How Much Does A New York Fishing License Cost?

The great state of New York offers many opportunities to fish for the budding angler. From the Atlantic to the Great Lakes region, there is a variety of options. To fully enjoy the fishing experiences New York has to offer; a fishing license is a requirement. This guide will help you understand the process and cost, so you can go out and enjoy your time-out in the waters.

What Are the Requirements for Getting a Fishing License?

Anyone fishing or helping someone else to do so requires a fishing license in their possession while fishing. A license is a requirement for any angler over the age of 16, whether resident or not.

Exceptions to this are:

  • New York resident landowners, lessees, or immediate family members cultivate and occupy farmland and fish on their land.
  • Fishing in a licensed fishing preserve.
  • Holders of farm fishpond licenses and their immediate family members fishing on waters covered by their licenses.
  • Native Americans living and fishing on reservation land.
  • Residents of a Veteran’s Administration facility within the state.
  • 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).
  • Fishing in saltwater (see below).
  • Fishing during free fishing days.
  • Fishing at an approved free fishing clinic.

Types of Fishing Licenses

Different types of licenses can be applied that suit everyone’s needs for freshwater. These include:

DurationResident (16-69 years)Resident (70+ years)Non-Resident
1 Day $5$5$10
7 Day $12 $12$28
Annual $25 $5$50 
Lifetime $460$65N/A

These rates cover the majority of the cases for licensing. With your license, you’re able to fish in freshwater by angling, spearing, hooking, longbow, nets, traps, and tip-ups; take baitfish for personal use; and taking frogs by spearing, catching fish by hook, club, or hand. The license, however, doesn’t allow the hunting of migratory marine fish.

In addition to the rates listed above, there are a few exceptions that we have covered below.

Free Licenses

The following individuals are eligible for free licenses that somebody may obtain at a licensing issuing outlet:

  • New York residents that are legally blind with proof via doctor’s note.
  • New York residents that are part of the National Guard or U.S. Reserve forces.
  • Native Americans residing on reservations in New York State when fishing off-reservations.


A resident of the New York State is considered an individual that has lived in New York for more than 30 days before applying for residency. Land ownership doesn’t make you a resident. Having a fixed permanent principal home qualifies for occupancy, so does voter registration in New York and having parents that are New York State residents (for those under 18 years).

Active members of the U.S. Armed Forces in New York and full-time college students who reside in New York qualify for annual residency.

Lifetime Combo Licenses

If you enjoy the outdoors and your activities are not limited to fishing alone, you can apply for a lifetime license that includes hunting, fishing, and turkey permits. The license cost is dependent on your age and is only applicable to New York residents.

Age (years)Cost
0-4 $380

These licenses come in the form of a document that you may add to your DMV license for your convenience. You can either wait until your driving license has expired to add it for free or request a renewal for $12.50.

Getting a Fishing License

There are multiple ways to apply for your fishing license. You can do this online, which is an excellent option done from the comfort of your own home. You will need to print out your confirmation and mail it off. Another alternative from home is calling 1-866-933-2257 on weekdays from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. With this, you can use your confirmation code as your license until you get one in the mail. It should take up to 14 days to arrive.

If you do want it straight away, you can find a sporting license issuing location near you or visit your local tackle shop, Walmart, or registered vendor. You can do all these through the state website.

Fishing in Saltwater

The wonderful thing about going fishing in saltwater is that no license is required. The only thing needed is registration with the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry, a quick and easy process. However, a few exceptions require a permit from the federal government, for example, fishing for tuna and sharks on a private boat. These processes are cost-free.

If you want to bring in lobster, you will need $10 for your Recreational Lobster Permit available to New York residents. The good news is that as long as you’re fishing, clamming, or crabbing in saltwater charters, you don’t need a license, permit, or registration.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Fish With No License?

Yes, but only in saltwater, except for tuna, sharks, and lobster. The state also provides free fishing days on which you do not require a license.

2. Do I Need a License to Fish on Private Property?

Everyone must have a valid fishing license if they are fishing or assisting someone, even a minor. There are a few exceptions.

3. How Much Is the Fine for Not Having a License?

Most fishing violations have a fine ranging from $0-$250 and/or 15 days in jail. This case will be determined by a judge if found guilty. The wisest thing would be to remain on the right side of the law not to suffer the repercussions.

4. How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Lost License?

If your license gets misplaced, you can replace it at your local issuing station or any license issuing outlet for $5. If you ordered it online, it may be wise to keep a copy saved so that you can reprint it.

5. What Other Places Can I Go Fishing Outside New York?

With a New York issued fishing license, you can go fishing in lakes outside New York State, including:

  • Lake Champlain — Vermont
  • Delaware River and West Branch Delaware River — Pennsylvania
  • Greenwood Lake — New Jersey
  • Indian Lake — Connecticut.

6. When Do the Annual Fishing Licenses Expire?

Your annual license is valid for a full 365 days, so you can go fishing as often as you like within that period.

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