Planning to Buy a Texas Fishing License? Here's What You Need to Know
Jun 5, 2019 | 6 minute read Comments
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Reading Time: 6 minutes

It may be known as “the lone star state,” but the fishing Texas has in store is nothing short of five stars! From Lake Texoma to the Gulf of Mexico, the fish in these waters will give you a run for your money. You can count on a savvy guide and top-notch tackle to reel in all of the state’s top catches. All you need to bring is a Texas fishing license and your enthusiasm!

The state of Texas offers anglers a variety of fishing packages to choose from. Knowing which one is right for you depends on where you plan to fish, which state you’re from, and more. We put together this quick guide so you can spend less time looking for answers and more time on fish.

Quick View: Texas Sportfishing License Requirements

Texas fishing license requirements

Who Needs a Sportfishing License in Texas?

Unlike in Florida and some other states, the fee for a fishing charter in Texas does not include your fishing license. Anyone age 17 and older must purchase a Texas fishing license for recreational angling in public state waters. This applies to anglers fishing by any means, from conventional rod and reel to bow fishing and Catfish noodling. Anyone in your group who is actively participating needs to have a license (this includes netting fish, dehooking fish, etc.).

Depending on where you fish, you will need either a saltwater endorsement (for the Gulf of Mexico and tidal waters) or a freshwater endorsement (for rivers, streams, lakes, etc.). When fishing in federal waters (more than 9 miles offshore), you still need a TX fishing license in order to bring your catch back into state waters.

How Much Does a Texas Fishing License Cost?

Texas fishing licenses are sold in a variety of packages. Prices vary depending on where you plan to fish, how long the license is valid, and your status as a state resident.

Texas fishing license price chart

Residents and non-residents can purchase a License Year Fishing Package, which is valid from the date of sale until August 31 of the same year. An annual fishing package can include either a freshwater endorsement, a saltwater endorsement, or both (known as an All-Water License). Saltwater packages also include a Red Drum tag at no additional charge.

Texas residents can buy a Year-From-Purchase All-Water package, which is valid through the end of the purchase month in the following license year. A Year-From-Purchase All-Water package includes both freshwater and saltwater endorsements, as well as one Red Drum tag.

For visiting anglers and people who don’t fish frequently, a single day All-Water license is the most cost effective choice. This license is valid only on the date of purchase or on the pre-selected date of your choice.

You also have the option to buy individual tags and endorsements if you already possess a certain fishing package and would like to expand your options. For instance, if you own a TX saltwater fishing package and would like to fish in freshwater, you can purchase a freshwater endorsement ($5) rather than an entire freshwater package. A saltwater endorsement costs $10 and includes a Red Drum tag.

Fishing-and-hunting combo licenses are also available to state residents.

Planning to become a licensed fishing guide? Read our post on how to become a guide in Texas!

Exceptions to Texas Fishing License Requirements:

    • No one is required to have a fishing license on Texas’s annual Free Fishing Day (the first Saturday in June).
    • You do not need a license when fishing from banks or piers in Texas State Parks. You can identify State Parks by the square green TPWD logo displayed at their entrances. Make sure you are within park boundaries when fishing without a license. All other regulations such as size limits, bag limits, and mandatory tags still apply.
    • Resident and non-resident anglers under the age of 17 do not need to buy a TX fishing license.
    • Anglers born before 1 January 1931 do not need a license to fish in Texas.
    • Anglers who are mentally disabled do not need a license when fishing under the supervision of a licensed angler who is either a family member or has permission from the disabled angler’s family. In such a situation, a mentally disabled angler must carry a note from their doctor confirming they have been diagnosed as mentally disabled.
    • People who are mentally disabled may also fish without a license when engaging in recreational fishing as a form of medically approved therapy, and must be supervised by someone who is either employed or approved by a hospital, school, or residence for mentally disabled persons. The mentally disabled angler must carry a form of authorization identifying the entity responsible for the service, such as an ID card.
    • Resident and non-resident disabled veterans may be entitled to the Disabled Veteran Super Combo Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package, which is free and valid for fishing in both freshwater and saltwater. Prepare to show V.A.-issued proof of disability and state the rate of disability when you apply for this license.
    • Louisiana state residents age 65 and older who possess a valid LA state fishing license do not need to buy a TX fishing license.
    • Oklahoma state residents age 65 and older do not need to buy a TX state fishing license, but should carry ID with proof of their age.

Where Can I Buy a Texas Fishing License?

You can buy a TX fishing license (or “package”) online, in Texas Park and Wildlife Department offices, and at more than 1,500 retailers statewide. Licenses are sold in many department stores, sporting goods stores, tackle shops, gun shops, and even grocery stores.

Some licenses, such as boat and guide licenses, are only available for purchase at the TPWD headquarters in Austin and Law Enforcement offices.

What Else Do I Need to Bring?

Red Drum Tags

In order to keep a Redfish longer than 28”, you need to have a Red Drum tag. (Saltwater fishing packages include one Red Drum tag upon purchase.) This applies to all anglers, including those exempt from carrying a license. Be sure to attach the tag to your catch right away:

    • Remove the tag from your license (keep the entire tag intact)
    • Fill in all the information requested on the front of the tag
    • Cut out the appropriate day and month
    • Using a wire or string, attach the tag to the tail fin of the fish (around the narrowest part)
      How to tag a Texas Red Drum

Texas Red Drum tag

Fishing Interstate Waters

Is my Texas fishing license valid in Louisiana?

Texas and Louisiana have a reciprocal fishing license agreement, but this doesn’t apply to all waters throughout both states. Anglers who possess a fishing license from TX or OK can fish in public waters spanning the state border. So, if you’re hopping over the border and you bought your LA fishing license with you, there’s no need to buy a TX fishing license so long as you’re casting a line in one of the lakes, rivers, or reservoirs shared between both states. Likewise, Texas state residents with a TX fishing license do not need a LA fishing license for the same waters. Border waters where a LA and TX license are both valid include:

    • Sabine River, Sabine Lake, and Sabine Pass
    • Caddo Lake
    • Toledo Bend Reservoir

Louisiana state residents age 65 and older can fish anywhere in Texas using their LA fishing licenses.

Can I use my Texas fishing license in Oklahoma?

Only Texas state residents who are 65 and older can fish in Oklahoma without buying an OK license (bring ID).

Casting a line in Lake Texoma? Buy yourself a Lake Texoma License ($12) and feel free to fish anywhere on the lake! You don’t need a TX or OK fishing license when you have one of these, nor any stamps or endorsements. A Lake Texoma Fishing License is valid until December 31 following the date of issuance.  Texas state residents age 65+ don’t need this license in order to fish on the Oklahoma side of Lake Texoma.

What if I misplace my Texas fishing license?

If you lose your fishing license, you can buy a replacement at any license retailer. Most replacement licenses cost $10. You will have to complete an application before purchasing a replacement license.

There’s only one thing left to do now that you’ve figured out which TX fishing package is right for you—get out there and catch a big’un!

Comments (44)
  • Joe Ramirez

    Sep 9, 2018

    Why does my disabled veteran fishing license doesn’t have a red drum fish tag

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      Stefan

      Sep 10, 2018

      Hi, Joe.

      Thanks for reading the blog!

      As a disabled veteran (whether a resident or non-resident), you’re entitled to a Disabled Veteran Combination License Package.
      This package is free and should include Super Combo Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package.
      If you have this package, then you should have also received a red drum tag (if this isn’t the package you have, let me know, so I can look further into it).

      I suggest you get in touch with the retailer which sold you the package and let them know you’re missing a red drum tag.

      Hope this helps.
      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Tight lines,
      Stefan

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      Kenny Wise

      May 22, 2019

      What is the % of DV to get free combination license package

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      Albert

      May 22, 2019

      Hi Kenny,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, “Disabled Veteran means a veteran with a service-connected disability, as defined by the Veterans Administration, consisting of the loss of the use of a foot or leg, or a disability rating of 50% or more and who is receiving compensation from the U.S. for the disability. Official proof of disability (issued by the VA) must be shown when applying for this license and must state the rate of disability.”

      I Hope this helps.

      Tight lines!

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  • Bob

    Jan 26, 2019

    Will a Texoma license suffice for fishing directly below the dam?

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      Sean

      Feb 4, 2019

      Hello Bob,

      Thanks for reading the blog.

      Yes, a Lake Texoma fishing license will suffice for fishing anywhere on the Lake.

      We’re here should you need anything else.

      Tight lines!

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  • Dave Huntley

    Feb 5, 2019

    What are the specific requirements for disabled veteran all water fishing license?

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      Sean

      Feb 8, 2019

      Hello Dave,

      Thank you for reading.

      To get the Disabled Veteran Super Combo Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package, you would need to submit an official proof of disability issued by the Veteran’s Administration.

      According to the V.A., disabled veterans can apply if their disabilities “consist of the loss of the use of a foot or leg, or a disability rating of 50% or more and are receiving compensation from the U.S. for the disability.”

      You can find out more through this link.

      All the best from FishingBooker!

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  • Kevin

    Feb 28, 2019

    i see TPWD has a $5 admin charge on their site for the year-from-purchase fishing license.
    is it the same $52 if i bought it at Academy or Walmart, or more / less?
    Thanks

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      Sean

      Mar 1, 2019

      Hello Kevin,

      Thank you for reading the blog.

      The $5 fee only applies to online orders. You can see that in the TPWD online fee guide.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

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  • Ancel Southern

    Mar 5, 2019

    I have a dis-abled okla fishing license. I will be coming to my sisters for 3 days in May. How much to get a license to fish for 3 days? Thank you

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      Sean

      Mar 8, 2019

      Hello Ancel,

      Thank you for reading the blog.

      According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, Oklahoma residents older than 65 are the only ones who are exempt from requiring a valid fishing license.

      I’m afraid that otherwise, you’ll need to purchase a 3-day license. You can find out how to purchase your license here.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

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  • David W snider

    Mar 9, 2019

    I’m physically disabled does Texas has disabled fish license or do I have to buy out of state fishing license

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      Sean

      Mar 18, 2019

      Hello David,

      Thanks for reading.

      I’m afraid that there is no fishing license for physically disabled non-residents.

      There is an exemption for the physically disabled, but it only applies to war veterans. Therefore, if your disability was not sustained during military service, you would need to purchase a regular non-resident fishing license.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

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  • Nancy Wickett

    Mar 18, 2019

    My Dad is 94. So he needs NO fishing license for any fishing he might do? Even on a charter boat in the gulf? No stamps either?
    Thanks,
    Nancy

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      Sean

      Mar 18, 2019

      Hello Nancy,

      Thank you for reading.

      Yes, your Dad will be able to fish all waters in Texas without a fishing license. Please note that this doesn’t include tags for certain species. For example, if your Dad would like to fish for Red Drum, he’ll be able to purchase an “Exempt Angler Tag” for $3.

      If you’d like to inquire about a specific species your Dad would want to fish for, I would advise contacting Texas Parks and Wildlife.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

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  • Nita C

    Apr 17, 2019

    Not quite clear, anyone can fish from a pier or the banks inside a state park without a fishing license??

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      Sean

      Apr 18, 2019

      Hello Nita,

      Thank you for the question.

      Yes, anyone can fish from a pier within the state park boundaries. Please note that the size limit, bag limit, and mandatory tag regulations still apply.

      Tight lines!

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  • Cathy

    Apr 21, 2019

    At what age do you all consider someone a senior citizen?

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      Sean

      Apr 22, 2019

      Hello Cathy,

      Thanks for reading.

      Anybody age 65 and older is considered to be a senior citizen in Texas. Please note that anglers born before January 1, 1931 do not need a license to fish in Texas.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

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  • Jaylin

    Apr 22, 2019

    Hi I was wondering what documentation you need from the va to get a disabled veteran license and if you can apply for the license anywhere like at Walmart or if you have to go through a more official Channel

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      Sean

      Apr 22, 2019

      Hello Jaylin,

      Thanks for reading.

      To get a Disabled Veteran Combination License Package, you’ll need an official proof of disability issued by the V.A.

      My advice would be to search for retailers near you through the TPWD website.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

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  • Sharon

    Apr 29, 2019

    We are Louisiana residents going camping in a Texas state park.

    We understand that we don’t need fishing licenses if fishing from a bank or pier.

    What about if we fish from a boat.

    Thank you!

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      Sean

      May 5, 2019

      Hello Sharon,

      Thanks for reading.

      According to TPWD, you may fish for free from a boat on lakes or ponds that are fully enclosed in a state park. Otherwise, I would recommend purchasing a Non-Resident One-Day All-Water Fishing for $16.

      Tight lines!

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    • Reply icon

      Sharon McLane

      May 5, 2019

      Thank you!!

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    • Reply icon

      Sean

      May 6, 2019

      You’re most welcome, Sharon.

      Have a good one!

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  • AMOR QUITORIANO LUBINA

    May 9, 2019

    I AM A WAR VETERANS. MY DISABILITY SUSTAINED DURING MY MILITARY SERVICE. I AM PREPARE TO SHOW V.A. ISSUED PROOF OF MY DISABILITY AND STATE THE RATE OF MY DISABILITY. DO I STILL NEED TO RENEW MY FISHING LICENSE EVERY YEAR?

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      Sean

      May 12, 2019

      Hello Amor,

      Thanks for reading.

      Yes, you would need to renew your license on a yearly basis.

      Tight lines!

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  • Jody hundley

    May 20, 2019

    Im not a veteran but i am disabled (my back not mentally) and live in tx. Is there any discount for me? Most generally things say for instance the disabled and senior citizens. I hope so!

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      Albert

      May 22, 2019

      Hi Jody,

      Good question!

      Sadly, there’s no discount for people with physical disabilities, other than disabled veterans.

      Tight lines!

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  • TTTTTT

    May 28, 2019

    Can you define public state waters? For example, there is a large pond (which is actually part of the stormwater runoff) in my neighborhood that has an inflow and outflow with the waters eventually dumping into a nearby very large lake. Is this pond considered public state waters?

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      Albert

      May 29, 2019

      Hi there,

      Thanks for the question.

      “Public state waters” means any body of water not completely enclosed within private property which is managed by the State (as opposed to federally-managed waters, which you also need a license to fish).

      In short, you need a license to fish anywhere other than private lakes and ponds or from banks and piers inside State Parks.

      Hope this helps!

      Tight lines

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  • ANTHONY M

    May 30, 2019

    I am 40% service connected Texas resident due to my vision and draw a monthly compensation. This is not high enough?

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      Albert

      May 30, 2019

      Hi Anthony,

      I’m afraid not. Free licenses are only available to veterans with a disability rating of 50% or higher.

      Many charter captains do offer discounts to veterans and service personnel, though. It’s always worth asking if you’re booking a fishing trip.

      Tight lines!

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  • Chris

    Jun 1, 2019

    Do I need a fishing license if I have no idea what I’m doing and have a 0% chance of actually catching a fish?

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      Sean

      Jun 3, 2019

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for asking.

      Yes, I’m afraid that, as long as you are older than 16, you would need a license regardless of how skilled you are.

      If you would like to have an expert show you the ropes, feel free to take a look at some of the fishing charters in Texas.

      Tight lines!

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  • Jim griffin

    Jun 3, 2019

    Why can an Oklahoma resident over 66 get to fish in tTeas without a license but I have to wait until I am 88 in Texas? Not fair.

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      Sean

      Jun 5, 2019

      Hey Jim,

      Thanks for reading.

      I’m afraid that there is no rule that says that you can fish for free in Texas once you turn 88. There is a rule stating that persons born before January 1, 1931 (the exact date) don’t need a license.

      Therefore, as a senior, you would need to purchase Senior Saltwater/Freshwater/All-Water Package for $12, $17, or $22, respectively.

      Not ideal, I know. But fishing in the Lone Star State is more than worth it!

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

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  • John

    Jun 4, 2019

    Will my 17 year old kids school I’d work if I am purchasing with them in Texas?

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      Sean

      Jun 5, 2019

      Hey John,

      That’s a good question.

      I’m afraid that your kid’s school ID won’t work. TPWD has different requirements depending on whether you’re a Texas resident or not.

      You can take a look at these requirements here, or call TPWD directly at (800) 792-1112.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

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  • Joseph

    Jun 9, 2019

    I live in Texas and have a fresh water fishing license can I use that license to fish lake texoma or must I by a lake texoma license

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      Albert

      Jun 10, 2019

      Hi Joseph,

      You can fish the Texan side of Lake Texoma with a standard freshwater fishing license. Just make sure you don’t stray into Oklahoma waters.

      Otherwise, a Lake Texoma fishing license costs $12 and covers you to fish on the entire reservoir.

      I hope that helps!

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  • Bonnie Swaney

    Jun 12, 2019

    I will be 75 and hubby 78 when we return to Texas in Oct. We are 6month residents of Texas and also Ohio. We have an address in both states. Do we need resident or non resident all water fishing license ? Can we get a Texas State ID card for residency? Thanks I’m confused.

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      Albert

      Jun 12, 2019

      Hi Bonnie,

      In order to register as a resident you need to be living in Texas for 12 consecutive months.

      Because of that, it sounds like you’ll need a non-resident fishing license unless you’re already Texas residents (with a Texas state ID).

      I hope that helps!

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