A Connecticut recreational fishing license is required to fish in the state’s waterways, which include lakes, rivers, streams and oceanfront locations. There are several recreational fishing license types provided by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), as well as permits, maps, guides and other detailed information to make fishing one of the state’s favorite and most easily accessible hobbies. A freshwater fishing license, a saltwater fishing license or a combination license may be applied for by qualifying residents and non-residents and allows access to the specific type of water referenced. Additionally, a Connecticut commercial fishing license must be purchased by a qualifying individual who wants to fish, sell fish for profit or work as a fishing guide in Connecticut.
The sections below explain in detail how to get a freshwater fishing license in Connecticut, obtain a commercial fishing permit or apply for other types of licenses. Learn the Connecticut sport fishing license fees and where to get a license to start fishing in the state today.
Who needs a fishing license in Connecticut?
An inland recreational fishing license is required for any individual 16 years of age or older who is fishing in the Inland District or freshwater fishing locations. A marine sport fishing license is required for residents and non-residents of the same age who wish to fish from the shore or from a boat in the Marine District. DEEP determines the need for Connecticut recreational saltwater licenses or freshwater fishing licenses and where the lines are drawn between Inland and Marine fishing districts.
A CT saltwater fishing license also allows residents to go fishing at marine locations in Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. If an individual holds a saltwater fishing permit from any of these four states, he or she may also use it reciprocally in Connecticut. A half-price recreational fishing license is available to Connecticut residents who are 16 and 17 years of age and fishing licenses are free for residents age 65 or older.
Connecticut Fishing License Requirements
Nearly any person can get a non-resident freshwater fishing license in Connecticut or another type of basic fishing license, but residents must qualify to obtain lower-priced resident fishing licenses. Resident freshwater fishing permit applicants must provide proof of residency when applying through DEEP.
Types of Fishing Licenses in Connecticut
Personal sport fishing license and commercial fishing license types in CT include:
- Resident and non-resident inland waters fishing.
- Resident and non-resident marine waters fishing.
- One- and three-day marine waters fishing.
- Resident and non-resident combination game and fish fishing license types.
- Commercial saltwater fishing licenses.
- Commercial freshwater fishing license.
What types of fish can I catch with a fishing license in Connecticut?
Your CT recreational fishing license or commercial fishing license provides legal access to harvest the wide variety of fish in Connecticut’s waters. Contact your local DEEP office after obtaining your annual sport fishing license to ask about specific species available at your favorite fishing spots. Common fish catchable with a Connecticut recreational freshwater fishing license include the following:
- Calico bass
- Rock bass
- Largemouth bass
- Smallmouth bass
- Northern pike
- Catfish (channel and white)
- Trout (brook, brown, rainbow and tiger)
Your CT recreational saltwater fishing license can help you land the following marine species off the state’s coasts:
- Striped bass
- Blackfish (Tautog)
- Summer Flounder (Fluke)
- Scup (Porgy)
- Black sea bass
- Striped sea robin
- Oysters Scallops
- Blue Crab
What types of fish require special fishing permits or tags in Connecticut?
Every person 16 years of age or older with a sport fishing license in Connecticut must purchase a trout and salmon stamp if either of the following apply:
- He or she keeps any wild or stocked trout taken from any body of water, except for locations where trout are stocked at no expense to the State of Connecticut.
- He or she fishes, even with catch-and-release, in one of the following designated waters: trout parks, trout management areas, wild trout management areas or the Broodstock Atlantic salmon areas on the Naugatuck or Shetucket Rivers.
The stamp will be printed on the individual’s CT recreational fishing license and will expire annually on December 31. The sport fishing license trout and salmon stamp costs five dollars for CT residents 18 years of age and older and non-residents 16 years of age and older. CT residents who are 16 and 17 years of age may obtain a stamp for a three-dollar fee.
How long is a fishing license valid in Connecticut?
The majority of Connecticut recreational fishing license types are annual licenses that expire each year on December 31. Some sport fishing license types are meant for the length of only one trip, such as the non-resident saltwater fishing license, which is valid for three days.
How much does a Connecticut fishing license cost?
How much is a sport fishing license in Connecticut? Your commercial, trip or annual freshwater fishing license cost varies according to residency and your eligibility for fishing license discounts. Connecticut recreational fishing license costs and the commercial fishing license price scale is as follows:
- Resident inland fishing: $28
- Resident marine waters fishing: $10
- Resident all waters fishing: $32
- Resident inland fishing and small game firearms hunting: $38
- Resident all waters fishing and small game firearms hunting: $40
- Resident all waters fishing and bow and arrow permit to hunt deer and small game: $65
- Non-resident season inland fishing: $55
- Non-resident season all waters fishing: $63
- Non-resident 3-day inland fishing: $22
- Non-resident inland fishing and small game firearms hunting: $110
- Non-resident all waters fishing and small game firearms hunting: $120
Resident and non-resident fees for commercial fishing licenses will vary greatly, according to the type of fishing desired, the species being caught and other factors. If you have questions such as, “What is a commercial fishing license?” or wonder how to obtain a commercial fishing permit for your vessel, contact the DEEP Fisheries Division.
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Are fishing license discounts available in Connecticut?
DEEP offers discounted recreational fishing license types to qualified individuals. You may wonder “How much is a sport fishing license in Connecticut if you are disabled, elderly or a member of the U.S. Armed Forces?” Current discounted sport fishing license types include:
- Intellectually disabled or blind inland fishing licenses: No fee.
- Physically disabled persons’ inland fishing or combination hunting/inland fishing licenses: No fee.
- Over 65 lifetime fishing licenses: No fee but must be renewed annually.
If you are an Armed Forces member, you may obtain an inland recreational fishing license or an all-waters fishing and combination hunting/fishing license at the same lower rates paid by state residents. Contact DEEP for questions about a specific discounted recreational fishing license and the documentation needed to qualify.
Where can I get a fishing license in Connecticut?
You can easily obtain any type of CT recreational fishing license, saltwater or freshwater, online through the DEEP Sportsmen’s Licensing System mobile-friendly application. You may also obtain commercial fishing permits, as well as inland and marine fishing licenses, at your nearest DEEP office location. Other recreational fishing license vendors include certain town halls, most bait and tackle shops and other retailers.
How can I replace my Connecticut fishing license?
If your inland or marine Connecticut recreational fishing license is ever lost or destroyed, it is easy to replace it with a new document. If you purchased your saltwater or freshwater fishing permit online, simply log in and print another copy. If you bought your sport fishing license at a DEEP office or another license vendor, return to the locations and ask for a reprint.