Are you planning a fishing trip in Alabama? Before you cast your line, it’s crucial to understand the state’s fishing license requirements. Alabama offers a variety of fishing licenses for both residents and non-residents, catering to different types of fishing experiences.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the specifics of Alabama’s freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses, helping you stay compliant with regulations while enjoying your angling adventures.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Alabama?

In Alabama, fishing licenses are required for anyone 16 years or older who wants to fish in public waters. This applies to both residents and non-residents of the state. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Alabama residents who are 65 years or older are exempt from needing a fishing license.
  • Residents can fish from the bank in their county of residence with hook and line (live bait only) without purchasing a license, provided they have proof of residency.
  • Anglers under the age of 16, whether residents or non-residents, do not need a fishing license.

It’s important to note that even if you’re exempt from purchasing a license, you might still need to register with the state’s Saltwater Angler Registry if you plan on saltwater fishing.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Alabama

Alabama offers different types of fishing licenses based on residency status, duration, and the type of fishing you plan to do. Here’s a breakdown:

Freshwater Fishing Licenses

If you’re planning to fish in Alabama’s lakes, rivers, or streams, you’ll need a freshwater fishing license. Here are the options available:

Annual Freshwater Fishing License

  • Resident: $16.15
  • Non-Resident: $62.60

This license is valid for a full year, from September 1st to August 31st of the following year.

Short-Term Freshwater Fishing Licenses

For those visiting Alabama for a shorter period, there are trip licenses available:

  • Non-Resident 7-Day Trip License: $35.00
  • Non-Resident 3-Day Family Trip License: $35.00 (covers the license holder and up to 4 immediate family members)

These trip licenses are valid for the specified number of consecutive days.

Saltwater Fishing Licenses

If you’re heading to Alabama’s coastal waters for some saltwater fishing, you’ll need one of the following licenses:

Annual Saltwater Fishing License

  • Resident: $28.50
  • Non-Resident: $61.35

This license is valid for a full year, from September 1st to August 31st of the following year.

Short-Term Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Just like freshwater fishing, there are trip licenses available for saltwater fishing:

  • Resident 7-Day Trip License: $11.80
  • Non-Resident 7-Day Trip License: $33.75

These trip licenses are valid for 7 consecutive days.

Combination Licenses

If you plan on doing both freshwater and saltwater fishing, Alabama offers combination licenses that cover both:

  • Resident Annual Freshwater/Saltwater Combo License: $54.65
  • Non-Resident Annual All Access Fishing License: $133.95

These combination licenses provide the best value if you intend to fish in both types of waters throughout the year.

Here’s a quick overview of the different license types and fees:

License TypeResidentNon-Resident
Annual Freshwater$16.15$62.60
Annual Saltwater$28.50$61.35
Freshwater/Saltwater Combo$54.65$133.95
7-Day Freshwater Trip$35.00
7-Day Saltwater Trip$11.80$33.75

Additional Licenses and Endorsements

Depending on your fishing plans, you might need additional licenses or endorsements:

Saltwater Reef Fish Endorsement

If you want to fish for gulf reef fish species in saltwater, you’ll need the Saltwater Reef Fish Endorsement in addition to your saltwater fishing license. This endorsement costs $10.00 for both residents and non-residents.

Spearfishing License

For those interested in spearfishing, Alabama requires a specific license:

  • Annual Resident Spearfishing License: $6.00
  • Annual Non-Resident Spearfishing License: $8.50
  • Non-Resident 7-Day Spearfishing Trip License: $3.50

Remember, you’ll also need the appropriate sportfishing license in addition to the spearfishing license.

Pier Fishing License

If you plan on fishing from a licensed public fishing pier in Alabama, you have the option to purchase a Pier Fishing License instead of the regular saltwater fishing license:

  • Annual Resident Pier Fishing License: $7.30
  • Annual Non-Resident Pier Fishing License: $23.75

This license is only valid for fishing from a licensed public fishing pier and does not cover any other type of saltwater fishing.

Where to Purchase an Alabama Fishing License

Obtaining your Alabama fishing license is a straightforward process. You have several options:

Once you have your license, make sure to carry it with you whenever you’re fishing, either in physical form or as a digital copy on your smartphone.

Free Fishing Days in Alabama

If you’re new to fishing or just want to try it out before committing to a license, Alabama offers a Free Fishing Day on the second Saturday in June. On this day, both residents and non-residents can fish in public waters without a license. However, keep in mind that certain regulations, such as size and catch limits, still apply.

Supporting Conservation Efforts

When you purchase a fishing license in Alabama, you’re not only ensuring that you’re following the law but also contributing to the state’s conservation efforts. The revenue generated from fishing license sales goes towards managing and protecting Alabama’s aquatic resources, including fish stocking, habitat restoration, and research.

By obtaining the appropriate fishing license, you’re playing a vital role in preserving Alabama’s diverse fishing opportunities for generations to come.


Understanding Alabama’s freshwater and saltwater fishing license requirements is essential for any angler looking to enjoy the state’s diverse fishing opportunities. By obtaining the appropriate license for your residency status, fishing type, and duration, you can ensure a worry-free and enjoyable fishing experience.

Remember, your fishing license purchase directly supports the conservation and enhancement of Alabama’s fisheries, making it a win-win for both anglers and the environment. So, gear up, get your license, and get ready to make some unforgettable fishing memories in the beautiful waters of Alabama!

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