Pennsylvania Fishing License: The Complete Guide (2022)

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With 85,000 miles of rivers, thousands of lakes, and over 100 state parks, the “Keystone State” is home to some of the nation’s most diverse freshwater fishing. To enjoy any of it, you need a Pennsylvania fishing license.

Pennsylvania Fishing License: The Complete Guide (1)

The problem is that the rules can get very confusing sometimes. Today, we’re breaking down all you need to know about PA licenses so you can spend less time reading and more time reeling!

Looking for info on neighboring states, or around the US in general? Check out our full list of licensing guides here.

Who needs a Pennsylvania fishing license?

Every angler over the age of 16 needs a license to fish in the state. This applies to residents and non-residents alike, even when fishing with a guide or charter. On top of a regular license, you’ll need an additional permit to fish on Lake Erie, or to take home Salmon or Trout.

This doesn’t apply to PA Residents on leave from active military duty outside the state. Instead, they should carry proof of residency and status in the armed forces (PA driver’s license, military ID, and valid military orders showing the place of assignment and leave status).

(Video) Pennsylvania Fishing License Guide 2021

“Fish For Free Days” are the only other exception. On the final Sunday in May and on July 4 every year, anglers from all over can fish without any license or permit.

PA Fishing License Cost

There are a variety of licenses available, ranging from a day to a decade and even your entire life. They’re not all available to everybody, though. Here’s a breakdown of the many license types, how much they cost, and who can get them.

License TypeResidentSenior ResidentNon-Resident
1-Day$11.97N/A$26.97
3-DayN/AN/A$26.97
7-DayN/AN/A$34.97
Annual$22.97$11.97$52.97
3-Year$64.97$31.97$154.97
5-Year$106.97$51.97$256.97
10-Year$211.97N/A$511.97
LifetimeN/A$51.97N/A

Out-of-staters have access to several short-term licenses perfect for vacations or business trips. Residents don’t get all of these, but they do have the option of a 10-year license. Senior residents (aged 65 and older) can also buy a lifetime permit.

One important thing to note is that 1-Day Licenses aren’t valid between March 15 and April 30. They do, however, cover you to fish on Lake Erie, and to keep Salmon and Trout.

Lake Erie and Trout/Salmon Permits

Pennsylvania Fishing License: The Complete Guide (2)

Unless you have a 1-Day License, you’ll need an extra permit to fish in Lake Erie or to keep Salmon and Trout. You can get these individually for $9.90, or as a combo package covering both Lake Erie and Trout/Salmon for $15.90.

Resident seniors with a Lifetime License get a few more options for these Permits. They last anywhere from 1–10 years and cost as follows:

(Video) How to Buy a Pennsylvania Fishing License and Renew a Boat Registration Online

Permit DurationIndividual CostCombo Cost
Annual$9.97$15.97
3-Year$25.97$43.97
5-Year$41.97$71.97
10-Year$81.97$141.97

Free and Reduced-Fee Licenses

As well as the regular list, some people can get discounted or even cost-free fishing licenses. The following people are entitled to discounted licenses at a cost of $2.90:

  • Resident Reservists and National Guards who were deployed overseas for 60 days or more or released early due to injury within the last 24 months.
  • Resident veterans who have lost a limb, lost the use of a limb, or are over 60% disabled.
  • PA residents who are former prisoners of war (POWs).

As well as this, resident veterans who are blind or certified as 100% disabled are eligible for free a Disabled Veterans License.

You can get these at the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission or county treasurer office. Make sure to bring proof of your status along with a valid ID confirming your residence.

Where can I buy a Pennsylvania fishing license?

Pennsylvania Fishing License: The Complete Guide (3)

You know you need a license, but where should you get it? Simple – just pick up your license in any of the following ways and you’re set:

  • In person. Head to any of over 1,300 vendors across the state. Hardware stores, tackle stores, and chains like Walmart usually sell them.
  • Online. This is the simplest way to buy a license. It’s valid as soon as you pay, so just print it out and you’re good to go.
  • By Phone.You can also buy a license over the phone at 877-707-4085.

When applying for a Pennsylvania fishing license or permit, you must give your social security number. Be sure to have it on hand so that everything runs smoothly.

When do PA fishing licenses expire?

All short-term fishing licenses for tourists end exactly the amount of days after you purchased them. For example, a 3-Day Fishing License bought on a Monday will expire at midnight on the Wednesday into Thursday.

(Video) How To Get Your 2021 Pennsylvania Fishing License - Places To Get It, Prices, & More!

Similarly, the same logic follows with yearly and multi-year licenses. You’ll have up until the end of the final year of validity to fish using that license. So, a 10-Year License bought in 2017 will carry you through until the very last second of December 31, 2026.

Reciprocal Agreements with Other States

Fishing in waters that border other states can be confusing at times. Luckily, Pennsylvania has reached an agreement with many of its neighbors, allowing you to fish in these waters with your PA license:

  • Maryland: Along the Conowingo and Youghiogheny Rivers, if fishing from a boat.
  • New Jersey: On the Delaware River, from New Jersey’s shores or in its waters on a boat.
  • New York: On the Delaware River, from New Jersey’s shores or in its waters on a boat (same as New Jersey).
  • Ohio: Along the Pymatuning River, when fishing from a boat.

Pennsylvania currently has no other agreements concerning fishing licenses with other states. If you are fishing some of the other border areas, make sure to have a valid fishing license for both states, or make sure you don’t stray into out-of-state waters.

Common Questions about PA Fishing Licenses

Pennsylvania Fishing License: The Complete Guide (4)
  1. At what age is a person considered a senior?

    In order to qualify for a senior fishing license in Pennsylvania, a person must be 65 or older.

  2. Do I need to buy a Trout stamp each year for my Senior Resident Lifetime License?

    Until 2015, senior lifetime license holders could buy just one Trout Stamp for the rest of their life. However, if you purchased your Senior Resident Lifetime License after January 1, 2015, you’ll need to get a new stamp whenever it runs out.

    (Video) Pennsylvania may increase fee for fishing license

  3. Does my license need to be visible while fishing?

    Yes. All licenses must be visible on your outside garment and you must carry a state-recognized ID at all times. If you want to keep your fishing license safe, you can apply for a $10 fishing badge, which acts as a license, but without the worry of carrying it with you. Just pin it to your jacket and make sure to bring your license certificate with you, too.

  4. Is there a disabled veteran discount for out-of-state anglers?

    No. To qualify for a discounted veteran or senior license in PA, one must be a resident in the state.

  5. Do I need both a regular fishing license AND a Trout/Salmon license if I am fishing for Trout/Salmon?

    Yes. In order to fish for Trout/Salmon, you’ll need a regular fishing license and the additional Trout/Salmon permit.

  6. I lost my fishing license/stamp. What do I do?

    Can't find your license? No worries! You can get another one for just $6.90. Do this online or in person at any fishing license vendor state-wide.

  7. Can I fish in Trout stocked waters or wilderness Trout streams without a permit if I'm catching and releasing?

    No. In order to fish Trout-stocked waters or any designated Trout stream in PA, you will need a Trout stamp, regardless of whether you’re harvesting or releasing the fish.

We tried to cover everything you need to know. If you still have questions, we recommend getting in touch with your local PFCB office. Otherwise, you’re all set to find a guide near you and start fishing Pennsylvania’s exciting waters!

(Video) Fishing Licenses and Regulations - How to Fish - Part 1

FAQs

Can you reprint a PA fishing license? ›

I lost my license, now what? A lost fishing license can be replaced at any issuing agent at cost or reprinted online at huntfish.pa.gov for free.

What is needed for fishing license in PA? ›

When purchasing a resident fishing license, you must show proof of permanent residency by presenting one of the following documents: valid PA driver's license. a valid non-driver photo identification card. a previous year's PA state income tax return showing proof of payment of personal income tax as a resident of PA.

Do senior citizens need a fishing license in Pennsylvania? ›

NOTE: You qualify for a resident fishing license if you are a bona fide resident of Pennsylvania. You must show positive proof of permanent residency. Senior Resident and Lifetime licenses are available to those persons at any time during the year in which they will become age 65.

What is the fine for fishing without a license in Pennsylvania? ›

(1) For a summary offense of the first degree, a fine of $250 or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days. (2) For a summary offense of the second degree, a fine of $150 or imprisonment not exceeding 20 days. (3) For a summary offense of the third degree, a fine of $75.

Can I show my fishing license on my phone in PA? ›

Pennsylvania anglers will be able to buy their fishing licenses on their smartphones through a new vendor contract signed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. They'll be able to retain the license images on their devices as proof of purchase.

Can you fish on Sundays in PA? ›

Sunday is one of Pennsylvania's designated fish-for-free days. Anyone can legally fish a stream, river or lake with no license required. Trout and salmon permits and Lake Erie Permits also are not required.

How much is a PA fishing license 2022? ›

A valid Pennsylvania fishing license is required of persons age 16 and over to fish for any species of fish. For state residents, the cost is $22.97 and nonresidents pay $52.97 for an annual license.

How much is a PA fishing license at Walmart? ›

Regular license cost at Walmart for residents of age between 16 and 65 – $19. A flat license cost for single-day fishing irrespective of the resident or non-resident status of the applicant – $11. Discounted license cost for senior citizens above 66 years of age – $10. Walmart annual fishing license fee – $40.

What is the cost of a Pennsylvania fishing license? ›

If approved, fishing licenses for Pennsylvania residents would increase by $2.50, going from $21 to $23.50. The cost for a three-day tourist license and a non-resident license would also increase.

Is it legal to fish at night in PA? ›

Pennsylvania State Parks provides great opportunities for this recreational activity. Night fishing is generally permitted in areas designated for fishing and non-whitewater boating.

What are the free fishing days in Pennsylvania? ›

Free Fishing Days 2022
AlabamaSecond Saturday in June. June 11, 2022 More info about Free Fishing Days AL
PennsylvaniaMay 29, July 4, 2022 Independence Day More info about Free Fishing Days PA
Rhode IslandFirst Weekend in May (Freshwater Fishing only) May 7-8th, 2022 More info about Free Fishing Days RI
53 more rows

Do you need a trout stamp in PA If you catch and release? ›

Can I fish in Trout stocked waters or wilderness Trout streams without a permit if I'm catching and releasing? No. In order to fish Trout-stocked waters or any designated Trout stream in PA, you will need a Trout stamp, regardless of whether you're harvesting or releasing the fish.

How many rods can you fish with in PA? ›

Code § 63.6 - Authorized devices for game fish, baitfish and fishbait. (a) It is unlawful to fish for game fish with more than three lines of any description, whether fished by rod or by hand, at one time except while ice fishing in accordance with § 63.10 (relating to ice fishing).

Can you fish year-round in PA? ›

Fortunately, there are still plenty of trout fishing opportunities to be had even during the closed period. You can fish year-round for trout in Pennsylvania. There are over 50 waters within the Commonwealth that are classified as stocked trout waters open to year-round fishing.

Do I need a bass permit in PA? ›

The new, voluntary permits are for bass, muskellunge and habitat/waterways conservation, each at $11.90, and wild trout/enhanced waters at $26.90. Unlike the trout-salmon stamp, which sells for $9.90 and is required to fish for trout and salmon, the new permits do not carry any additional privileges.

Can you laminate A PA fishing license? ›

Is it ok to laminate my paper hunting and fishing license to make it more durable? Answer: It is perfectly legal and proper to do just that, so laminate to your heart's content as long as the license is legible when you are finished.

How much is a PA fishing license at Walmart? ›

Regular license cost at Walmart for residents of age between 16 and 65 – $19. A flat license cost for single-day fishing irrespective of the resident or non-resident status of the applicant – $11. Discounted license cost for senior citizens above 66 years of age – $10. Walmart annual fishing license fee – $40.

How much is a 2022 PA fishing license? ›

A valid Pennsylvania fishing license is required of persons age 16 and over to fish for any species of fish. For state residents, the cost is $22.97 and nonresidents pay $52.97 for an annual license.

Does a 12 year old need a fishing license in PA? ›

While youth anglers under age 16 do not require a fishing license, they must have either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.90) or a free Mentored Youth Fishing Permit to participate in various youth opportunities throughout the 2020 season.

Videos

1. Fishing Laws in Pennsylvania
(The McShane Firm)
2. Winner Announced for the 2021 Pennsylvania Fishing License Button
(Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission)
3. Pennsylvania's 2019 General Fishing Regulations and Laws Review
(Fishing PA with Ryan Read)
4. PA FISHING LICENSE TEST
(LEN F FISHING)
5. Best way to buy a Trout Stamp& Fishing License 2018 in PA.
(Spark Fishing)
6. "Catch the Value!" with Reduced-Fee PA Fishing Licenses!
(Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission)

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