mandatory for every 300 feet on all non-commercial and commercial sail lines fixed in Texas’s coastal waters. It can be purchased at the TPWD Coastal Law Enforcement offices.
Individual bait-shrimp trawl tag
It is compulsory for trawls used to catch shrimp regardless of purpose under a recreational license. It costs $37 and you can get it from the TPWD Coastal Law Enforcement offices.
Fishing without license
Everyone can fish recreationally without any license or endorsement on the first Saturday in June of every year. Authorities have set a free fishing opportunity so more people could try fishing for the first time.
If you already have a license, invite a friend or a family member to join you on the fishing trip. This way, they might discover a new and healthy hobby.
Fishing in private waters
In waters completely enclosed within private property, you can fish without a license or endorsement if you follow the rules.
Fishing in Texas’s state parks
More than 70 state parks offer free fishing opportunities for residents to unwind. Despite the fact that they will be able to fish throughout the year, they will be required to pay park entry fees. Always keep in mind that fishing regulations, such as bag and length restrictions, are still in effect.
If you are fishing in waters completely enclosed within state park boundaries or on state park property, you are not required to have a fishing license or endorsements on your boat. Before engaging in any fishing activities, you should always check with the park authorities to ensure that you are aware of and comply with all applicable rules and regulations.
Fishing licenses required for border waters
Fishing licenses, also known as Permiso de Pesca Deportiva, are required for fishing along the Texas-Mexico border. These are issued by the Mexican Commission Nacional de Acucultura y Pesca and are valid for one year. You can purchase a permit for one day, seven days, thirty days, or a year in advance.
In order to fish in waters that form a common boundary between the states of Louisiana and Texas, you must possess a fishing license issued by one of these two states. It makes no difference whether you are a resident or a non-resident.
If you are younger than 17 years old or older than 65 years old, you do not need a driver’s license. If you want to take any fish, it must meet the length and bag limit requirements set by the state of Texas.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.