Boating Laws in Florida: Fishing

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission proceeds from permits and licenses are used to help improve Florida’s fisheries and your overall fishing experience. 

Both saltwater and freshwater fishing licenses are required, and can be obtained online at, at county tax collectors’ offices, through licensed agents or by calling 888-FISH FLORIDA. 

Florida residents who are exempt include:

  • Those under 16 and over 65 with proof of residency and age
  • Recreational pier fishermen in possession of a pier fishing license
  • Fishermen on a for-hire vessel
  • Military members who are on leave for 30 days or less
  • Fishermen in their own county who are fishing with live or natural bait on poles without a fish retrieval mechanism
  • Those with proof of eligibility for food stamps, temporary cash assistance or Medicaid
  • Those with proof that they are clients of developmental disabilities services.

Florida fishing licenses are typically issued for the period of one year from a designated start date.  Non-residents can purchase temporary licenses. Florida residents can also purchase a sportsman license, which covers both saltwater and freshwater fishing, certain shellfish harvesting, as well as hunting.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission publishes documents (which are also placed online) indicating size and limits for each species that is legal to fish, as well as the seasons for each area. 

So go ahead and get the license you need, and have a “reel” good time out there!

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