Arizona Fishing License: The Complete Guide

Nov 15, 2022 | 6 minute read
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The “Grand Canyon State” is blessed with truly diverse nature, from the hot desert in the south to mountains and forests in the north. If you love all things outdoors and have held a fishing rod in your hand at least once in your life, you’ll want to check the state’s angling opportunities. Before you hit the waters for a healthy dose of Smallmouth Bass or Rainbow Trout, though, you’ll need to get an Arizona fishing license. 

The state flag of Arizona blowing in the wind on a flagpole against clear blue sky

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the state’s fishing permits. We’ll cover where and how residents and visitors can buy their Arizona fishing licenses, what types are available, and who can fish without a permit.

Looking for info on neighboring states, or around the US in general? Check out our full list of licensing guides here

Who needs a fishing license in Arizona?

Every angler aged 10 and older needs to purchase a valid Arizona fishing license in order to fish any publicly accessible water in the state. This rule applies to both residents and visitors. There are exceptions, which we’ll discuss later in this guide.

All fees collected from the licenses contribute to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s efforts to conserve the state’s diverse wildlife resources for future generations. Feel free to learn more about the AZGFD mission here

Types of Licenses

In short, there are five basic types of Arizona fishing licenses anglers can obtain. A general fishing license is required for all anglers, regardless of their residency status, allowing you to fish for all species throughout the state. 

If you love to fish and hunt, there’s a combination type available for both residents and visitors. Younger anglers aged 10-17 can purchase a youth license that allows them to fish and hunt in Arizona. These licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. 

If you’re interested in a quick getaway or just want to fish or hunt for a few days, you can purchase a short-term fish and hunt combination license. This permit can be obtained for any day – all you need to do is select a date (or dates) at the time of purchase. 

Finally, there’s a license that allows you to fish the community waters of Arizona. Although you can fish the Community waters with regular licenses, you can still purchase an exclusive community permit. You can learn more about this program at the AZGFD website

Special Licenses 

Arizona offers a reduced fee Honorary Scout combination license for Boy and Girl Scouts with the highest level in their organization. Girl Scouts with the Gold Award and the Boy Scouts of Scouts of America who have received the Eagle Scout are eligible for this license through the calendar year of their 20th birthday. 

Arizonans can purchase a lifetime fishing and/or combination license, with fees varying depending on the age and license type. Even if you decide to move out of Arizona, you’ll still be able to come back and use your license to hunt and fish. According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, by purchasing a lifetime license, resident anglers and hunters become long-term sponsors of the state’s Wildlife Conservation programs. 

Finally, there’s an additional type of lifetime license for Arizonans, a Lifetime Wildlife Benefactor License. This permit allows you to fish and hunt while donating to the state’s wildlife conservation, protection, and management programs. 

Two anglers on a boat fishing on Canyon Lake amidst the desert landscape of Tonto National Forest along the Apache Trail in Arizona

Information for Residents

In general, fishing (and combination) licenses cost less for Arizonans than for visitors. We’ll cover the cost of the licenses in one of the next sections.

You’re considered an Arizona resident if you are:

  • Domiciled* in the state for at least six months and don’t claim residency in another state
  • An active member (or their spouse) of the US armed forces temporarily or permanently stationed in Arizona
  • An active member (or their spouse) of the US armed forces serving in another state who lists Arizona as their home of record.

*a person’s domicile is their permanent and principal legal residence.

Information for Non-Residents

As you already know, non-residents aren’t eligible for a lifetime Arizona license. Although, just like the residents, Arizona visitors can obtain the five basic types of licenses that allow them to fish the local waters. Combination permits are also available for non-residents. 

Fishing License Costs

License Type Resident Cost Non-Resident Cost
General Fishing $37.00
Combo Fishing & Hunting $57.00
Combo Fishing & Hunting – Youth $5.00
Combo Fishing & Hunting – Short $15.00/day $20.00/day
Community Fishing $24.00
Boy/Girl Scout High Achievement $24.00
Lifetime General Fishing (Age 0-13) $629.00
Lifetime General Fishing (Age 14-29) $666.00
Lifetime General Fishing (Age 30-44) $592.00
Lifetime General Fishing (Age 45-61) $555.00
Lifetime General Fishing (Age 62+) $296.00
Lifetime Combo General Hunt/Fish/Trout (Age 0-13) $969.00
Lifetime Combo General Hunt/Fish/Trout (Age 14-29) $1,029.00
Lifetime Combo General Hunt/Fish/Trout (Age 30-44) $912.00
Lifetime Combo General Hunt/Fish/Trout (Age 45-61) $855.00
Lifetime Combo General Hunt/Fish/Trout (Age 62+) $456.00
Lifetime Wildlife Benefactor $1,500.00

Who can fish without a license?

As we mentioned earlier, anglers aged 10 and older will need to obtain a valid Arizona fishing license before they head out to the water. So, if you’re fishing with someone who’s under the age of 10, they won’t need to get a license. 

There are groups of anglers who won’t need to pay for their permit, although they’ll still need to obtain one. Arizona offers complimentary licenses for disabled resident veterans who can show a valid certification from the Veteran’s Administration confirming permanent 100% service-connected disability and over one consecutive year as a bona fide Arizona resident. In addition to that, anglers aged 70 or older (plus 25 consecutive years as a bona fide resident) are also eligible for a complimentary Arizona license. 

The first Saturday of Arizona National Fishing and Boating Week is a free fishing day for all anglers. 

Where can I buy an Arizona fishing license?

Arizona Fishing License "Where to buy?" infographic

There are different ways you can buy your Arizona fishing license. Please note that once you’ve made your purchase, you won’t be able to refund or exchange your permits. Here are the available formats:

  • Online. You can purchase your license at AZGFD’s website and print it out. 
  • In person. There are over 200 agents throughout the state where you can get a physical copy of your Arizona license. These include bait and tackle shops, convenience stores, and local sporting goods stores. 
  • At the Arizona Game and Fish Department offices. You can check out the list of office locations here


Where can I get an Arizona lifetime license or a Boy Scout and Girl Scout High Achievement license?

In order to purchase a lifetime license, you’ll need to fill out a special form in your name, sign it, and mail it along with a check or money order. The form is available here or on AZGFD’s website. 

For a Boy Scout and Girl Scout High Achievement license, complete the application, prepare the $5 fee, and submit the necessary paperwork at any Arizona Game and Fish Department office.

Where can I get an Arizona Pioneer license?

The process is similar to a lifetime license application: you’ll need to fill in a special form 2728 and submit it to an Arizona Game and Fish Department office. At the time of the application, you’ll also need to submit a valid U.S. passport, original or certified copy of your birth certificate, or government-issued driver’s license or identification card.

What if I lose my license?

If you happen to lose or damage your Arizona license, you can get it replaced online, at a licensed dealer, or at a Department office. There is a small replacement fee for a replacement license. If you want to reprint a license that you purchased online or through the AZGFD office, you can do it for free. 

Still have questions about getting your fishing license in Arizona? Get in touch with your local Arizona Game and Fish Department office. You can also leave us a comment below. Now it’s time to grab your license and fishing tackle, find a guide near you, and start fishing!

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