What Happens If You Get Caught Fishing Without A License? 

It definitely would have surprised you that, but that’s actually the truth! You’ll be needing a license for fishing FOR REAL! Honestly speaking, you won’t be loving all those fish you caught with TONS OF EFFORT lost to the authorities because you didn’t have a license. And there, the only thing that will hit you is “I wish I knew about the license before”.

Can you Fish Without License

Although, if you are new to fishing, you would also require the details of the license as how many types of licenses are there? How to get a fishing license? What happens if you get caught fishing without a license? how much are a ticket for fishing without a license? and so many other queries…!  So be ready and get yourself fully aware of all this information that we accumulated for you. 

Can you Fish Without License?

Since we are in the 21st century and there’s a license to literally everything and sadly, fishing is not as easy as one might think it could be. According to the “Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act 1997,” you are not allowed to fish without a license and that’s illegal. The authorities charge no fishing license fine or penalties to it which is more than the amount of the license. Although, there are some exceptions to it and we’ll be giving you that secret information as well where you can fish without a license and get saved from penalties as well. So let’s get started. 

So What Happens If You Get Caught Fishing Without A License?

There are a lot of things that you would never expect to happen if you are fishing without a license and trust me, that is never a good practice! Especially, if you are previously accused of some kind of crime, then it’s over for you. Though some people even wonder “is it illegal to fish without a license” which answers in “yes”. 

You'll get a ticket

Normally, the authorities will give you a ticket that is 50 dollars that are payable in 30 days. Any day above that time period will be considered a second-degree misdemeanor and the amount gets double. Although it depends on the officer as well, if he’s strict he can involve you in a detailed process. 

Even in that situation, it is good to accept the mistakes, go to the hearing and pay to serve the penalties otherwise the court can seize your properties in as short of a matter as fishing. So, for the safe side, always keep your license with yourself whenever fishing and also give a read to the rule of fishing because no one likes to let go of their favorite catch back to the water. 

How Much Is A Ticket For Fishing Without A License?

Normally, the penalty for fishing without a license is 50 dollars. However, if you are constantly been convicted of fishing license then the situation can get worse. 

If you accept the ticket and agree that you have done the mistake, the authorities will charge up to 100$ to 500$. After accepting the ticket, you will be given a time of 30 days to pay for the ticket. However, if you deny ( which you must never do), you can even get arrested under the Schedule 1 Theft Act 1968 offense and then the process gets longer and more complicated. 

In case of not attending the hearing and not accepting the mistake, it’ll be 60 days jail as it is a second-degree misdemeanor. Besides, if you had the license and for some reason, you missed taking it to fish, you can show it in the court and then you only have to pay the court charges.

Also note, you can get your properties seized if you keep repeating the mistakes that you are accused of. And, this is how serious it can get because you can go to jail for fishing without a license. 

Where Can I Go Fishing Without A Permit?

There are certain dates and places on which the states allow free fishing and it varies throughout the year. These are mentioned in the local wildlife department. In addition, they also announce piers where you can fish without taking a license. 

Besides that, sea fishing is also done without a license. So if you decide to do trolling or surf fishing, you can easily go there without a license. 

Does Everyone Need A Fishing License? 

Apparently no! There are few lucky people who won’t be asked if they fish without a license and that includes;

  • Children who are under 16.
  • Adults over the age of 65.
  • Military officials.
  • Veterans who live in that region.
  • If you suffer from a disability.
  • If you are a member of the family homestead.
  • If you are in minorities in the state.

However, in these cases, you have to bring your identity card since the authorities still need to verify the conditions that you would be stating. Also, these conditions won’t nullify the rules for you i.e you must follow the fishing rules that come under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act 1997

Types of Fishing Licenses: 

There are two types of licenses namely Sport Fishing License and Conservation License

Sport fishing & conservation license:

A sportfishing license is for those who fish regularly. It covers many benefits as with it, you can fish as much as you want. Despite if you have a conservation license, you will be limited to fish only for a few species. The length will also come in that and you have to let go of the fishes that exceed the limit. In addition, sport fishing licenses are more expensive than conservation ones. However, in versatility and uninterrupted fishing, sport fishing licenses always win. 

Other than that, both types of fishing licenses expire every year on June 30th. They are available at any fishing shop and you can also order online. Wildlife and fisheries also sell these licenses. However, you can also get a lifetime license, if you are that much obsessed with fishing. Lifetime fishing license costs around 250$ to 500$. Besides, the general licenses can be issued in hardly 10 dollars. Except for the freshwater fishing license that is 17$. 

Penalties at different regions:

Since the penalties are different in different regions hence, this is the list of popular states in the USA and their respective penalties. However, this is the current penalty as of the year 2022 and it may change with the effect of changing times and new fishing rules.  

  • No fishing license fine Texas: 205$ 
  • No fishing license fine California: 100$ to 1000$ 
  • Fine for fishing without a license in Ohio: $75 
  • Fine for fishing without a license in New Mexico: 500$ to 4000$ 
  • Fine for fishing without a license in VA: 500$ 

Frequently Asked Questions:

According to Section 2 of Schedule 1 Theft Act 1968 offense, it is a criminal offense to fish without a license because that states you are stealing the fish and thus you gotta bear the consequences in the form of severe penalties.

Yes, it is totally free to fish in the sea and won’t be asked for a license when fishing there.

A fishing license covers 2 rods at a time. Meaning that an angler can fish using two rods for one-time activity. However, if you happen to fish with more rods, you can get more licenses to cover those rods.

Wrapping Up: 

By now, you would have known the importance of a license for fishing the consequences that may await if you get caught fishing without a license. Though, you can go to sea if you think getting a fishing license is a lot more complicated process and also, the places that we have mentioned. 

However, as a personal opinion, we definitely suggest you have a license because it opens many ways and spots for you to fish and saves you from constant worries you may have that “what happens if you get caught fishing without a license?”. 

Have a nice and uninterrupted fishing guys! And don’t forget the follow and respect the rules to make it a better place for everyone!

Clinton Shannon

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