Connecticut Fishing License: The Complete Guide

Aug 23, 2022 | 6 minute read
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The “Constitution State” has over 180 lakes and thousands of miles of streams and rivers filled with exciting fish species. There’s the Farmington and Housatonic Rivers, Lake Waramaug and Candlewood Lake, the Long Island Sound, and many other spots throughout the state where you can catch anything from Trout to Flounder. In order to fully enjoy them, though, you’ll need a valid Connecticut fishing license.

The state flag of Connecticut blowing in the wind on a flag pole against clear blue sky

In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about sportfishing licenses in Connecticut. You’ll learn about the different types of permits, the difference between licenses for residents and visitors, where and how to get your license, and whether there are exceptions to the rule (there always are). 

If you’re 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 Connecticut?

All anglers aged 16 and older need to buy a Connecticut fishing license in order to legally fish in the state. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but more on that in the following sections. 

All the license fees go to the Bureau of Natural Resources to support the DEEP’s various conservational and educational programs. Some of these include land acquisition for conservation and fishing access, rearing and stocking of Trout, restoration of migratory fish species, and much more. Feel free to learn more about it here

Types of Connecticut Fishing Licenses

The state offers several license types for both resident anglers and visitors, as well as members of armed forces and anglers with disabilities. You can choose from fresh and saltwater licenses or purchase an all-purpose license if you’re planning to fish the coastal waters and some of Connecticut’s rivers, lakes, and ponds. 

Here’s a list of the most popular Connecticut fishing licenses:

  • All waters. This is an all-purpose fishing license that allows you to explore both salt and freshwater fisheries. 
  • Marine. If you’re planning to fish saltwater exclusively, you’ll only need to purchase this type of license. 
  • Inland. This type of CT fishing license is similar to the marine one, only it allows you to fish freshwater. 
  • Short duration. A short-duration license is perfect for those who are in town for just a couple of days. Visitors can purchase a 3-day license for either inland or marine waters. 
  • Combination licenses. The state offers combination licenses for hunters and fishermen who want to combine the best of both worlds without buying each license separately. 
  • Trout and Salmon Stamp. This stamp is optional, however, you’re required to have it if you plan to harvest Trout and Salmon or fish in one of these designations: Trout Management Area, Wild Trout Management Area, Trout Park, or Atlantic Salmon Management Area. You can learn more about the stamps here

All anglers under the age of 16 can purchase a Youth Fishing Passport. This isn’t a fishing license, since younger anglers aren’t required to have one, but it gives the chance to get a lifetime Conservation ID and take part in various fishing activities designed for them by the state of Connecticut. 

Two fishermen on a boat riding through a lake in Connecticut during the fall months with a forest in the background

Information for Residents

You’re considered a Connecticut resident if you:

  • Are domiciled in Connecticut for the entire tax year
  • Maintained a permanent place of abode in Connecticut and spent more than 183 days in the state

Senior Connecticut residents aged 65 and over are eligible for a special Resident Inland Fishing Senior Citizen license, which is free of charge but needs to be renewed annually. There is a 50% discount for any fishing license for all resident anglers aged 16 and 17, too.

Costs for Residents

As we mentioned above, there’s a 50% discount for 16 and 17-year old residents for all types of licenses and the Trout and Salmon Stamp. Take a look at the table below that shows all the available options for Connecticut residents.  

Resident License Type Age Cost
Inland Fishing 18-64
$28.00
Inland Fishing 16 and 17
$14.00
All Waters Fishing 18-64
$32.00
All Waters Fishing 16 and 17 $16.00
Marine Waters Fishing 18-64
$10.00
Marine Waters Fishing 16 and 17
$5.00
1-Day Marine Fishing 18-64
$5.00
1-Day Marine Fishing 16 and 17
$3.00
Trout and Salmon Stamp 18+
$5.00
Trout and Salmon Stamp 16 and 17
$3.00

Information for Non-Residents

As a non-resident, you’re not eligible for certain types of licenses and discounts. However, you still have some options to choose from, including Season All Waters and 3-Day types, which are not available for the residents. 

If you are an active, full-time member of the armed forces, you can purchase your Connecticut fishing license for the resident fee. 

Costs for Non-Residents

Here’s an overview of all the visitors’ fishing licenses on offer in Connecticut. Depending on where and how long you’d like to fish, the price will change. 

Non-Resident License Type Cost
Season-Inland Fishing $55.00
Season-All Waters Fishing $63.00
3-Day Inland Fishing $22.00
Marine Waters Fishing $15.00
3-Day Marine Waters Fishing $8.00
Trout and Salmon Stamp (16+) $5.00
Armed Forces Inland Fishing $28.00
Armed Forces Marine Fishing $10.00

Who can fish without a license?

Connecticut Fishing License "Who can fish without it?" infographic

There are some categories of anglers who don’t need to pay for their fishing licenses, but will still need to get one. The only exception here is the Free Fishing Days, where anyone can fish without a permit. 

Here’s a list of all the available options:

  • Intellectually Disabled or Blind. With proof of disability provided by a licensed specialist in CT, blind anglers or those with an intellectual disability can purchase a free license for Inland or Marine waters. 
  • Physically Disabled. Any CT resident or visitor* with the loss of a limb or the loss of the use of a limb and a doctor’s certificate can get a Connecticut fresh and/or saltwater fishing license free of charge. Qualified non-residents who are from states which allow CT residents the same privileges are also eligible. 
  • Senior Lifetime Fishing License. All residents aged 65 and over can get a free fishing license for Inland and Marine waters. In most cases, a Trout and Salmon stamp is still necessary if you’re planning to harvest these species or fish for them in one of the four Trout and Salmon areas.
  • License Reciprocity. Residents of Maine, Massachusetts, New York, or Rhode Island who possess a saltwater license can use it to fish in Connecticut’s marine district.
  • Free Fishing Days. Each year, two dates are designated as a “free fishing license day,” out of which any angler can choose one and fish license-free. 

*For residents of states that allow the same privileges for CT residents

Where to Buy Your Connecticut Fishing License

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, DEEP offices are closed to the public. However, you can purchase your fishing license and stamps through the online portal, as well as from retail agents and many town clerks. If you’re unable to print your license, make sure you have a copy ready to be displayed on your mobile device. 

Here’s how you can get your Connecticut fishing license and stamps:

How long is my license valid?

All Connecticut fresh and saltwater fishing licenses are valid for the calendar year and expire on December 31.

What if I lose my license?

If you purchased your CT fishing license through the online portal, you can reprint it. Log on with your CT Conservation ID, last name, and date of birth, and click the link for reprinting on the top right of the page. If you got your license from a vendor, feel free to ask them to reprint it for you.

How can I get a Youth Fishing Passport?

You can get your Youth Fishing Passport through the DEEP Online Sportsmen Licensing System with parental/guardian permission or by phone (860-424-3474). For more information, please visit the Youth Fishing Passport page.

Still have questions about getting your fishing license in Connecticut? Get in touch with your local Department of Energy and Environmental Protection 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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