Can You Be Arrested for Fishing Without a License? What to Know.

A fishing license or a permit is a legal and regulatory mechanism to control Fishing and protect marine life. So, what happens if you don’t have a fishing license? Can you be arrested for Fishing without a permit on hand? Here are the things that you should know about the fishing licenses.

Fishing license as a requirement in different angling activities depends on various states, countries, and regions. Generally, Fishing without a permit is illegal according to the “Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act 1997.” However, a license does not apply to people under the age of 18 or above the age of 65. This rule is mostly applicable in many areas in the U.S. The process of acquiring it depends on your location, and the penalties that tie into breaking this act are costly.

Whether it’s for sports or recreational purposes, Fishing without a license can be illegal in and may put you at risk of putting to jail. Fortunately, there are some ways to avoid such penalties and breaking the Conservation act. A fishing license will protect you, and following the rules related to your type of fishing license will safeguard the fish underwater.

A Brief History of How Fishing License Started

Back in the 19th century, most anglers didn’t need a fishing license. It was easy to take out their rods, their bait, and start coasting to the nearest body of water. Back then, there was no significant government existed that required them to have a fishing license. It is because the population was small. Until some continents started getting populated, which resulted in slacking in the wildlife and other natural resources.

With people moving in from one country to another, and as the Fishing rivaling commercial began increasing, the situation needed some precautions to seize the moment. To control this problem, local governments launched several laws for environmental protection led by President Theodore Roosevelt and other conservationists.

What Happens Once You Get Caught Without A Fishing License?

Fishing without a license is a violation of most government rules and wildlife conservation. Getting caught without a fishing license may put you at the jail, or will make you pay for violating the rules. The degree of consequences differs, depending on the country, state, or region. However, the overall policies, regulations, and the range of fine are almost the same. 

These laws implemented since 2006 in most states of the United States. The goal is to govern and control all fishing activities, and to protect the water reservoir. Just as an example, in Florida, Fishing without a license is a level one violation. It is a noncriminal offense that covers 379.354, wherein the culprit has a penal fine for a minimum of $50. Then, the penalty fine would increase to $100 if you do break the same rule more than once within 36 months.

What Will the authorized Person Do Once He Caught You Fishing Without a Fishing Licence?

Just like in driving, generally, you will receive a ticket if an authority caught you fishing without a license as your first offense. You have to accept this ticket and append your signature on it. Then, you need to pay the fine in less than 30 days from the date of the ticket issuance. Doing it means that you accept your mistake and your right to have a hearing whenever required.

However, the acceptance of the ticket doesn’t mean that you are liable for other proceedings. It will only serve as a reminder for you and the authority for the appropriate fine, and record for your further violations. If you do such violence for several times, the final verdict still depends on the hands of the country court. It will determine your guild and the applicable penalty fine for you.

How Much is the Fine When Caught Fishing Without License?

The penalty fine still depends on the country, region, or state. More often, penalty fines are no more than $50 for your first offense or violation. It gets greater in amount for second, third, and further violations. If there’s a constant violation fishing without a license, conservation officers can seize any property they find reasonable. 

What if You Have a License, but Forgot to Bring it While Fishing?

It is still a violation. Always remember that you need to have your fishing license with you at all times when doing such an activity. If you can provide that you have permission and just forgot it at home when you were fishing, the penalty fine maybe a little bit lower. However, the authorized officer may still give you a violating ticket. In this case, generally, your offense will go higher to a second-degree misdemeanor only if you fail to attend the hearing. Also, not paying the penalty fine nor accepting the ticket will add to the degree of your violation. 

What are the Exemptions to Having a Fishing License?

Those that are within the age range of below 18 years to 65 years of age and higher are the exemptions to having a fishing license. It only means that ages that are not within that range don’t need to have a fishing license. So, those people with ages 18 and below, and 65 and above are the only exemptions of a fishing license. Another exclusion is if you are fishing in a farmhouse that you own, or if it’s a family-owned. Finally, military personnel doesn’t need to have a license if he or she is fishing in his or her home country. 

What are the Types of Fishing License?

Fishing licenses come in different types, depending on your fishing location. Each kind of fishing license has different rules, regulations, and penalties. Therefore, it is essential to follow all the rules that abide by your fishing license. Again, the kind of fishing license may differ from one country to another. So, to give you an idea, here are some common types of fishing licenses.

  1. Sports Fishing License. It is a permit that will only limit you to several fish species that you can catch. The best thing about having a sports fishing license is that you have a majority of the fish caught by yourselves.
  2. Conservation License. This kind of fishing license is only suitable for those anglers who are only into catch-and-release. It means that they are only for Fishing or as a hobby, and those fishers are most likely to release their caught fish. Regardless, the Conservation License also has specific rules that you need to follow.
  3. Combination License. This kind of fishing license will allow you to catch fish in both freshwater and saltwater. You can also find shellfish, razor clams, and seaweed if you have this license.
  4. Freshwater License. It will only allow you to fish on freshwater sites. Also, it may have other restrictions and more specific rules when having a Freshwater License.
  5. Saltwater License. It will only allow you to fish in Saltwater locations. Also, it may have other restrictions and more specific rules when having a Saltwater License.
  6. Shellfish/Seaweed License. It is a more specific type of license in catching shellfish and seaweed. It will also allow you to harvest razor clams, red rock crab, coastal Dungeness crab, and goose barnacles. You can also catch mussels, octopus, oysters, scallops, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, shrimp, softshell and hardshell clams, squid, and seaweed – these are the species that you want to catch if you’re going to eat them after finding them.
  7. 1 to 3 Day Combination Licenses. These are short-term licenses that will only last for a maximum of three days. It almost works like a combination license, which may require the purchase of other endorsements where applicable. However, take note that they are not suitable for game fish unless you belong to the exceptions mentioned earlier.
  8. Razor Clam License. It is a more specific type of license for catching razor clams. It is only available as an annual or three-day temporary license. 
  9. Other Special Privilege Licenses. These are individual licenses given to an angler who belongs to a specific group. Therefore, only classified people may obtain these different privilege licenses. The terms, rules, and conditions vary depending on the location.
    1. Military Licenses. You can acquire this exclusive license when you belong to the military. Anyone serving a country that guards a local or an international military base can get this license. 
    2. Exchange Students. Even those exchange students who are into angling can also get an exclusive license. The student can get it for as long as the citizen of a foreign nation under age 21. He or she must be living with a family in the local country for a cultural or educational exchange program. He or she may purchase a resident license to hunt or fish.
    3. Disabled Veterans. These are both residents and non-residents of veterans who got discharged from the Armed Forces or the National Guard. However, some veterans may still have not to apply for a fishing license and pay the fees.

Why Do You Need to Acquire a License for Fishing?

A fishing license is a requirement to control and protect depleting natural resources and wildlife. The goal was to prevent illegal Fishing and killing of fish species and harvesting of other clams and seaweed. Think, why do you need to have a driver’s license in the first place? The reasons are almost the same. Primarily, it is to make a guarantee that a fisher will not destroy any bodies of water, and must comply with the local rules and regulations in Fishing.

How Does Issuing Licenses That Allow Fishing Protect Fish? 

Issuing a license will indeed allow for the protection of fish species and marine life. At first, having a fishing license as a prerequisite in Fishing may sound counter-intuitive. However, issuing a permit to anglers is the best way to protect fish populations. If you’re still not yet convinced, here are some reasons why fishing licenses are beneficial to both fishers and fish species.

  1. Protection for Marine Life. It is a protection that involves an angler who pays a licensing fee. It will ultimately benefit him or her in the form of plentiful Fishing. Generally, the local institute of fishing regulations apply limits to species. Also, the amount that any given fisherman can catch and keep in a day. There’s a record book or paper that you will receive to put all your catches on that day. These limitations are beneficial in making most fishers become more educated in understanding the local’s restrictions.
  2. Fishing Licensees Help Federal Wildlife Officials Identify Poachers. Poachers are those fishermen who are over-fishing, or those who are taking advantage of wildlife. Fishing licenses will allow the officials to spot-check anglers. It may cost you less, but the penalty fines can be expensive. It may be easy to get a fishing license, but you have to make sure to follow each rule.
    1. Where Do the Penalty Fees Go? Fishing licenses go to support the maintenance, cleaning, and launch of other environmental projects of the state wildlife departments. The penalties fees also go to fund wildlife research. 
  3. Fishing Licenses are Also for Conserving Water Wildlife. Illegal Fishing and other extra fishing activities may inflict stress on wildlife. So, understanding how fish mating patterns, migration, and other behaviors helps biologists know how to protect those species. Therefore, it will result in excellent Fishing for a better present and future generations of anglers.

How to Obtain a Fishing License?

The process of obtaining a fishing license may differ depending on the country. The requires and fees also vary, but you will indeed need to have at least two valid government IDs and other supporting documents to prove your identity. Both residents and non-residents may obtain fishing licenses for as long as they qualify all prerequisites for all legal game and fish species.

Once you have your license with you, make sure to bring it when you go Fishing. You need to keep an electronic or paper copy of your fishing license with you whenever possible. When transporting fish, you may have to present it for inspection to any warden, law enforcement officer, MDIFW employee, guide, or landowner upon whose land you are fishing.

Fishing With a License

Fishing is an outdoor sport enjoyed by many people around the globe. It involves wildlife and marine fishing activities. If you enjoy Fishing, one way to be insured is to purchase a fishing license or a permit. It will help you understand various rules and regulations that you should know before embarking upon these activities. Fishing without knowledge about the event may put you in trouble. 

Otherwise, if you are uninformed ahead of time of these restrictions, you may find yourself behind bars or paying for an expensive penalty fee. If you are unsure about the fishing license, you can always ask your local authorities. Know all the rules in Fishing, and other restrictions. Always remember that every place has slightly different rules when it comes to how to get a fishing license. 

The type of fishing license also varies, depending on what you need. For example, a saltwater license will not give you permission to fish in freshwater – and vice Versa. If you want to fish offshore, then you have to add a saltwater permit to your pocket. So, make sure that you are getting the right kind of fishing license. Remember, a lifetime fishing license is cheaper than paying penalty fees and getting in jail.



Do You Need a Fishing License for Catch and Release?

Generally, most local governments will require you to have a fishing license even for catch-and-release type of Fishing. The rules, regulations, and penalties differ for each state in the U.S. Each place is responsible for issuing fishing licenses, so the requirements and regulations. Therefore, it’s always wise to ask your local authorities or government regarding the possession of catch and release license.

Do You Need a Fishing License for Your Son?

A child or young adult that has an age of 18 years and below doesn’t need to have a fishing license to catch their fish. However, you may have to purchase one if you and your child have plans of Fishing for sturgeon, abalone, lobster, or steelhead.

What Is a Good Age to Take a Child Fishing?

It depends on the knowledge, skills, and understanding of the child. Generally, kids of all ages can go Fishing for as long as they are under your supervision and guidance. Kids six and above can have full experience in Fishing, wherein they can start casting and taking fish off the hook. 

Final Words

Fishing without a license will indeed get you arrested. It is a requirement in different angling activities depends on various states, countries, and regions. Fishing without a permit is a violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act 1997. Getting caught without a fishing license may put you at the jail, or will make you pay for violating the rules. 

It is a noncriminal offense, wherein the culprit has a penal fine of the license cost plus an additional $50. Then, the penalty fine would increase to $100 if you do break the same rule more than once within 36 months. Therefore, you have to know all the rules and requirements when fishing to be more secure.

Recent Content