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Fishing License information

Fishing Regulations Icon New York Fishing

License Requirements

Everyone must have a valid fishing license in their possession while fishing or helping someone to fish except:

  • Persons under 16 years of age.
  • NYS-resident owners, lessees and members of their immediate families occupying and cultivating farm lands, when fishing on their own lands.
  • Persons holding farm fish pond licenses and members of their immediate families, when fishing on waters covered by their licenses.
  • Resident patients at Dept. of Mental Health institutions and Dept. of Health rehabilitation hospitals, and inmates at Division of Youth rehabilitation centers. License exemptions must be requested for such persons through the hospital/institution by writing NYSDEC License Sales Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4790, or by e-mailing
  • When fishing on licensed fishing preserves.

Free Licenses

The following individuals are eligible for a free fishing license and may obtain a license at any license issuing outlet:

  • New York State residents who are legally blind and provide a doctor’s note to the License Issuing Agent.
  • New York State residents who are active service members of the NYS Organized Militia (i.e., National Guard), or U.S. Reserve Forces.
  • New York State residents stationed outside of New York who are on full time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and are on leave in NY for no longer than 30 days.
  • Resident patients at U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs hospitals or state funded facilities can obtain a free fishing license through their hospital or facility.
  • Native Americans who are members of the Shinnecock and Poospatuck tribes or the Six Nations residing on reservations in New York State may obtain a free fishing license by contacting their reservation or DEC’s License Sales Office at (518) 402-8843.

Lost Annual License Replacement

A lost license may be replaced for $5.00 at any license issuing outlet.

Recreational Marine Fishing Registry

Anglers 16 years of age and older who fish in the marine and coastal district of New York (page 54) or for migratory marine species; such as striped bass, hickory shad, and river herring from all waters of the state including the Hudson River and Delaware River; must enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry wherever licenses are sold (page 7).

For additional information concerning the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry, contact the DEC Division of Marine Resources at (631) 444-0430 or visit the DEC website at

License Privileges

Persons holding a freshwater fishing license may take freshwater fish by angling, spearing, hooking, longbow, nets, traps and tip-ups; take frogs by spearing, catching with the hands or by use of a club or hook; and take baitfish for personal use, all as permitted by law or DEC.

  • The holder of a license, tag or stamp shall have such license, tag, stamp or other valid proof (see below) on his/her person while exercising any privilege of that license.
  • The holder of a license, tag or stamp shall exhibit it on demand to any police officer, peace officer, or the owner, lessee or other person in control of the lands or waters on which the license holder is present.
  • No license or stamp authorizes the holder to trespass upon private lands or waters or interfere with property belonging to another person.
  • A freshwater fishing license does not allow for the taking of migratory marine fish. See Recreational Marine Fishing Registry above.

Resident Licenses

To qualify for a resident license, one must reside in New York State for more than 30 days immediately preceding the date of application for a license. Property ownership in New York State does not necessarily constitute residency.

Residency is a fixed, permanent and principal home to which a person (regardless wherever temporarily located) always intends to return. Proof of residency is the address listed on a person’s registration to vote in elections for any public office other than school board. If the applicant is under 18, the residence of parents or legal guardian shall be deemed such person’s residence.

Active members of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in the state, and full-time college students in residence in the state during the school year (proof required) also qualify for resident licenses at regular prices.

Purchasing a License

Fishing licenses may be purchased at License Issuing Agents (town and county clerks, some major discount stores and many tackle shops and sporting goods stores) throughout New York State. Licenses may also be purchased online through DEC’s Automated Licensing System (DECALS), by calling 1-866-933-2257. VISA and MasterCard are accepted. For further information, go to Resident license buyers must have a NYS driver’s license, learners permit or non-driver’s ID for online purchases.

Lifetime Licenses

Buy a lifetime license and never worry about future fee increases. Lifetime licenses are available only to New York State residents, but remain valid even if you move out of state. Lifetime licenses can now be purchased at all license issuing outlets. For more information, visit DEC’s website or contact us at:

License Sales Unit, NYSDEC
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4790
(518) 402-8843

Lost lifetime license ID Cards can be replaced for a fee of $5 at any license issuing agent. The ID Card will be sent to you in the mail.

Do I Need a Fishing License?

With the exception of the circumstances noted under License Requirements, everyone 16 years or older must have a valid freshwater fishing license to fish in New York State.

This includes:

  • Anglers fishing on private waters not open to the general public
  • Anglers that do not keep the fish that they catch
  • Assisting an angler (including a child under the age of 16) in the act of fishing
  • Anglers that fish occasionally (shorter term licenses are available at a lower cost)

Valid Proof of Fishing License

Type of Fishing License

Valid Proof of Fishing License

“Freshwater” Fishing

License on official
license paper

Online printable license

DEC License
sales number

Plastic lifetime card

Adventure license

Recreational Marine
Fishing Registry




Resident Annual

Fishing (16–69) *

$ 25

Fishing (70+) *

$ 5

7-day (16+)

$ 12

1-day (16+)

$ 5

Fishing (military/disabled)**

$ 5

Marine Registry *

$ 0

Non-Resident Annual

Fishing (16+) *

$ 50

7-day (16+)

$ 28

1-day (16+)

$ 10

Marine Registry *

$ 0

Lifetime Fishing
(available to NYS residents only)

Lifetime Fishing (0–69)

$ 460

Lifetime Fishing (70+)

$ 65

Lifetime License
(available to NYS residents only) (includes Hunting, Fishing and Turkey Permits)

Lifetime License (0–4)

$ 380

Lifetime License (5–11)

$ 535

Lifetime License (12–69)

$ 765

Lifetime License (70+)

$ 65

License Requirements for Border Waters

Does a New York State fishing license entitle holder to fish the out-of-state portion of waters listed below?




Lake Ontario



Lake Erie

Ontario, Pennsylvania


St. Lawrence River

Ontario, Quebec


Niagara River



Lake Champlain





Delaware River & West Branch Delaware River (along boundary)



Greenwood Lake

New Jersey


Indian Lake



Please do not laminate your license. The heat from this process will cause it to become unreadable.

License or Registry Requirements for Fishing in the Tidal Hudson River or Marine and Coastal District


Species Fishing For

License or Registry

North of Tappan Zee Bridge

Freshwater Species

Fishing License

Migratory Marine Species

Recreational Marine
Fishing Registry

South of Tappan Zee Bridge
(marine and coastal district)

All Species

Note: Periodically, DEC or its designated agent(s) may use contact information from license holders to communicate with license holders and to conduct surveys and research involving New York State fish and wildlife. The information obtained will provide public input on fish and wildlife management actions and human interactions with New York’s fish and wildlife resources.