Fishing Licenses in Pennsylvania


A recreational fishing license allows you to fish for and take any species of fish, chum, baitfish, amphibians and reptiles from state waters or lands. While a sport fishing license is necessary for all anglers fishing for personal purposes, a commercial fishing license is required for anglers performing fishing activities for profit. Game fishing license requirements may differ depending on the body of water, so you must be familiar with state fishing laws.

The following sections can help you answer important fishing-related questions such as how much are sport fishing licenses to ensure that you purchase the perfect license for your fishing needs. Review the sections below to learn about game and fish fishing license deals and more.

Who needs a fishing license in Pennsylvania?

Every resident and nonresident angler 16 years old and older needs a recreational fishing license to fish in PA waters. However, a PA sport fishing license is not required during free fishing days.

Pennsylvania Fishing License Requirements

A recreational freshwater fishing license must be signed in ink, and you must be able to access your license when prompted. Every freshwater fishing license must be worn on your outer clothing and should be accompanied by proof of identification. Optional PA fishing license buttons are available for purchase to help you satisfy the fishing license display requirement.

If you are asking, “What is a commercial fishing license?” you may visit the PA Fish and Boat Commission’s website here to find pertinent license requirements and information.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Pennsylvania

A resident and non-resident freshwater fishing license is available in various forms. You may find a list of the different types of sport fishing licenses provided in PA below:

  • Annual licenses
  • Lifetime licenses (senior residents only)
  • Single licenses (not valid from March 15 to April 30)
  • Multi-day licenses (non-resident only)
  • Multi-year licenses

Commercial fishing permits offered in PA include charter boating licenses, fishing guide licenses, regulated fishing lake licenses and Lake Erie trap net or seine licenses.

What types of fish can I catch with fishing licenses in Pennsylvania?

Fishing with a game fishing license in the commonwealth inland waters, you can expect to find and harvest fish like largemouth and smallmouth bass, muskellunge, American shad, walleye, northern pike, river herring and striped and white bass. A commercial freshwater fishing license holder may catch similar fish species in PA’s waters.

What types of fish require special fishing permits or tags in Pennsylvania?

Trout and salmon permits must be purchased in addition to general PA fishing licenses to endorse the collection of the freshwater species. Additionally, you must have a Lake Erie permit rather than a basic recreational fishing license to harvest fish from the lake.

How long is a fishing license valid in Pennsylvania?

Annual game fishing licenses are valid from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 the following year, but lifetime licenses never expire. Other freshwater fishing permits are valid for the time specified on the license (e.g., one day).

How much does a Pennsylvania fishing license cost?

The freshwater fishing license cost depends on who is purchasing the licenses and for how long the licenses are valid. The following list features all available PA recreational fishing licenses and their costs:

  • Annual resident freshwater fishing license: $22.90
  • Annual non-resident freshwater fishing license: $52.90
  • Annual senior resident license: $11.90
  • Lifetime senior resident license: $51.90
  • One-day licenses: $11.90 (residents); $26.90 (non-residents)
  • Three-day license: $26.90
  • Seven-day license: $34.90
  • Three-year licenses: $64.90 (residents); $154.90 (non-residents)
  • Five-year licenses: $106.90 (residents); $256.90 (non-residents)
  • 10-year licenses: $211.90 (residents); $511.90 (non-residents)

The commercial fishing license price is printed on each commercial fishing application. Fees for non-residents are often higher than resident fees. While the prices for commercial fishing permits vary, you may find a list of all commercial licenses and their applications with pricing information online.

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Are Fishing License Discounts Available in Pennsylvania?

Discounts on recreational fishing licenses are available for youth (ages 15 and younger), senior citizens (ages 65 and older) and military service members. While children only have two options for PA sport fishing licenses (i.e.mentored youth permits and annual voluntary youth fishing licenses), seniors are offered reduced prices on annual and multi-year licenses and may choose to purchase specialty lifetime licenses. Members of the National Guard and the Armed Forces Reserve as well as prisoners of war and disabled veterans may also receive special freshwater fishing permits or discounts.

Where Can I Get a Fishing License in Pennsylvania?

For better efficiency, freshwater fishing licenses are sold online by license issuing agents or in person at license-issuing agents, county treasurers offices or PA Fish and Boat Commission offices.

How Can I Replace my Pennsylvania Fishing License?

You may replace a lost, stolen or damaged commercial or recreational fishing license and all associated permits or privileges that you previously purchased using any of the methods listed above for purchasing new fishing licenses in PA.


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