Prepare for, Purchase, Protect Your 2024 Fishing License

California offers a number of different fishing license options, including discounted, short-term and annual licenses, but did you know that you have more convenient options than finding a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) office to purchase one? If you don’t have time to make it to the San Diego CDFW License Sales Office, don’t stress.

 

Fishing licenses are generally required in California for those 16 years of age and older unless they are fishing on a “free fishing day,” which is determined by the CDFW. Free fishing days for 2024 are July 6 and Aug. 31. The CDFW also manages fishing regulations and licenses across the entire state, and the profits from department fees help pay for fishery conservation education and other programs like the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act. Taxes on fishing equipment and licenses are redistributed back into fisheries for research and conservation efforts.

 

Like other fishing regulations, a fishing license is intended to protect fish populations against overfishing so that generations of anglers will have good fishing opportunities.

 

The most obvious way to purchase a fishing license is through the official website of the CDFW. You can buy a license online, check fishing regulations that apply to your specific trip and receive a digital copy of your license.

 

If you don’t have access to the internet, your printer is out of ink or you’re out and about, you can purchase one-day and annual licenses at other locations as well. Retailers such as Walmart, Big 5 Sporting Goods and other similar chains often have a licensing desk for purchase of fishing licenses. It’s as easy as walking and having a clerk scan your California driver’s license. Some outdoor recreation stores specializing in camping, hiking and fishing equipment also may sell fishing licenses. Examples include REI and Bass Pro Shops, but it never hurts to call beforehand and inquire.

 

The current fees for fishing license are listed below:

 

Short Term Sport Fishing Licenses

Title Fee Description
One-day Sport Fishing License $20.26 Allows a resident or nonresident to fish for one specified day. One-day sport fishing licenses are exempt from the Ocean Enhancement Validation requirement.

 

Two-day Sport Fishing License $31.06 Allows a resident or nonresident to fish for two consecutive days. Two-day sport fishing licenses are exempt from the Ocean Enhancement Validation requirement.
Ten-day Nonresident Sport Fishing License  

$61.82

Allows a nonresident to fish for ten consecutive days.
     

 

365- Day Sport Fishing Licenses

Title Fee Description
Resident Sport Fishing $61.82 Available for any resident 16 years of age or older.
Nonresident Sport Fishing $166.89 Available for any non-resident 16 years of age or older.

 

Reduced-Fee Sport Fishing License – Disabled Veteran $9.53 at CDFW Offices
$9.98 from License Agents
Available for any resident or nonresident honorably discharged disabled veteran with a 50% or greater service-connected disability. After you prequalify for your first Disabled Veteran Reduced Fee Sport Fishing License, you can purchase disabled veteran licenses anywhere licenses are sold.
Reduced-Fee Sport Fishing License – Recovering Service Member $9.53 at CDFW Offices
$9.98 from License Agents
Available for any recovering service member of the US military. After you prequalify for your Recovering Service Member Reduced-Fee Sport Fishing License, you can purchase recovering service member licenses anywhere licenses are sold.
Reduced Fee Sport Fishing License – Low-Income Senior  

$9.53

The eligibility requirements for low-income seniors to obtain a reduced-fee sport fishing license have changed. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, reduced-fee sport fishing licenses will be available for low-income California residents, 65 years of age and older, who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Cash Assistance Program for Aged, Blind and Disabled Legal Immigrants (CAPI). The Reduced-Fee Sport Fishing License for Low Income Seniors is only available at CDFW License Sales Offices.
Free Sport Fishing License – Low-Income Native American No fee Available for any Native American who is a resident of the state and is financially unable to pay the fee required for a resident sport fishing license. The Free Sport Fishing License for Low Income Native Americans is only available at CDFW License Sales Offices.
Free Sport Fishing License – Mobility Impaired, Blind or Developmentally Disabled No fee Available for a person who is blind, developmentally disabled or mobility impaired. Your first Free Sport Fishing License must be obtained from the CDFW License and Revenue Branch. Subsequent licenses may be obtained from any license agent.

 

 

In California, a resident is considered anyone who has resided continuously in the state for six months or more immediately before the date of their application for a license or permit, anyone on active military duty or any person enrolled in the Job Corps.

 

When purchasing a fishing license, make sure to have the necessary information, such as your identification, residency status and payment method. Fishing regulations and license fees may vary, so it’s essential to be aware of the specific requirements for the type of license you need.

If you happen to lose your license, there is a small fee to replace it. Therefore, you should take care of your license. Never heat laminate your license because the process will destroy it. If exposed to extreme heat, the license will darken and become discolored. A discolored license, however, is still valid as long as it’s readable. While a fishing license doesn’t have to be worn, it should be in your immediate possession while fishing with the exception of when you’re diving. However, waterproof sleeves attached to lanyards and clips make it convenient to keep your license on your person and protect it from being damaged. These sleeves can be purchased in stores or online at Amazon.com.

 

For more information, please visit https://wildlife.ca.gov/.

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