A California fishing license is crucial if you want to fish in California. However, what you plan on fishing for in California and where you plan to fish will play an essential role in what type of Californian fishing license or permit you’ll need.

Fees from fishing licenses help pay for natural conservation efforts, including fish stocking, habitat improvement, boat ramps, fishing access, and much more.

If you’re planning on fishing in the beautiful state of California, you’ll need to ensure you have the correct fishing license. In the following California fishing license guide, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about getting a fishing license in California, including:

If you plan on fishing in California, be sure to check out California Fishing Seasons: Your Complete Guide! 

When it comes to finding the best local fishing spots and locations in California, including secret local and hot spots, you will need a little help, especially if you are new to the Californian fishing scene. If you want to land some monster fish on your Californian fishing trip, you’ll need the premium Fishing Finder App. Thanks to the Fishbox App, you’ll know the perfect time to go fishing in California.

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Types of California Fishing Licenses

Anyone 16 and above fishing in California must have a fishing license if they want to take any fish or shellfish within the state. However, if you want to try fishing from a public pier in saltwater, you won’t require a fishing license.

Along with free fishing from saltwater or ocean piers, California also offers two free fishing days each year. You can check out the free fishing days on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website here. The two free fishing days for 2024 are Saturday, July 6th, and Saturday, August 31st.

Different Types of Californian Fishing Licenses

Luckily, if you love fishing and want to go fishing in California, you have several different fishing permit options, including:

  • An Annual Fishing License, which is valid from January 1st to December 31st.
  • Resident Sport Fishing License.
  • Non-resident Sport Fishing License.
  • Short-Term License.
  • One-Day Sport Fishing License.
  • Two-Day Sport Fishing License.
  • Ten-Day Non-resident Sport Fishing License.
  • Lifetime Fishing License.

California defines a ‘resident’ for license reasons as anyone who has lived in the state for six months or more before the license application, anyone on active military duty, and anyone who is enrolled in the Job Corps program.

Discounted fishing license options are available for:

  • Disabled Veterans.
  • Recovering Service Members.
  • Low-Income Seniors.

Free California sport fishing licenses are also available for the following people:

  • Low-Income Native Americans.
  • Blind, Mobility Impaired, or Developmentally Disabled People.

Cost of California Fishing Licenses

You can check out the complete and current list of Californian fishing license fees at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website here.

Californian short-term fishing license fees for 2024:

  • One-Day Sport Fishing License – $20.26.
  • Two-Day Sport Fishing License – $31.06.
  • Ten-Day Non-Resident Sport Fishing License – $61.82.

If you’re an avid angler and plan on fishing for the rest of your life, a Californian lifetime fishing permit is a great option. The fees for a lifetime fishing permit in California are based on age:

  • Age 0-9 – $679.75.
  • Age 10-39 – $1,112.
  • Age 40-61 – $1,01.75.
  • Age 62+ – $679.75.

California 365-Day Fishing License Fees:

  • Resident Sport Fishing License – $61.82.
  • Non-Resident Sport Fishing License – $166.89.

Where to Obtain a California Fishing License

You can purchase both resident and non-resident California fishing licenses online via the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website, at any local agent located throughout the state, and at any CDFW License Office.

Most California fishing licenses include a 5% license agent handling fee and a 3% application fee. If you damage or lose your Californian fishing license or permit, you may order a replacement. However, there could be fees associated with ordering a replacement for a lost or damaged card, so be sure to keep them in a safe and dry location while fishing or out on the water.

While fishing in California, you should always have your fishing license in your possession, or somewhere you can easily access if required to do so.

Complete Guide to California Fishing Licenses – Conclusion

If you plan to fish in California, a fishing license or permit is essential. Not only is it a legal requirement, but fees from fishing license sales go directly back into ensuring that future generations can enjoy the same incredible fishing experiences and opportunities for years to come.

By utilizing the technology in the Fishbox App, you’ll be able to accurately track weather conditions and predict the best times to hit the water when planning fishing in California.

Get your personalized fishing map

Answer a quick quiz and get your own personalized fishing map

It combines predictive fish behavior with weather, lunar, and tidal conditions to deliver optimal fishing opportunities in California, regardless of whether you’re going fresh or saltwater fishing.

The Fishbox App was developed in collaboration with accurate weather data and expert fish behavioral analysis. These advanced forecasts will significantly increase your catch rate while reducing your time on the water. Take your fishing to the next level thanks to the expert advice from the Fishbox App team.

If you have any questions about fishing licenses in California, please don’t hesitate to comment below! 

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