Fishing is a beloved pastime in Tennessee, with its abundance of lakes, rivers, and streams teeming with diverse fish species. However, before you can cast your line into the waters of the Volunteer State, you need to ensure you have a valid fishing license. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about obtaining a Tennessee fishing license in 2024, including license types, costs, and regulations.

Who Needs a Tennessee Fishing License?

In Tennessee, anyone aged 13 and older is required to have a valid fishing license to fish in public waters . This includes both residents and non-residents. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Children under the age of 13 do not need a fishing license.
  • Residents born before March 1, 1926, are exempt from the fishing license requirement .
  • Landowners, their spouses, and children can fish on their own farmland without a license .
  • Military personnel on official leave do not need a license, but they must carry a copy of their leave orders .

It’s important to note that even if you fall under one of these exceptions, you must still comply with all other fishing regulations, such as catch and size limits.

Types of Tennessee Fishing Licenses

Tennessee offers various fishing license options to cater to different needs and preferences. Here are the most common types:

Resident Fishing Licenses

  • Annual Fishing License (No Trout): $39
  • Annual Fishing License (All Species): $60
  • One-Day Fishing License (All Species): $6.50
  • Junior Hunt/Fish/Trap License (Ages 13-15): $10
  • County of Residence License: $5 (Allows fishing with natural bait in your county of residence)
  • Permanent Senior Citizen License (Age 65+): $49 (One-time fee)
  • Lifetime Sportsman License: Prices vary based on age (See table below)
AgeLifetime Sportsman License Cost
Less than 3 years$200
3 to 6 years$400
7 to 12 years$600
13 to 50 years$1,200
51 to 64 years$700
65 years and older$200

Non-Resident Fishing Licenses

  • Annual Fishing License (No Trout): $50
  • Annual Fishing License (All Species): $99
  • Three-Day Fishing License (No Trout): $20.50
  • Three-Day Fishing License (All Species): $40.50
  • Ten-Day Fishing License (No Trout): $30
  • Ten-Day Fishing License (All Species): $61
  • Junior Hunt/Fish License (Ages 13-15): $11

Special Fishing Permits

In addition to the regular fishing licenses, Tennessee requires special permits for fishing in certain bodies of water, such as Gatlinburg, Tellico-Citico, Agency Lake, and Bedford Lake . These permits are required for both residents and non-residents aged 13 and older.

  • Gatlinburg: One-day trout permit ($11.50), daily permit for ages 13-64 with a Tennessee fishing license ($3.50), three-day trout permit ($9.50)
  • Tellico-Citico: Seasonal daily permit for all ages
  • Agency Lake: Daily permit ($6), annual permit ($48)
  • Bedford Lake: Daily permit ($6.50)

Where to Purchase a Tennessee Fishing License

You can purchase a Tennessee fishing license through various channels, including:

  • Online at
  • TWRA “On the Go” mobile app
  • Local license agents, such as tackle shops, sporting goods stores, and county clerks
  • TWRA regional offices

When purchasing a license, you’ll need to provide your social security number and proof of residency, such as a valid Tennessee driver’s license or state-issued photo ID .

Fishing Regulations and Resources

In addition to obtaining the appropriate fishing license and permits, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with Tennessee’s fishing regulations. These regulations cover various aspects, including catch and size limits, bait restrictions, and seasonal closures.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) publishes an annual Tennessee Fishing Guide, which contains detailed information on fishing regulations, stocking schedules, and other essential information for anglers . You can obtain a copy of the guide at license agents, TWRA regional offices, or download it from the TWRA website.

Additionally, the TWRA website ( and the “On the Go” mobile app provide valuable resources, including interactive maps, fishing reports, and updates on fishing events and programs .

By following the guidelines outlined in this guide and staying informed about the latest regulations, you can ensure a enjoyable and responsible fishing experience in Tennessee’s waters.

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