Alabama Fishing License 2023: Ultimate Guide [Fees, Seasons, Fishing Regulations & More]

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Alabama’s waterways provide a variety of fish to catch across the state’s vast freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, attracting anglers. Anglers must understand state fishing license laws to enjoy this activity. Understanding permits, exemptions, and laws for freshwater and saltwater fishing is crucial. This page covers Alabama fishing licenses, exemptions, temporary licenses, and crucial information for aquatic adventurers.

Understanding Alabama Fishing License

Most types of recreational fishing in Alabama need a fishing license for those who are 16 years of age or older. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) requires and controls fishing licenses.

Alabama Fishing License Requirements & Options

Here are the fishing license requirements and options in Alabama:

  • Age: In Alabama, you must be 16 years of age or older to get a fishing license.
  • Residency: Alabama residency is required in order to obtain an annual resident fishing license. A non-resident fishing license is available for purchase.
  • Fishing Type: Both freshwater and sea fishing need a separate license.
  • Endorsements: If you want to fish for certain fish species, such striped bass or red snapper, you may need to get an endorsement.

Alabama does not need a recreational fishing license for the following groups:

  • County banks in each county allow residents under the age of 16 to fish there for free using standard hook and line.
  • Fishing permits for both freshwater and saltwater, hunting licenses, WMA licenses, and state duck stamps are not required for residents 65 years of age and older. While fishing, you must have identification showing your address and age.
  • Alabama citizens who are handicapped and disabled veterans (with at least a 20% disability) are eligible to purchase specialized licenses at a reduced price.
  • Active duty military members who are home on leave are eligible to fish for free in both freshwater and saltwater with valid leave documentation.

Alabama Freshwater Fishing Licenses

Here are the freshwater fishing permits that Alabama citizens may purchase, along with their current prices:

Alabama Resident Freshwater Fishing Licenses

License TypeResident Fees
Freshwater Fishing$16.15
Optional 65+ Freshwater Fishing$16.15
Freshwater Public Fishing Lakes Daily License, **Applicable only to county public fishing lakes controlled by the state. (Not valid in major rivers and lakes.)$7.30
Wildlife Heritage License$13.30
WirebasketPrices Vary (Wire Baskets can only be used in approved counties)
Optional Senior Lifetime Freshwater Fishing$35.00

The benefits of the Wildlife Heritage License are included with the yearly resident freshwater fishing license. This gives license holders extra privileges including hunting small game (apart from ducks) and utilizing WMAs for outdoor enjoyment other than hunting.

Residents of Alabama may acquire lifetime freshwater fishing permits for prices ranging from $50 for those under the age of 1 to $135 for those 65 and over. For a one-time purchase of $35, Alabama also provides Senior Lifetime Licenses to persons 65 and older.

Alabama Nonresident Freshwater Fishing Licenses

License TypeNonresident Fees
All States, except LA & MS (Special fees apply for residents of FL, GA, LA, MS, TN)$62.20
7-Day Trip$35.00
Freshwater Fishing Family 3-day Trip$35.00
Non-Resident College Students$16.15
Freshwater Public Fishing Lakes License:
Annual License (Valid in State-owned county Public Fishing Lakes)$15.00
Daily License (Not valid in major rivers and lakes)$8.55
Spearfishing Licenses:
7-Day Trip$3.50

Alabama Disabled Fishing Licenses

Disabled Licenese TypeResidentNonresident Fees
100% Physically Disabled Resident Freshwater Fishing$3.40 N/A
Disabled Freshwater Fishing Military Veteran's Appr.$3.50 N/A
Disabled Freshwater Fishing 3-Day Event License$100.00 $100.00

Alabama Commercial Freshwater Fishing Licenses

Commercial Freshwater Fishing License:
Non-Resident (The same as Alabama residents, plus issuance fee. (but not less than $119.00)
Mississippi$205.29 + 32.29 per slat box
Nongame Freshwater Fish Dealer License:
Minnow and/or Live Fish Dealer License (Non-Resident only):
Retail (Probate Offices issue licenses too)$241.00

Alabama Saltwater Fishing Licenses

To fish for fun in Alabama’s marine waters from land or a boat, you need a saltwater fishing license. The possibilities and fees for a saltwater license are as follows:

Alabama Resident Saltwater Fishing Licenses

License TypeDetailsCost
Annual Saltwater FishingFor residents 16 years and older$28.50
Saltwater 7-Day TripValid for 168 consecutive hours$11.80
Gulf Reef Fish EndorsementRequired to fish reef fish species$10.00
Disabled Saltwater FishingFor totally disabled residents with permanent disability benefits$3.40
Disabled Veterans Saltwater FishingFor resident veterans with 20% or more disability$3.50

Annual and seven-day saltwater fishing permits for non-residents vary in price from $33.75 to $61.35. All fishermen 16 years of age and older who want to pursue controlled reef fish species must purchase a $10 Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement.

Where to Buy an Alabama Fishing License?

Where to buy Alabama Fishing License
Where to buy Alabama Fishing License

Visit website for Alabama hunting and fishing licenses. Logging in lets you buy licenses, reprint them, increase rights during the season, change your information, and set up autorenewal for the next year.

All recreational permits expire on August 31 each year. Visit a License Agent with your driver’s license (if you’re 16 or older) to get hunting and fishing permits in person. Residency Information is for non-drivers.

In-person purchases of licenses are also possible at several licensing sellers around the state, including:

  • Some Walmart locations;
  • Some bait and tackle stores;
  • Local Probate Office / License Commissioner;
  • WFF District Offices

To locate a license provider close to you, go to the License Agent.

Seasons and Limits

Black Bass10
White Bass15
Yellow Bass15
Saltwater Striped Bass15
Yellow PerchNo Limit
Catfish (under 34 inches)No Limit
Catfish (over 34 inches)1
Rainbow Trout5
Alligator Gar1
SturgeonClosed Season
Paddlefish or SpoonbillClosed Season
Skipjack Herring100

Size Limits for Fishing

LocationSpeciesSize LimitAdditional Notes
Chattahoochee River TributariesShoal BassNot allowed to possess in specified creeks
Chattahoochee River & ImpoundmentsSaltwater Striped BassSpecial creel limits applyRefer to regulation 220-2-.122 for details.
Guntersville ReservoirLargemouth & Smallmouth BassMinimum 15 inches
Harris ReservoirLargemouth Bass13 to 16 inches
Lake Jackson at FloralaBlack BassCreel limit: 5 > 12 inches, 1 > 22 inches
Inland ReservoirSaltwater Striped BassMax. 2 > 22 inches, 1 > 30 inches
Lewis Smith ReservoirBlack Bass13 to 15 inches
Lewis Smith ReservoirSaltwater Striped BassMax. 2 > 22 inchesIntentional culling not allowed from June 15th to October 15th.
Little Bear Creek ReservoirLargemouth Bass13 to 16 inches
Lake MartinSaltwater Striped BassMax. 2 > 22 inchesIntentional culling not allowed from June 15th to October 15th.
Pickwick ReservoirSmallmouth & Largemouth BassMinimum 15 inches
Thurlow ReservoirSaltwater Striped BassMax. 2 > 22 inches, 1 > 30 inches
Walter F. George ReservoirLargemouth BassMinimum 14 inches
Weiss ReservoirCrappieMinimum 10 inches
West Point ReservoirLargemouth BassMinimum 14 inches
Wheeler ReservoirSmallmouth BassMinimum 15 inches
Wilson ReservoirSmallmouth BassMinimum 15 inches
Yates ReservoirSaltwater Striped BassMax. 2 > 22 inches, 1 > 30 inches
Alabama Fishing Regulations
Alabama Fishing Regulations

Alabama Fishing Regulations

  • Fishing Seasons: You may go fishing all year long in public lakes, ponds, and streams. Specific limitations could apply to some Public Fishing Lakes (PFLs) controlled by the state.
  • Daily Limits: It is prohibited to possess more than the stated daily limit of any fish species. Fish retained alive for release after a fishing competition are an exception.
  • Size limitations: Fish must adhere to the rules’ size limitations. The entire length from mouth to tail, both closed, is used to calculate size.
  • Transport Restrictions: No species of fish may be transported over state lines in excess of the permitted daily creel limit.
  • Permission from Private Land: It is against the law to fish from Private Land in Public Waters. Private waterways must also get owner authorization before fishing there.
  • Fish Preparation: It’s often against the law to fillet or de-head fish while you’re fishing. Fish can be gutted while still having their heads on, barring imminent eating.
  • Live Bait: It’s against the law to import or transport live baitfish from Alabama’s waterways.
  • Game fish are defined as species such as rainbow trout, several varieties of bass, sunfish, crappie, striped bass, perch, and more.
  • Sale of Game Fish: With some restrictions, it is prohibited to sell or transport game fish obtained in state waters for commercial purposes.
  • Approved methods for catching game fish include standard hook and line, lures, live bait, trolling, and spinners. Explosives and other techniques are forbidden.
  • Rod Restrictions: With a few exceptions, most waterways permit numerous rods. For instance, there are rod restrictions at Weiss or Neely Henry Reservoir.
  • Bream as Bait: Bream species may be used as bait provided they are lawfully captured by hook and line and do not exceed daily creel limitations.
  • Spearfishing is permitted for non-game or commercial fish as long as the user is completely submerged and has a current license for both sport fishing and spearfishing.
  • Fish snatching: The Chattahoochee and Tennessee Rivers, among other rivers and impoundments, prohibit fish snatching.
  • Boating and Access Areas: Restrictions on activities like camping and littering as well as wearing life jackets close to dams are also part of this regulation.


Alabama provides excellent fishing options because to its vast river systems, reservoirs, Mobile Delta area, and Gulf of Mexico coastline. Visitors and locals may both take advantage of the wonderful fishing Alabama has to offer by getting the right permits, following the rules, and fishing responsibly.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a fishing license in Alabama?

With a few exceptions, all anglers in Alabama who are 16 years of age or older must have a fishing license in order to fish in public waterways. These exclusions include of fishing from a neighborhood bank in your own county and being an Alabama citizen on leave. The price of the fishing license varies depending on the license’s category and your age. For instance, a resident’s yearly freshwater fishing permit costs $16.15, whereas a non-resident’s seven-day saltwater fishing permit costs $33.75.

What types of fishing licenses are available in Alabama?

Alabama offers many fishing permits for different requirements. The Annual Freshwater Fishing License gives residents and non-residents access to all public freshwaters. The 7-Day Freshwater Fishing License allows access for a week. Annual and 7-Day Saltwater Fishing Licenses cover public saltwaters. Gulf reef fishing requires an endorsement. The Wildlife Heritage License lets residents fish and hunt small game, while the handicapped Fishing License gives handicapped fishermen free access to public waterways. Fishing-specific permits are also available. Outdoor Alabama has further info.

Are there exemptions from needing a fishing license?

Alabama has fishing license exemptions. Under-16s and over-65s are excluded. Resident landowners and their close families fishing on their property are excluded. Alabama military members on active duty traveling home on leave, anglers fishing with licensed guides or charter boats, and anglers fishing from a local bank in their county with hook and line (using live bait only) do not require a fishing license.

Can I fish without a license on free fishing days?

Alabama Free Fishing Days allow unlicensed fishing. Now anybody may fish in public waterways without a license. Exceptions exist. Private pond fishing for striped bass or red snapper may need a license. Even on Free Fishing Days, size and creel limitations apply.

Can I purchase a fishing license for just a few days?

Yes, it is possible to get a temporary fishing license in Alabama for a brief period of time. Temporary permits vary by domicile and fishing waters. 7-Day Freshwater, 7-Day Saltwater, and Daily Public Fishing Lakes Licenses are examples. These licenses cost differently depending on domicile and age. Online, in-person, and mail-order temporary licenses are available.

Can I fish in both freshwater and saltwater with the same license?

No, in Alabama you cannot fish in saltwater and freshwater with the same license. Each sort of fishing requires a different license. A resident or non-resident freshwater fishing license, either yearly or seven days, is required for freshwater fishing. In a similar vein, a resident or non-resident saltwater fishing license, either yearly or seven days, is required. Additionally, a Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement that permits fishing for gulf reef fish is accessible to both residents and non-residents.

Can I purchase a fishing license as a gift for someone else?

You may buy fishing permits as presents for friends and family. However, you’ll need to give out and verify their personal data.

Can I renew my fishing license before it expires?

To guarantee that you are protected for ongoing fishing activities, you may renew your fishing license before it expires.

Can I use my smartphone to provide a digital copy of my fishing license?

Yes, most places accept electronic copies of fishing licenses. To be sure, it’s a good idea to verify with regional authorities or laws.

What do I do if I lose my fishing license?

Alabama fishing licenses may be replaced in numerous ways. First, register for Outdoor Alabama online. After logging in, click “Licenses” and then “Replacement Licenses.” Select the kind of license you need a replacement for, enter your contact and payment details, and submit your request. Mail-order a replacement. Fill out the replacement license application from Outdoor Alabama and submit it to Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, License Section, 64 North Union Street, Suite 438, Montgomery, AL 36130. Visit the probate or licensing commissioner’s office in person. Residents pay $5 and non-residents $10 for a replacement fishing license. After you finish, your new license will arrive in 10 business days.

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