Each year anglers head straight for Pennsylvania’s 85,000 streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds, teeming with a variety of trophy bass, crappie, trout, and more!
You can purchase your own Pennsylvania fishing license online through the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website or from accredited agents in your area. The links below answer all of our concerns and walk you through the backup process.
After your license is approved, be sure to read the fishing rules and regulations of the area you plan to visit. And because local laws vary from state to state, it’s important to know what protocols apply in different areas. These rules are strictly implemented to protect the fish population and to preserve marine life and their habitats for future generations. Click the links below for information on seasons, regulations and fish stocking schedules.
Appropriate fishing ethics are expected from experienced or inexperienced anglers. The various fisheries laws were created and implemented to encourage and increase the population of the various species in the region. The fees collected by the Pennsylvania fishing licenses go to various local projects that aim to maintain and monitor the fish population.
Here’s a tip for you: If you’re planning a weekend fishing adventure with family or friends, come to Pennsylvania. With thousands of ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers, and a variety of freshwater fishing for both novice and experienced anglers, Pennsylvania is on everyone’s wish list.
Plus, planning a fishing trip in Pennsylvania is easier than you can imagine. All you have to do is prepare your itinerary, equipment, clothing, some logistical details and of course fishing licenses and you’re good to go. Buying a fishing license in Pennsylvania is also very easy and straightforward. You can even choose one conveniently at great prices.
But if you are still confused by the whole fishing license thing, this article summarizes all the important information that would help you buy the right fishing license, how much money to prepare, where to buy it and which rules to follow. Before you apply throw a line in PA state waters
Here are the main things you need to know about Pennsylvania fishing permits:
Who Must Acquire a Pennsylvania Fishing License?
A valid, inked fishing license is required for anyone aged 16 and over to fish or fish for any species of fish and to catch fish bait, bait fish, and amphibian and reptile species from Commonwealth waters. Both resident and non-resident anglers who qualify for the age requirement above must purchase a valid PA fishing license and carry it in person.
In addition, two other special permits are required to fish in regulated waters or to catch a regulated species. The first is the Lake Erie Fishing Permit, which is required for anyone looking to fish PA sections of Lake Erie. The other is the trout and salmon license, which is required for any angler who wants to take home their trout or salmon catches.
There are a few exceptions when it comes to carrying a Pennsylvania fishing license, as well as some ways to get a discount on the cost. Find out below who and how:
- Members of the National Guard, the armed forces and former prisoners of war are entitled to a discounted fishing license.
- Resident Veterans who are blind or 100% disabled are eligible for a Disabled Veteran’s License.
- Any resident veteran who has lost a limb and is more than 60% disabled can apply for a reduced fee for the resident fishing license.
- Active-duty Pennsylvania residents stationed outside the state but returning on approved vacation are exempt from licensing requirements.
- Any qualified service personnel should instead present their military ID instead of a fishing license.
Similar to other states, Pennsylvania also grants residents of PA special privileges that include exceptions and reduced prices. To obtain a residence permit or permit, you must be a BONA FIDE resident of Pennsylvania. To prove this, you must provide positive proof of permanent residence by providing one of the following documents:
- valid PA driver’s license
- a valid photo ID for non-drivers
- A PA state income tax return from the previous year showing that income tax was paid as a PA resident
- a prior year local income tax return showing the taxes paid to a PA community
- a current PA voter ID card
Please note that the residence permit will remain valid for the year or years for which it was issued, regardless of whether the license holder is no longer a true Pennsylvania resident. Special licenses such as National Guard & Armed Forces Reserve licenses and Prisoner of War (POW) licenses are available for those who meet the following requirements:
Licenses for the National Guard and the Armed Forces Reserve
These licenses are available to persons who can prove that the person has been employed as a member of the reserve component of the armed forces for a period of 60 consecutive days or more abroad or because of an injury or illness sustained during the service within the last 24 months.
Prisoner of War Licenses
These licenses are available to those who provide military evidence that the person is a former prisoner of war.
Where can I buy a Pennsylvania fishing license?
There are several convenient ways to get a Pennsylvania fishing license. The cheapest way is to buy it online. To do this, you have to log in to the GoneFishingPA website. After choosing the licenses you want to purchase, you will need to enter your payment method. The system currently accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover or E-Check.
Fishing licenses are sold by licensing agents through an electronic point-of-sale (POS) system. You can decide which of these offline options is most convenient for you if you don’t want to buy a license online:
- with more than 700 licensing agents
- with the district treasurers
- at the office of the Fish & Boat Commission
Various fishing licenses in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania fishing license
There are different licenses available to Pennsylvania residents and non-residents. The licenses are sorted according to the period of validity and are calculated according to residence status, period of validity and age. Here is a summary:
|Licenses||Residents||Senior residence||Not resident|
|Lifetime||Not available||$ 51.90||Not available|
|ten years||$ 211.90||Not available||$ 511.90|
|5 years||$ 106.90||$ 51.90||$ 256.90|
|3 years||$ 63.90||$ 31.90||$ 154.90|
|Yearly||$ 22.90 each||$ 11.90||$ 52.90|
|7 days||Not available||Not available||$ 34.90|
|3 days||Not available||Not available||$ 26.90|
|1 day||$ 11.90||Not available||$ 26.90|
Residents and senior resident anglers can enjoy discounted rates when purchasing a fishing license in Pennsylvania. And the good thing about PA’s licensing system is that it allows both residents and non-residents to purchase licenses with an extended period of validity. They sell a 10 year fishing license to both resident and non-resident anglers at prices of $ 211.90 (residents) and $ 511.90 (non-residents). You can also get a 5-year license for USD 106.90 (residents), USD 51.90 (senior Residents) and $ 256.90 (non-residents). A three-year license is also available for $ 64.90 (residents), $ 31.90 (senior residents), and $ 154.90 (nonresidents). Of course, annual fishing licenses for $ 22.90 (residents), $ 11.90 (senior residents) and $ 52.90 (non-residents) can also be purchased.
If your plan is to go fishing in Pennsylvania for just a few days, non-residents can purchase 7-day and 3-day licenses for just $ 34.90 and $ 26.90, respectively. Additionally, a one-day fishing license can be purchased by both residents and non-residents for $ 11.90 (residents) and $ 26.90 (non-residents). Please note that the one-day fishing license is not available from March 15th to April 30th every year. Even the non-resident day license including a permit for Lake Erie and trout / salmon.
Lake Erie and trout / salmon permit
Fishing in Lake Erie or taking caught trout or salmon with you requires a special permit. If you want to venture out on the Great Lake or hunt these delicious species, they can be purchased for a fee. Here is a summary of the trout / salmon fees (please note that the price is the same for both resident and overseas anglers):
|ten years||$ 141.90||$ 81.90|
|5 years||$ 71.90||$ 41.90|
|3 years||$ 43.90||$ 25.90|
|1 year||$ 15.90||$ 9.90|
Pennsylvania daytime and possession restrictions
The state of Pennsylvania has also introduced daily ownership restrictions on regulated fish species. These limits are designed so that the state can maintain a healthy fish population in its waters. Here is a summary:
|ALL TROUT AND SALMON||Regional opening day of trout season * – April 4th at 7 inch 5 streams, lakes and ponds 8am to September 7th||7 inch||5 streams, lakes and ponds (combined types)|
|Regular Season – April 18th at 8am to September 7th||7 inch||5 streams, lakes and ponds (combined types)|
|Extended season: occupied trout waters and all waters downstream from stocked trout waters. January 1st to February 29th and September 8th to December 31st||7 inch||3 (combined types)|
|Extended season: wild trout stream sections of class A. January 1st to February 29th and September 8th to December 31st||NO HARVEST – Only catch and immediate release|
|BASS LAKES Trout, Smallmouth and Spotted||January 1st to April 17th and November 1st to December 31st||15 inches||4 (combined types)|
|April 18th to June 12th||NO HARVEST – Only catch and immediate release|
|June 13th to October 31st||12 inches||6 (combined types)|
|Muscle lungs and tiger muscle lungs||Open all year||40 inches||1 (combined species)|
|Northern pike||24 inches||2|
|Pikeperch and suction eye (Hybrids)||January 1st to March 14th and May 2nd to December 31st||15 inches
|American shad||Open all year||No minimum||3|
|American shad (Lehigh River, Schuylkill River and tributaries)||NO HARVEST – Only catch and immediate release|
|American shad (River herring)||CLOSED ALL YEAR (Susquehanna River and tributaries)|
|Hickory shad||CLOSED ALL YEAR ROUND|
|Herring, gizzard shad||Open all year||No minimum||50 (combined species)|
|American eel||9 inches||25th|
|Striped Bass and Striped Bass / White Bass Hybrids||20 inch
|2 (combined types)|
|Sunfish, yellow perch, white perch, crappies, catfish, rock perch, suction cups, carp, white perch, bowfin and other wild fish not otherwise listed||No minimum||50 (combined species)|
|Baitfish / fishing bait (except mud bugs / contains crabs)||50 (combined species)|
|Mud beetle (Dragonfly nymphs)||Unlimited from lakes, ponds, swamps and adjacent areas. 50 per day when taken from flowing water (rivers and streams)|
|Mussels / clams||CLOSED ALL YEAR ROUND|
|Paddlefish, Spotted Gar and other threatened and endangered species||CLOSED ALL YEAR ROUND|
Please download the. down 2020 Pennsylvania Fishing Summary: A summary of fishing regulations and laws for more informations.
frequently asked Questions
Q: When does my Pennsylvania fishing license expire?
Licenses expire at midnight on the date specified on the license. Example: A 10-year license purchased in 2017 will last you until December 31, 2026 at 11:59 p.m.
Q: What if I lose my PA fishing license?
For just $ 6.90, you can replace it through the official online portal or at any fishing license dealer across the state.
Q: Do I have to provide my Social Security number when I buy a fishing license?
Yes. Since 1998, federal and state law has required Pennsylvania fishing license buyers provide their Social Security number when applying to purchase a fishing license.